The Griswolds also vacationed in Europe and Las Vegas and had a Christmas family reunion before Joyner took his last cuts in the middle of the 2001 season.Joyner found closure that year, returning to Anaheim as a veteran presence on the bench. Worn down by a series of injuries, he abruptly announced his retirement in mid-June. That now lands him on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot as one of 17 first-time candidates. A candidate must get 75 percent of the vote to gain election. Results of the 2007 BBWAA Hall of Fame election will be announced on Jan. 9, and the induction ceremony will take place on July 29 in Cooperstown. Joyner may fall far short of that 75 percent vote, but 30-something Angels fans may be unanimous in choosing him not only their favorite player, but favorite adolescent memory. With his sudden impact under the wide shadow always cast by the Dodgers and their tradition, Joyner simply made it fashionable to be an Angels fan. Of course, he was much more than just an image, or just an Angel. Joyner retired with a lifetime batting average of .289, and chalked up his 2,000th hit and 200th home run within days of each other in 2000. Joyner departed Anaheim as a free agent after six seasons, and put in nine seasons with three teams (Kansas City, San Diego, Atlanta) before returning to his baseball cradle in 2001. He was batting .243 in 53 games with the Angels when he gave himself a 39th birthday present: Retirement. "I still felt great when I was on deck," Joyner said at the time. "I felt great walking back to the dugout. It was what was in between that wasn't so great anymore."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.