Top-50 Greatest Moments in Angels Baseball
Greatest Moments 1 - 10

41 - 50 31 - 40 21 - 30 11 - 20


#10 - Aug 21, 2007: GA has a night to remember


By Thomas Crow - AngelsWin.com Columnist

Garret Anderson’s may be one of the quietest careers in the history of baseball considering all that he has accomplished with so little fanfare. He is one of only 92 MLB players to date to have at least 2,500 hits in their career and his 522 doubles rank him No. 38 all time. His three-run double in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series was the difference in a 4-1 Angels victory. He even has Home Run Derby and All-Star Game MVP trophies to his name.

Yet for all these accolades, Anderson has never received the widespread recognition one might think he would garner. Garret has never been seen as a player who has sought out public attention in any manner. He has always presented a very professional, guarded demeanor when talking to the press or to fans. Even among his own team's fan base, players such as Tim Salmon, Darin Erstad and later Vladimir Guerrero frequently overshadowed Anderson. On Aug. 21, 2007, however, for one night at least, he made the entire baseball world take notice; and he did it against baseball's flagship franchise, no less — the New York Yankees.

Taking the mound that night for the Yankees was a possible Hall of Famer in Mike Mussina. The Big A was sold out, as was customary for any game the Yankees were in town. The Angels were in a tight division race against the Mariners while the Yankees were fighting for the Wild Card spot. Little did anyone know at the beginning of the game, one that would feature Alex Rodriguez hitting two home runs, that all the attention would end up being focused on Garret Anderson. His night started with a trademark two-run double in first against Mussina. In the second inning, he added another run-scoring double. Most players would consider it a great night with those two hits. Garret's night was just beginning, however.

In the third inning, with Mussina chased from the game, Anderson faced reliever Edwar Ramirez. His rampage on Yankees pitching continued as he launched a three-run shot into the right field seats — three at-bats, six RBI.

Leading off the fifth inning, he relented briefly in the form of a ground out to second, but the offensive onslaught culminated in the sixth when he faced reliever Sean Henn with the bases loaded and sent an 0-1 offering into former bullpen in right field for his sixth career grand slam. With that hit, Anderson tied the American League mark with 10 RBI in one night and bested teammate Guerrero’s previous team-high of nine.

The fans in Anaheim urged their normally reserved player out for his first curtain call. Anyone watching the game knew, however, that this was more than a mere sign of appreciation for a good night's work. This was a chance for a fan base and a player to acknowledge what their decade-plus long relationship meant to each other.

Amazingly enough, Anderson had a chance in the eighth inning to tie or even break the all-time record of 12 RBI in one game. With runners on first and third, he hit a ball up the middle that found the glove of shortstop Luis Vizcaino, who was cheating toward second.

Still, Anderson now owned at least a share of history; he is on an elite list of players with double-digit RBI games: Mark Whiten, Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra, Fred Lynn, and perhaps Garret's greatest antithesis when it comes to seeking and accepting adoration, Reggie Jackson. But for one night, the quiet superstar made so much noise everybody had to take notice.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ALA/ALA200708210.shtml


#9 - Jan. 11, 2004: Angels sign Vladimir Guerrero


By Adam Dodge - AngelsWin.com Senior Writer

It's rare that a sports event that occurs away from the field of play would make any sort of top "anything" list. The vast majority of the moments highlighted on our list took place on the baseball diamond, because those are the moments that are most celebrated and seldom forgotten by fans.

However, on Jan. 11, 2004, when ESPN Radio affiliate KSPN's update man Dave Denholm announced that the Anaheim Angels had reached an agreement on a five-year contract with free-agent slugger Vladimir Guerrero, it incited a reaction from fans on par with a postseason series victory.

It had been expected that the Montreal Expos' four-time All-Star right fielder would sign with the Mets, Dodgers or Orioles. There hadn't been a whisper that the Angels were even interested in the National League's best kept secret.

As the story goes, then Angels General Manager Bill Stoneman made a call to Guerrero's agent, Arn Tellem, to inquire about Rafael Palmeiro.

"How about Vlad?," the agent responded.

Stoneman, surprised that Guerrero was interested in the Angels, approached Angels owner Arte Moreno with the idea. Three days later, Moreno had a new face for the franchise he'd acquired just eight months earlier..

Though he'd already gained credibility among fans by making other waves during the off-season with the signings of Jose Guillen, Kelvim Escobar and Bartolo Colon, Moreno removed any doubt that he truly meant business with the Guerrero signing.

And what a signing it was. Guerrero won the American League MVP award in 2004, carrying the Angels on his back down the stretch to their first division title in eighteen years. In his four years with the Angels, the quiet superstar has averaged a remarkable .327 batting average, 33 homeruns and 119 RBI per season while the Angels have won three division titles.


#8 - Aug. 29, 1986: Schofield leads a grand comeback


By Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin.com Senior Editor

It is the biggest ninth inning comeback in Angels history, and shortstop Dick Schofield not only sparked it - he also ended it with one explosive swing of the bat.

With the Angels holding onto a 4.5 game lead over Texas for the division title, the Rangers had already applied some pressure with a 5-2 victory in Chicago earlier that Friday night.

The Angels, meanwhile, were getting trounced by the visiting Detroit Tigers, trailing 8-1 after five uninspiring innings. Heading into the bottom of the ninth, Detroit's lead stood at 12-5 and it appeared the Angels division bump would soon shrink to 3.5 games.

The rally started innocently enough, with Schofield beating out an infield single to short off Tigers reliever Randy O'Neal, who was beginning his third inning of work. After Rick Burleson lined out, Wally Joyner drew a walk. When Brian Downing singled to load the bases, Detroit closer Guillermo "Willie" Hernandez, the 1984 MVP and Cy Young winner, began to warm in the bullpen - just in case.

Jack Howell doubled to right field, scoring Schofield and Joyner, and Tigers manager Sparky Anderson had seen enough. He called on Hernandez, even though Detroit still led 12-7.

Hernandez, however, would prove no more effective, promptly giving up consecutive RBI singles to George Hendrick and Bobby Grich, pulling the Angels within three runs. But when Gary Pettis grounded into a fielder's choice at second, California was down to its final out. Up stepped Ruppert Jones, pinch hitting for Jerry Narron. Jones worked a walk from Hernandez, loading the bases for the man who started the rally: Schofield.

Incredibly, the Angels typically light-hitting shortstop - he of the 56 home runs in 1,368 career games - lofted a Hernandez splitter straight down the left field line; a ball that kept carrying … carrying … carrying … just fair over the short wall and just out of the reach of Dave Collins' leaping attempt.

It was a grand slam - a walk-off grand slam, in fact, capping an eight-run ninth that ignited frenzy among those fans from the original 32,992 in attendance that actually remained.

The Angels would maintain their 4.5 game lead on the Rangers, who got no closer than five the rest of the season. It was the signature victory of the Angels' 1986 division championship season and one that fans, even 22 years later, still recall fondly any time the team rallies in the ninth.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CAL/CAL198608290.shtml


#7 - Oct. 20, 2002: Salmon blasts give Angels first WS victory


By Chuck Richter - AngelsWin.com Executive Editor

The scene: Edison Field, Game 2 of the 2002 World Series, Angels down 0-1 in the series to the San Francisco Giants.

After 7 1/2 seesaw innings, the Angels and Giants stood deadlocked, 9-9. Until Salmon broke it with a sledgehammer, crushing his second home run of the game to put the Angels ahead for good.

Typical of Salmon, despite his own heroism his was not the home run he was gushing about afterward. Salmon was still marveling at the one hit by Barry Bonds in the ninth that sailed some 485 feet into the sea of red in right field.

"That was the farthest ball I've ever seen hit in this ballpark, for sure," Salmon said. But the Angels' always-humble right fielder trumped that mammoth shot with the drive that counted the most, a two-out, two-run shot that proved the difference in the Angels 11-10 victory and knotted the series at one game apiece.

"We knew there was going to be a hero in the dugout," Salmon said, "and tonight it was me."

Until 2002, no active player in the majors had gone longer than Salmon - 1,388 games - without reaching the postseason. But that wasn't a well-known fact because Bonds had been the center of attention, especially since it was his first World Series, too.

But Salmon put the spotlight squarely on himself on this night by helping the Halos to their first-ever World Series win.

"I think I made the most of my opportunities. It was awesome," Salmon said. "The way the game went back-and-forth was unbelievable."

Salmon ended up going 4-for-4 with a walk, while driving in four runs and scoring three. He capped his performance with a drive into the Anaheim bullpen in left field that left Bonds hanging over the top of the fence. A joyous sight indeed!

Earlier in the game, Salmon's first two-run homer gave the Angels a 7-4 lead in the second inning. They led, 5-0, after the first inning before the Giants rallied with some fireworks of their own.

But as Salmon circled the bases and fireworks exploded overhead after connecting on a 93 mph fastball, ultimately it was the Giants' Felix Rodriguez angrily tugging on his cap.

After Troy Percival gave up the ninth inning two-out blast to Bonds, the crowd of 44,584 roared as Benito Santiago popped out harmlessly to Adam Kennedy at second to end it.

"It was too much Salmon," Bonds said after the game. "It's phenomenal. He did everything any player could do in one game except steal home."

Salmon will no doubt be remembered for many highlights and accomplishments as an Angel: 1993 AL Rookie of the Year, the sliding catches in right field, the force that he was with the lumber, the Texas Ranger beat downs or his last game played, retiring an Angel for life and the ceremonial send off from the fans in Anaheim.

But for me, this game, with all that was riding upon it, was the highlight of Salmon's career and clearly one of the "Greatest Moments in Angels Baseball."

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ANA/ANA200210200.shtml


#6 - Oct. 5, 2002: Angels beat Yanks, win first postseason series


By Adam Dodge - AngelsWin.com Senior Writer

Fresh off of a Game 3 come-from-behind win, one in which the Anaheim Angels erased a 6-1 deficit against the New York Yankees in the 2002 American League Division Series to take a 2-1 series lead, the Angels entered Game 4 looking to close out the Bronx Bombers at home for the franchise's first ever postseason series win.

Once again, the Angels had their opponents on the ropes, facing elimination. It had become, of course, a familiar site for Angels fans. The team had already played six such games in their history.

In 1982, the then California Angels were up two games to none on the Milwaukee Brewers in the best-of-five ALCS. With three chances to beat the Brew Crew and advance to the World Series, the Angels failed - losing all three games.

In 1986, the Angels again found themselves on the cusp of reaching their first World Series. But up three games to one on the Boston Red Sox and just one strike away, closer Donnie Moore gave up a two-out, two-strike, two-run homerun to Dave Henderson, relinquishing a 5-4 lead in Game 5 of the ALCS. Boston went on to win the game, as well as Games 6 and 7 in Fenway Park.

With such a short, yet heart-wrenching postseason history, many of the 45,067 in attendance on Oct. 5, 2002, were waiting to see how the Angels would let this opportunity slip through their fingers.

With the Angels down, 2-1, entering the bottom of the fifth inning, tension was high. David Wells was 8-1 in his postseason career and was pitching well for the Yankees on this afternoon.

Then, something amazing happened. The Angels put together one of the greatest offensive innings in Major League postseason history.

Shawn Wooten led off the fifth with a homerun to left-center field to tie the game, 2-2. Then, after a Bengie Molina fly-out, Benji Gil recorded the first of five consecutive Angels' singles with a shot into centerfield.

After a Troy Glaus fly ball out, the Angels connected for four more hits in a row, including Wooten's and Gil's second hits of the inning.

When it was all said and done, the Angels had plated eight runs on a record-tying 10 hits in the inning.

Anaheim - Bottom of 5th
David Wells pitching for New York

S Wooten homered to left center
B Molina flied out to right
B Gil singled to center
D Eckstein singled to right, B Gil to third
D Erstad singled to shallow center, B Gil scored, D Eckstein to second
T Salmon singled to left center, D Eckstein scored, D Erstad to third
G Anderson singled to right center, D Erstad scored, T Salmon to third
T Glaus flied out to shallow right
S Spiezio singled to left, T Salmon scored, G Anderson to second
R Mendoza relieved D Wells
S Wooten singled to right center, G Anderson scored, S Spiezio to third
B Molina doubled to deep left, S Spiezio and S Wooten scored
O Hernandez relieved R Mendoza
B Gil singled to center, B Molina to third
D Eckstein flied out to center

8 Runs, 10 Hits, 0 Errors

With a 9-2 lead, the Angels needed only 12 outs to erase the franchise's playoff demons.

New York scratched across single runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings to close the deficit to 9-5, but when Nick Johnson lifted a weak pop-up to deep shortstop, and David Eckstein promptly squeezed it for the game's final out, jubilation ensued.

The Angels had beaten the mighty Yankees three games to one for their first playoff series win in the franchise's history.

"It's been a long time coming for myself and this organization, a lot of blood, sweat and tears,'' said Salmon in the clubhouse. "To finally come through and do it, it's just special.

"Nobody gave us a chance against the Yankees. Maybe we caught them on a bad week, I don't know. You can't say enough about how our club's playing,"

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ANA/ANA200210050.shtml


#5 - Sept. 25, 1979: Angels win first ever division title


By Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin.com Senior Editor

"The Angels one out away from their first championship ever. Porter at the plate, he waits. The pitch from Frank … swing and a ground ball hit to Carew. He bobbles it, recovers, throws to Tanana … IN TIME! The 19-year wait is over, they've done it: The Angels are the champions of the West!"

In light of all the recent success the Angels have enjoyed this decade – a World Championship and division titles in five of six seasons - it's sometimes easy to forget just how difficult a struggle it was for the franchise to win its first.

But, oh, did they ever struggle; not only through losing seasons - and there were plenty of those, 13 of the first 17 to be exact - but also debilitating injuries and clubhouse unrest. The Angels even suffered the tragedy of not one, but two players' deaths during their first two heartbreaking decades. In 18 previous seasons, they'd gone through eight managers, four general managers and played in three different home parks.

But finally, in 1979, with a rallying cry of "Yes We Can!" the Angels buried their demons (well, some of them anyway) and on Sept. 25, behind a dominant complete game by Frank Tanana, they won the American League West in front of 40,631 jubilant fans at Anaheim Stadium.

And true to fashion for this franchise, it still didn't come easily: Nolan Ryan, Rod Carew and Willie Aikens each missed significant time with injuries and Tanana was limited to 17 starts. But manager Jim Fregosi, hired in the middle of the 1978 season, days after retiring as a player, held it all together.

"We've been ready for it for an awfully long time around here and I'm just thrilled to death to be part of it," said Fregosi, who spent 13 of the team's first 19 seasons in an Angels uniform. "These players have been absolutely fantastic all season. They've gone out under really some tough situations, some tough conditions, they've battled all year long and I just couldn't be prouder of them."

Great offensive seasons from Don Baylor, later named the AL MVP, Bobby Grich, Dan Ford and Brian Downing, along with a solid season from Ryan and the emergence of Dave Frost carried the Angels to the title, which was a watershed moment for the Angels franchise despite the fact the team would go on to lose the ALCS, 3-1, to the Orioles.

"The biggest thing we had to overcome was that we had never won a division," Fregosi said. "No matter how good the talent was, there seemed to be a black cloud hanging over the team - injuries, people getting hurt. Overcoming that was special to me. Once a team has won, the team knows it could do it."

It would be another 23 years before the Angels would win it all, but in 1979 they took that first, all-important step.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CAL/1979.shtml


#4 - Oct. 27, 2002: "Garret Anderson clears the bases!"


By Adam Dodge - AngelsWin.com Senior Writer

After an incredibly emotional come-from-behind victory of historic proportions in Game 6 of the 2002 World Series - one which saw the Anaheim Angels force a deciding Game 7 at Edison Field - the home team had every ounce of momentum on its side.

The Angels entered the bottom of the third inning tied, 1-1, with the San Francisco Giants. Though the scoreboard said it was clearly not make or break time, the guts of 44, 598 fans in the stadium and millions more watching on television said otherwise. Every pitch delivered in the World Series seems to hold the collective fate of everyone with a rooting interest.

David Eckstein led off the third with a single to left field off of Giants starter Livan Hernandez, who won Game 7 of the 1997 World Series for the Florida Marlins. Darin Erstad followed with a single of his own to left in front of Tim Salmon, who was hit by a Hernandez off-speed pitch, loading the bases for team MVP Garret Anderson.

Anderson, who finished fourth in American League MVP voting in 2002, had a remarkable season, finishing with a .306 batting average, 29 home runs and 123 RBI. But his World Series performance had been a modest one entering his second at-bat of Game 7.

The stage had been set for Anderson, who needed to just put the ball in play to give his team a lead. He did two better, driving a Hernandez high fastball down the right field line and into the corner. Eckstein, Erstad and Salmon all scored on the double, giving the Angels a 4-1 lead.

Anderson had cleared the bases! Arguably the greatest Angel, GA had collected his greatest moment.

The Angels would not score another run in the 2002 season. But three rookie pitchers and their outstanding closer made sure they didn't need to.


#3 - Oct. 13, 2002: "He has homered THREE times!"


By Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin.com Senior Editor

Chances are had you asked a diehard Angels fan if he or she would have been satisfied with a nondescript 5-2 victory prior to Game 5 of the 2002 ALCS, the answer would have been "Absolutely!" After waiting 41 years to see an American League pennant flying over Anaheim Stadium, few fans were going to be picky about how it got there.

The Angels, however - especially second baseman Adam Kennedy - had a special treat in store for their long-suffering faithful. Kennedy, who hit just seven homers during the 2002 regular season, launched three round trippers over the right field wall, the third igniting a 10-run seventh inning that carried the Halos into their first World Series with a 13-5 victory over the Twins.

Kennedy's first home run, leading off the third inning off Joe Mays, shaved the Twins 2-0 lead in half. When he connected again in the fifth, following Scott Spiezio's leadoff shot, Kennedy briefly gave the Angels a 3-2 lead.

The Twins retook the lead with three in the top of the seventh and with Johan Santana on the mound the Angels appeared to have perhaps blown an opportunity to end the series at home.

But Spiezio and Bengie Molina led off the bottom half with singles and rather than sending up right handed Benji Gil to pinch hit for Kennedy, manager Mike Scioscia allowed the lefty swinger to bat. On Santana's first pitch, Kennedy squared around to bunt - a textbook Scioscia move - but fouled off his attempt.

With 44,835 fans expecting another bunt attempt, Kennedy got the green light to swing away and fouled it off. After taking a ball, Kennedy lofted Santana's 1-2 offering, a hanging curveball, deep over the tall wall in right center field for his third home run of the game, a three-run shot to give the Angels a 6-5 lead.

Kennedy became only the fifth player in Major League history to homer three times in a playoff game, joining Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and George Brett, and former Pirate Bob Robertson in the very exclusive club.

"I don't care if I have another one," Kennedy said. "This is it right here, the biggest game of my life. Everybody dreams of this. I was in the right spot today."

For good measure, Kennedy's teammates proceeded to thoroughly pile on the Twins beleaguered bullpen, scoring seven more runs off three relievers who followed Santana, Kennedy adding a single later in the inning.

Kennedy finished the game 4-for-4 with three runs and five RBI, earning him series MVP honors - some fine hardware for his trophy case, but nothing compared to being remembered as the man whose bat sent the Angels to their first World Series. That is simply unforgettable.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ANA/ANA200210130.shtml


#2 - Oct. 26, 2002: The swing that changed a franchise


By Adam Dodge - AngelsWin.com Senior Writer and Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin.com Senior Editor

It was just one swing out of hundreds of thousands in the Angels' 47-year history, but it produced three of the biggest runs and, in one instant, shifted an entire franchise's momentum. With one swing, hopeless became hopeful.

When Scott Spiezio coaxed that ball over the short wall in right field, just far enough to elude the reach of Giants right fielder Reggie Sanders, there was an immediate sense that it would prove the most important hit in Angels history. Around 24 hours later, it was no longer just a sense - it was truth.

Game 6 of the 2002 World Series was do or die for the Anaheim Angels, who were facing elimination, down three games to two against the San Francisco Giants.

Entering the bottom of the seventh inning, with the Giants leading 5-0, the Angels appeared prepped for their casket. The team had shown little life offensively, thoroughly stifled by starter Russ Ortiz, and the Giants' greatest strength, their bullpen, rested and ready.

Garret Anderson led off the seventh inning with routine groundball to second base. The Angels had just eight outs remaining to prevent a very disappointing end to their season.

The next batter, Troy Glaus, finally gave the Angels and their fans something to cheer about when he singled to left field on Ortiz's next pitch. And when Brad Fullmer followed with a single of his own, the Angels had the beginnings of a rally.

What happened next proved to be one of the most second-guessed managerial decisions in World Series history - and that's putting it mildly.

With two on and one out, Giants' manager Dusty Baker made his way out to the mound. The trip was no doubt to talk strategy, and since it was late into an elimination game it made sense that the manager would forgo sending the pitching coach on such a critical mound visit. After all, Ortiz had dominated the Angels for 6.1 innings and had not yet thrown 100 pitches. Surely Baker would allow him to work through a little bit of trouble in the seventh, especially with a five-run lead.

But Baker had other thoughts. To everyone's surprise, he raised his right hand toward the bullpen. He was bringing in right-handed fireballer Felix Rodriguez to face previously anonymous Angels first baseman Scott Spiezio.

Baker had pulled his starting pitcher, though he'd not given up a run while scattering just four hits and walking two. What's more, with Ortiz already a step away from the pitching rubber and on his way to the dugout, Baker reached back, symbolically grabbing his pitcher's right arm to stop him. A curious Ortiz accepted a gift - the "game ball," which he no doubt deserved, but that the ball was given to him on the mound for millions to see was what created controversy. It no doubt stuck in the craw of the Angels and their fans.

Spiezio would have his hands full. Rodriguez was one of the best relievers in baseball, as evidenced by the .163 average he allowed to opposing batters during the 2002 postseason. Spiezio, however, was working on a special October of his own, one that saw him tie the postseason record for RBI with 19.

After a first pitch ball, Spiezio fouled off three consecutive Rodriguez fastballs perfectly placed on the outside corner. Rodriguez evened the count at 2-2 when he missed with his fifth pitch. On the sixth pitch of the at-bat, Spiezio put a great swing on a fastball, fouling it straight back, prompting a rare prophetic statement from FOX announcer Tim McCarver, who cautioned, "If you make a mistake away, it's a single. If you make a mistake in, it's 5-3."

After Rodriguez' next pitch went wide, making the count full, he did, indeed, miss in. On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Spiezio took a low and in fastball high and deep into the right field corner. Sanders drifted back methodically, tracking the towering fly ball. When it left the bat, it appeared Spiezio just missed it, but the ball continued to carry, taking Sanders all the way to the warning track; then over it and to the wall. He reached up and over the short wall, but to no avail. The ball had disappeared into a mob of suddenly reinvigorated Angels fans.

Spiezio, who stopped his trot at first base to watch the fate of his hit - to wish and to pray - showed little emotion as he restarted his jog around the bases, a subtle fist shake sufficing.

The fans were another story. Edison Field exploded with roars and cheers, which could no doubt be heard miles away. The Angels - a team of grinders, who had come back time and time again throughout the regular and post-seasons - had trimmed the Giants' once seemingly insurmountable lead to 5-3. And though its not the kind of thing that shows up on the scoreboard, had stolen away from the Giants every last bit of momentum.

From hopeless to hopeful; and following the Angels' half of the eighth and the Giants' futile ninth, from hopeful to absolutely sure the Angels would now win the series.

But then, it was only one swing, right?

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ANA/ANA200210260.shtml


#1 - Oct. 27, 2002: Champions of baseball


By Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin.com Senior Editor

By now, most Angels fans can recite Rory Markas' call verbatim:

"Here's the pitch to Lofton. Fly ball, center field. Erstad says he's got it. Erstaaaaaad MAKES THE CATCH! The Anaheim Angels are the champions of baseball!"

When the Angels' unofficial team captain settled under and clasped his glove around that most precious of final outs, it was the culmination of many things: an incredible World Series comeback; a riveting postseason run; an unprecedented 99 win regular season; the antidote for heartbreaking collapses in 1995, 1986 and 1982; a delivery on the promise of 1979; and the realization of a dream first dared to be dreamt in 1961.

The textbook version is simply that the Angels reached the pinnacle of their sport 42 seasons after their pursuit began. But to the fans, players, coaches and front office people who followed the Angels for any significant amount of time, of course the emotions run immensely deeper.

For me, it actually required a season or two of separation before I could truly appreciate the significance. Don't get me wrong; I was as elated as anybody when the confetti and streamers came raining down upon us following Erstad's catch.

But maybe I'd already spent all the emotion I could spare the day before, when I witnessed the birth of my first child and the rebirth of the Angels World Series hopes all within a span of about six hours. Or perhaps it was because even before the first pitch, the Game 7 victory truly seemed like a foregone conclusion following the previous night's drama; and when was ANYTHING positive for the Angels a given during their first 41 seasons?

And that's what struck me after the World Series championship had really sunk in - it happened, and it could happen again. Previously, I honestly wasn't sure it ever would. Now, I believe it will again.

And while I think the moment when I first knew they were actually going to play in the World Series will always rank as the most emotional high in my years of being an Angels fan, in retrospect I'm so glad they went ahead and won it all while they were there. I mean all the greatest stories have a happy ending, don't they?

Champions of baseball … yeah, that'll do.

Here's how other contributors to our Top-50 Greatest Moments list feel about No. 1:

Adam Dodge - AngelsWin.com Senior Writer

It is hard to describe exactly what I felt when Erstad squeezed Kenny Lofton's fly ball for the final out. I was relatively calm from the first pitch of the game until the Angels had finally won. After the complete swing in emotion I felt watching Game 6, I was too exhausted to work up any emotion for Game 7.

For the entire postseason, I had either been in attendance or at my favorite watering hole to celebrate every moment with other fans. I needed a break. So, I watched the entirety of Game 7 alone; poetic in a sense because growing up none of my friends or family members felt the same way about the game of baseball, and there was certainly no one that loved the Angels as much as I did. It wasn't my intention to watch the game alone. I just didn't feel like sharing that moment with anyone else.

Had I been there or watched the game with friends I doubt I'd have noticed - I was focused on each pitch, nothing else existed but the game. When the final out was made, I felt accomplished. Not that I had anything to do with the victory, but that my fanship had finally paid off. The years of suffering through bad teams and monumental collapses proved worth it. I felt like a champion.

Eric Denton - AngelsWin.com Contributor

I had always told my friends, "Just once, I just need to see it happen one time." It was worth the wait. Sticking through thick and thin with the Angels had paid off. All the sadness and anger from the past were washed away in one lazy fly ball to Darin Erstad.

I was fortunate enough have tickets to Game 7. When the final out was made, I was standing in center field, over by the rock pile. I momentarily lost my mind. I let out a loud primal scream and leapt into the air a few times.

Chuck Richter - Angelswin.com Founder and Executive Editor

When Kenny Lofton drove that ball to right-center field, my heart leapt with both uncertainty and joy, thinking it could either be '86 all over again or the burying of what seemed to be the franchise's October curse.

When Darin Erstad pulled it down, I picked up my best friend's 16-year-old son and spun him around like a baton, as I have never in my life experienced such combined joy and adrenaline from what was essentially a routine outfield put-out: tears of joy, ear to ear smiles about my living room and a moment in my life's history that words cannot describe.

To me, this was the Greatest Moment in Angels baseball. Buried were the thoughts of any curse. Born anew was a World Series Championship for fans to claim, who throughout the years have expressed love and passion for the club. And on this grand night, destiny paid back some respect to Angels fans around the world.

Editor's note: I'd like to thank all of the writers who contributed to this monumental project the past 50 days. It was quite an undertaking while simultaneously working full time, managing a Little League team and looking after a family of six, but was it ever worth it!

Here's to the memories and debates we hope our list inspired and to the making of many more outstanding top-50 worthy moments in the seasons to come.

Thanks for reading!


 

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