Though his team landed the two most celebrated free agents, Jackson and Gullett, Yankee Manager Billy Martin says, " Joe Rudi is fundamentally the best player of his generation." Martin's Angel counterpart, Norm Sherry, whose club plunked down $2,090,000 to sign Rudi to a five-year contract, is less specific but, understandably, more enthusiastic. "God, what an outfielder!" he says of his new man in left. Rudi rarely received such praise in his seven seasons in Oakland, where he was usually overshadowed by Jackson and other illustrious teammates. True, he does not have Jacksonian muscle or, certainly, the Jacksonian mouth, but he lacks nothing else. Unexcelled as a leftfielder, Rudi has a thorough knowledge of the hitters, uncanny anticipation, sure hands and an extraordinarily accurate arm. And though injuries and an abortive trade unsettled his hitting the past two seasons, during which he missed 68 games, Rudi is a solid, slashing batter who is one of the toughest outs in the majors. He has twice hit over .300, twice had more than 20 homers and once led the league in hits. His .300 average was Oakland's best in its World Series wins of '72, '73 and '74. If Rudi remains reasonably healthy this year—he already has pulled a muscle this spring—the Angels could be a very tough out, too.