- May 15, 1973: Nolan Ryan throws his first no-hitter
Ricardo Ramos - AngelsWin.com Contributor
Ryan stepped on the mount at Royals Stadium on May 15, 1973,
none of the 12,205 in attendance could have had any clue they
were about to witness history. Ryan, after all, was coming
off a terrible start in which he gave up five runs to the
White Sox, failing to get out of the first inning (0.1 IP,
4 H, 5 ER).
start, however, could not have been any different. On this
night, Ryan was special, recording the first of his seven
he threw his first pitch, Ryan's teammates had already staked
him to a 2-0 lead. He then started off his night by striking
out the side in the bottom of the first. Ryan would strike
out at least one Royals hitter per inning, save for the fifth,
fanning a dozen altogether.
who despite his strikeout dominance, was always capable of
painting himself into a corner with bases on balls, avoided
trouble all night, spreading his three walks out over the
first, third and eighth innings. In fact, Ryan was so overpowering
that third baseman Al Gallagher, left fielder Vada Pinson
and shortstop Rudy Meoli fielded only two balls between the
three of them, both by Meoli.
Angels leading, 3-0, Ryan faced the top of the Kansas City
order in the ninth. Shortstop Freddie Patek fouled out to
first and right fielder Steve Hovley struck out. That brought
outfielder Amos Otis to the plate. Angels announcer Don Drysdale
made the call:
one strike pitch, high fly ball, this could do it. Barry going
back, to the warning track, to the wall, MAKES THE CATCH!
Nolan Ryan has pitched his first no-hitter of his career!"
that Drysdale specifically called it Ryan's first, as if it
was inevitable there would be others - which of course, there
the sixth inning on, I was given a lot of space in the dugout."
Ryan said after the game, "The Angels believed in the
old saying: Don't bother a pitcher who's got the no-hitter
going. Don't even talk to him."
the first Angels right-hander to throw a no-hitter and it
was the first no-hitter thrown at Royals Stadium, which had
only opened the previous month.
never honestly felt I was the type of pitcher to pitch a no-hitter,"
Ryan said. "My curveball isn't overpowering and after
you've gone through the lineup once or twice, the hitters
can get on the fastball better. A lot of that is timing. I
don't have the type of fastball that really moves. A lot of
guys have that explosive type of fastball that really moves.
Also, I jam the hitters a lot so the really strong guys can
bloop it over the infield for singles."
if you'd have told him then he'd throw six more, would he
have believed it?
Ryan no-hitter trivia: Angels second baseman Sandy Alomar
made the first out of this game. 18 years later, his son Roberto
Alomar struck out to end Ryan's seventh no-hitter.
- 2012: Troutís Rookie Season for the Ages
Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin.com Senior Editor
the superlatives that can be lavished upon Mike Trout’s
rookie season, perhaps the simplest and most appropriate is
“unprecedented,” because no rookie in Major League
history reached the statistical heights Trout achieved. For
that matter, no second-, third- or even 20th-year player did
did it all as a 20-year-old.
129 runs, 27 2B, 8 3B, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 49 SB
led the American League in runs scored and stolen bases and
finished second in batting average, despite starting the year
at AAA Salt Lake and missing the first 20 Major League games.
As for “unprecedented,” no player in Major League
Baseball’s 141 years had ever surpassed 125 runs, 30
home runs and 45 stolen bases in the same season. Not one.
Furthermore, he became the youngest player in history to record
a 30 HR-30 SB season and the first rookie to combine 30 HR
and 40 SB. Only two rookies scored more runs: Joe DiMaggio
(132 in 1936) and Ted Williams (131 in 1939).
named an American League All-Star, American League Rookie
of the Year, won a Silver Slugger and finished second in the
American League MVP balloting to Triple Crown winner Miguel
all of those gravity-defying catches…
making his celebrated, but far-from-polished big league debut
as a 19-year-old in 2011 (batting just .220 and coming within
a couple plate appearances of qualifying as a rookie), Trout
was no sure bet to make the Angels 2012 roster out of spring
training, especially not with an outfield/DH picture crowded
by big contracts (Albert Pujols, Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells),
big emergences (Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos) and big question
marks (Kendrys Morales). When Trout missed almost all of the
spring with an energy-sapping illness, his fate was sealed
— he would start the season in the minors.
the “Millville Meteor” was batting .403/.467/.623
for the Bees, the Angels were woefully matching the franchise’s
worst start (6-14) and falling nine games behind the Rangers
for the division lead. In the midst of a five-game losing
streak, the Angels recalled Trout on April 28 with the team
in Cleveland. He went 0-4 from the leadoff spot, but the Angels
setting the table, the Angels fortunes quickly turned. The
team went 18-11 in May and climbed back to .500 for the first
time since the season’s fourth game. Trout batted .324/.385/.556,
but continued to fly under the radar of a baseball world that
seemed preoccupied by Nationals rookie Bryce Harper. He was
even better in June, posting a .372/.419/.531 line and helping
the Angels to a 17-9 record in the month to pull within 4.5
games of the division-leading Rangers.
what he did on June 27 in Baltimore, however, that finally
made the baseball world truly sit up and take notice. With
his family and friends watching at Oriole Park at Camden Yards,
Trout made an unbelievable leaping catch in center field to
rob shortstop J.J. Hardy of a first-inning home run. The catch
was replayed for weeks and when people started to look at
what he was doing with his bat and on the bases, as well,
the youngster was not only a lock for the All-Star game, but
suddenly in the discussion for AL MVP.
Trout moved from “discussion” to “front
runner,” posting an astounding .392/.455/.804 line.
Comparisons to baseball’s immortals — DiMaggio,
Williams, Mays, Mantle, even Ruth — became commonplace
as statistical projections started to paint a picture of accomplishments
matched only by the greatest of all-time — or no one
in some cases.
he “slumped” to .287/.383/.500 from Aug. 1 on,
and the Angels were ultimately unable to keep up with the
Rangers and surprise division-winning Athletics, Trout made
three more remarkable HR-robbing catches and sold more merchandise
in the Angels team store than Pujols and all of his teammates
he led the Major Leagues in Wins Above Replacement (WAR),
a “new-age” unit of measure that combines all
conceivable statistical information — offense, defense
and base running — into the number of victories a player
is worth over a league-average alternative. Only three players
in history posted a higher WAR before the age of 25: Ruth
(11.6 in 1920), Gehrig (11.5 in 1927) and Mantle (11.1 in
1957 and 11.0 in 1956). His season ranks 20th all-time and
every player ahead of Trout (Ruth, Hornsby, Yastrzemski, Bonds*,
Gehrig, Ripken, Wagner, Cobb, Mantle, Mays, Morgan, Musial
and Williams) is in the Hall of Fame.
fans, it was a rookie campaign for the ages, only the franchise’s
second ROY (Salmon, 1993) and left just one question: What
will he do for an encore?
- June 10, 1997: Jim Edmonds makes "The Catch"
Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin.com Senior Editor
catch in Kansas City won't be remembered because it contributed
to a division championship or turned the momentum of a postseason
series. It did neither. It won't even be remembered because
it helped win a game - which it incidentally did; the Angels
defeated the Royals, 6-2, that night.
Catch" will be remembered quite simply because it was
an unforgettable display of physical prowess that might never
fifth inning of a 1-1 tie at Kauffman Stadium, David Howard
came to the plate with two on and two outs. Howard lined a
Jason Dickson fastball to straightaway center field on a frozen
rope. Edmonds, who always played a shallow center, turned,
put his head down and charged back to where his instincts
told him the ball might land.
ball sailed over his head, Edmonds threw his body in the air
and blindly reached out his gloved hand as far as he could
and, as Angels television broadcaster Steve Physioc called
long run for Jim Edmonds
OH, HE MADE A CATCH! UNBELIEVABLE!"
wound up on the edge of the warning track, rolling onto his
back with his legs in the air, left hand reaching up to display
looked up and saw it come over the bill of my cap and thought
I might as well lay out for this one, the game's on the line
here," said Edmonds, who doubled home the go-ahead run
in the ensuing inning. "I heard (Tim) Salmon screaming
and I saw Luis (Alicea) throw his glove up in the air and
(Gary) DiSarcina had a blank look on his face.
thinking, 'Man, I got the ball in my hand. Is there something
else I've got to do?' I had to sit there for a second and
think about it."
else thought about it was they'd never seen anything like
was one of the greatest plays ever," veteran umpire Dave
Phillips told the Kansas City Star. "That made Willie
Mays' play look routine."
one of the greatest catches I've ever seen, and 95 percent
of the guys in here will tell you that," Howard said.
"People don't just dive on their face with their back
to the infield as they're heading into the wall."
angle of the ball directly over his head, diving away from
tells you what a great player this guy is,"
Angels manager Terry Collins said. "He's a brilliant
helped Edmonds net the first of two Gold Glove Awards he'd
win for the Angels. He won six more playing for the St. Louis
in 2002 ranked the catch as the third-most amazing play of
all-time, behind Mays' 1954 World Series grab and Ozzie Smith's
barehanded magic in 1978.
- Sept. 27, 1973: Ryan strikes out 383 to pass Koufax
Geoff Bilau, Angelswin.com Senior Editor
into his final start of the 1973 season, Nolan Ryan had already
accomplished more than most pitchers these days can claim
in two or three seasons.
25 complete games. Four shutouts. 20 victories. 22 games with
10 or more strikeouts. Heck, he even recorded a save, pitching
the final two innings a day after the shortest start of his
career (0.1 inning) to secure an Angels 6-5 victory on May
yeah, he also tossed two no-hitters, on May 15 and July 15.
of that already under his belt, it seems almost absurd that
Ryan saved his best for last. You see, while he was ringing
up all of those strikeouts, they were adding up to something
potentially very special.
his first five September starts (all complete game victories),
Ryan struck out 53 batters, giving him 367 strikeouts for
the year - 15 shy of Sandy Koufax's Major League record 382
a torn calf muscle, Ryan took the Anaheim Stadium mound in
front of just 9,100 fans looking to make history one more
time in 1973. When the Twins immediately jumped out to a 3-0
first inning lead, it didn't seem likely he'd stick around
long enough to collect the requisite strikeouts - though he
did fan the side in the inning.
answered with three in the bottom of the first and Ryan had
new life. Through five innings, he had 11 strikeouts and the
Angels led, 4-3. In the sixth, the Twins pushed across the
tying run, which would prove fortuitous for Ryan later in
seventh, he again struck out the side, giving him 14 strikeouts,
one shy of tying Koufax. But he'd also walked six batters,
allowed seven hits and was piling up a lot of pitches on an
aching leg. In the eighth, Ryan struck out Steve Brye to end
the inning, tying Koufax with No. 382.
nine innings, the game remained tied, 4-4, with Ryan stalled
at 15 punchouts. And when he pitched a scoreless 10th, sandwiching
a fly ball between two groundouts, fans wondered if he had
enough left for one more inning.
Steve Barber warming in the bullpen, the Angels went 1-2-3
in the bottom of the inning. Announcer Dick Enberg made the
crowd is standing in anticipation, watching the bullpen gate,"
Enberg said, pausing in his own anticipation. "And here
ahead of Brye, 1-2, but the center fielder grounded out to
short. Ryan's body language couldn't disguise his fatigue
or his frustration.
now is like the heavyweight fighter with a knockout punch
that has gone so many rounds that he has his opponent staggering
and staggering but doesn't have enough left to deliver that
one blow that will knock him to the canvas and put him away,"
Enberg said. "He's getting the two strikes on hitters,
but can't get the third."
was Rod Carew, who struck out only 55 times in 1973, though
three of them came earlier in this game. Carew drew a walk,
Ryan's seventh of the game, bringing manager Bobby Winkles
to the mound. The crowd bristled, but Enberg was unfazed.
is going to let Nolan Ryan pitch as long as he wants,"
Tony Oliva's at-bat, Carew broke for second, drawing a throw
- and a gasp from the crowd, which did not him to be thrown
out, thus robbing Ryan of an opportunity for the 16th strikeout.
Carew was safe. Oliva, however, flew out to center field,
bringing up light hitting Rich Reese, who'd pinch run for
Harmon Killebrew in the ninth.
can feel through the crowd a vibration saying, 'Maybe this
is the guy,' " Enberg said.
swung and missed at Ryan's first two pitches, another two-strike
opportunity for the right-hander. On Ryan's 0-2 pitch
on and missed! Nolan Ryan is the Major League strikeout king
of all time! He walks off the mound, his teammates come over
to greet him one by one, the fans stand cheering.
and gentlemen, we have seen one of the finest young men to
ever wear a baseball uniform record one of the most incredible
records in Major League history. Three hundred and eighty-three
for Nolan Ryan!
are shaking hands with each other as if they're all part of
this great night, as if to say, 'Yes, we saw it. We saw it
ace now the strikeout king, the Angels rewarded Ryan with
the victory when pinch hitter Richie Scheinblum doubled home
Tommy McCraw with the game-winner in the bottom of the 11th.
1973 with a 21-16 record, 2.87 ERA and finished second in
Cy Young Award voting to Jim Palmer. But it was the last pitch
he threw that season that remains his most memorable.
- Sept. 30, 1984: Witt produces perfection
Kurt Swanson - AngelsWin.com Contributor
final day of the 1984 season, the Angels found themselves
playing out the string, division also-rans to the Kansas City
Royals. They would wrap the season in Arlington, facing the
last place Rangers in front of a small crowd of 8,375.
starting pitcher Mike Witt came into the game with a record
of 14-11 after going 7-14 the previous season. Even before
this game, 1984 had been a breakout season for the lanky right-hander
as he'd doubled his win total from each of the previous three
seasons and already enjoyed a 16-strikeout performance against
the Seattle Mariners on July 23.
who made his Angels debut at 20 in 1981, had a great curveball
and fastball, and was able to change speeds effectively with
both. From 1984-1987, Witt led the Angels in victories, starts,
complete games, strikeouts and innings pitched. In his best
season, 1986, Witt won 18 games with a 2.84 ERA, finishing
third to Roger Clemens and Teddy Higuera in A.L. Cy Young
as it seemed at the time, his last start of 1984 would prove
to be the gem of Witt's career.
Texas knuckleballer Charlie Hough were locked up in a scoreless
pitcher's duel through six innings. Hough had allowed the
Angels just three hits, but Witt was quite a bit better. He
was perfect, retiring all 18 batters he faced.
seventh, the Angels broke the deadlock with an unearned run
scored on Reggie Jackson's fielder's choice. Witt retired
the Rangers again in order in the seventh and eighth and took
the mound for the ninth having fanned nine batters. The sparse
crowd at Arlington Stadium rose to its feet and cheered as
Witt went to work.
pitch strike to Tom Dunbar put his nerves at ease.
I walked out there for the ninth," Witt said, "I
was as nervous as I was in my first big league game. But once
I threw that first strike, I got right back into it."
pitches and Dunbar was quickly strikeout No. 10, but more
importantly out No. 25. Pinch hitter Bobby Jones hit a routine
grounder to Rob Wilfong at second for No. 26. And on a 1-1
pitch to pinch hitter Marv Foley, Witt got another easy grounder
to Wilfong, who tossed it to Bobby Grich at first for the
final out - and baseball immortality for Witt.
probably won't be until tomorrow and the next day, and every
day this winter, that I'll be saying to myself, "Hey,
I did that," Witt said after the game. "I mean,
to get 27 straight batters out is unbelievable. For me to
be able to say it is unbelievable."
perfecto is the only such game pitched on the final day of
the regular season and only the second no-hitter with that
distinction. (Four Oakland A's - Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott,
Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers - combined to no-hit the
Angels on Sept. 28, 1975.)
took just one hour and 49 minutes to complete and Witt needed
only 94 pitches to finish it, 70 of them strikes.
an All-Star in 1986 and 1987 and had the Angels within one
strike of the World Series in 1986. He combined with Mark
Langston on April 11, 1990, to throw the most recent no-hitter
in Angels history, becoming the only pitcher to participate
in a collective no-hitter while also throwing his own.
third all-time in Angels victories (109), fifth in games (314)
and third in innings (1,965.1) and strikeouts (1,283).
- Oct. 11, 2009: Vlad Finishes Some Business
Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin.com Senior Editor
a moment almost exactly 23 years in the making and the principle
players couldn't have been dreamed up any better:
and Red Sox. Fenway Park and October. Vladimir Guerrero and
history between the two teams, almost all of it favoring Boston.
Recently it was the ALDS sweeps in 2004 and 2007 and the gut-wrenching
walk-off hits in those series and again in 2008. All of those,
of course, were merely aftershocks to the debacle that was
the 1986 ALCS, specifically Game 5 on Oct. 12, 1986.
with more than a passing interest in Angels baseball understands
that what happened in the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 2009
ALDS wasn't just a clutch hit off a dominant closer. It was
the hit many fans had wanted to see for more than two decades
— dare I say it was the hit they needed to
the Angels had already jumped out to a commanding 2-0 series
lead on the strength of dominant pitching performances by
John Lackey and Jered Weaver in Games 1 and 2 in Anaheim,
no Angels fan took a series victory for granted. How could
they after all that had happened in the past?
the Red Sox, back home in their comfy bandbox, roughed up
Scott Kazmir and took a 5-2 lead into the eighth inning of
Game 3, Angels fans were already fast forwarding to Game 5
and Josh Beckett.
reliever Billy Wagner, however, allowed the Angels to mount
a threat in the eighth, forcing Boston manager Terry Francona
to summon Papelbon for a four-out save. In 26 postseason innings,
the Red Sox closer had not allowed a single run. But with
runners on second and third, Juan Rivera drove Papelbon's
first pitch to right field, drawing the Angels to within one,
seemed to die moments later, however, when pinch runner Reggie
Willits was picked off first base to end the inning and the
Red Sox added an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning.
made quick work of Maicer Izturis and pinch hitter Gary Matthews
Jr. to start the ninth and Game 4 seemed assured. But Erick
Aybar, 2008 ALDS goat, lined an 0-2 Papelbon offering into
center field to keep the Angels alive. Chone Figgins, in the
midst of a horrible series (0-12) worked a seven-pitch walk.
Abreu slapped a 1-2 pitch over left fielder Jason Bay's head,
the Fenway crowd grew so quiet the sound of the ball slamming
into the Green Monster echoed throughout the stadium. Aybar
scored, the Angels trailed, 6-5, and Game 1 hero Torii Hunter
was due up.
elected to walk Hunter and load the bases for Guerrero. The
face of the Angels franchise for much of the most successful
period in team history was no longer the same "Super
Vlad," injuries and age sapping much of his power and
presence. A likely free agent at season's end, there was every
indication this might be Guerrero's last hurrah with the Angels.
surprise, Guerrero swung at Papelbon's first pitch, a knee-high
95 mph fastball, and served into into center field, where
it dropped in front of a fast-charging Jacoby Ellsbury. Figgins
and Abreu scored, giving the Angels a 7-6 lead, and Guerrero
stood safe at first base with the biggest hit of his postseason
walked off the Fenway Park mound to a chorus of boos.
minutes later, Brian Fuentes retired Boston in order in the
bottom of the ninth and the Angels completed an unbelievable
series sweep of the Red Sox.
they would succumb to the eventual World Champion Yankees,
4-2, in the ALCS (though not before providing two more memorable
victories), there was undoubtedly a sense that the Angels
had indeed completed some "unfinished business,"
thanks in huge part to the ninth inning heroics the man who
may one day become the first player enshrined in the Hall
of Fame as an Angel.
- Oct. 2, 2004: Angels rally for A.L. West crown
Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin.com Senior Editor
come down to this: the best two out of three takes the division.
2002 World Champions and 2003 underachievers, along with their
new owner and an unprecedented number of fans, would converge
on Oakland in a tie with the A's atop the division and three
games to play. No tie-breakers, no one-game playoffs; just
the simple math. Win twice or go home.
their World Series title two seasons earlier, the Angels still
had some unfinished business, having not won an American League
West championship in 18 years. (The 2002 team entered the
postseason as a wild card.) Arte Moreno, who acquired the
team 17 months earlier, promised a winner, spent $145 million
buying players to help build one and appeared on the verge
of delivering the goods.
games were going to be played in Oakland and the Angels would
have to go through the A's "Big Three" starting
pitchers - Mark Mulder, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson - to get
Friday night opener turned out to be a laugher, with the Angels
roughing up Mulder with four in the second and little Alfredo
Amezaga delivering the knockout punch to Joe Blanton with
a grand slam in the sixth. The Angels rode seven shutout innings
from Bartolo Colon to an eventual 10-0 victory, and were now
in the driver's seat needing only to win one of the following
before the first pitch of Saturday's matinee, Moreno proudly
sifted about the lower sections of McAfee Coliseum, wearing
a big smile and happily chatting up any Angels fan who approached
him - and there were a lot of them. An Angels victory would
represent a coronation of sorts for the man who talked a big
game and seemed poised to back up his lofty aspirations with
stadium filled with more red than the blood typically spilled
at a Raiders game, Zito and Kelvim Escobar locked horns in
a tightly contested duel. Escobar would be the first to blink,
giving up one-out singles to Mark Kotsay and Eric Byrnes ahead
of Eric Chavez's double to score both of them and give Oakland
a 2-0 lead.
meanwhile, was dealing. Through five innings, the Angels had
managed only a hit and walk off the 2002 Cy Young Award winner.
In the sixth, however, the Angels' would-be MVP evened the
score. With two outs and Chone Figgins at first, Vlad Guerrero
took the first pitch from Zito and crushed it over the tall
fence in center field, bringing a subdued Angels fan contingent
back to life.
A's answered quickly in the bottom half of the inning. Catcher
Damian Miller doubled home Jermaine Dye with the go-ahead
run, sending Escobar to the showers. Brendan Donnelly struck
out Bobby Crosby for the second out, but frequent thorn in
the Angels' side, Marco Scutaro, singled to score Miller and
give the A's a 4-2 lead. And when Zito retired the Angels
in order in the top of the seventh, it looked like the series
would become a winner-takes-all affair on Sunday.
did his part, getting the A's 1-2-3 in the seventh. Zito,
who'd allowed just three hits in seven innings, however, told
manager Ken Macha his legs felt tight and suggested he go
to the bullpen. The Angels, apparently sensing a reprieve,
wasted no time in making that decision a bad one.
Mecir now pitching, Bengie Molina led off with a groundball
single to left and Josh Paul pinch ran. Curtis Pride, pinch
hitting for Amezaga, struck out looking, but Figgins singled
to center, moving Paul to second. Macha summoned lefty Ricardo
Rincon to face Darin Erstad.
would warm up for several minutes in order to deliver one
actual pitch - a fat one right in Erstad's wheelhouse that
he drove deep into right field about a foot from the top of
the wall for a double to drive in Paul and Figgins and again
tie the score. Rincon would issue an intentional walk to Guerrero
before being relieved by A's closer Octavio Dotel.
asked (pitching coach) Curt (Young) if he was confident in
the bullpen right now and he said yes," Zito said. "In
retrospect, it was the wrong call. But my legs were tightening
up for the last couple of innings. I have to trust myself.
I'm going to pitch as long as I can."
Troy Glaus flew out to right for the second out, Garret Anderson
rolled Dotel's 1-1 offering through the infield, just out
of the reach of a diving Scutaro, and Erstad slid across home
plate ahead of the throw from Dye to give the Angels their
first lead of the game, 5-4. Erstad was greeted by the entire
Angels roster outside the dugout as Angels fans reached a
knew our guys weren't going to melt," manager Mike Scioscia.
"We have a lot of very, very talented players."
Rodriguez pitched a scoreless eighth and Troy Percival came
on in the ninth to close it, inducing three straight fly balls
to Jeff DaVanon in left field, the last giving the Angels
their first division title since 1986.
we did to be at this point, nobody expected it," Figgins
said. "It's motivation. We were down four or five games,
but we still had to play in our division. When you still have
to play in your division and it's coming down to the home
stretch, you get a little more energy."
fans who made the trip north lingered long after the game,
congregating behind the visitor's dugout and celebrating while
the players, coaches and Moreno showered each other in champagne
in the clubhouse. The Angels were once again the kings of
the West and Moreno was bestowed a crown of beer and champagne
for helping them get there.
- Oct. 26, 2002: All the way back
Brent Hubbard - AngelsWin.com Contributor
fans everywhere in despair. After the 16-4 pounding the Halos
took in Game 5 of the 2002 fall classic, the series shifted
back to Anaheim for the possible final game of the season.
team that had made a habit of coming back late all season
long had yet another one up their collective sleeves. And
while a home run by a certain red-bearded first baseman figures
largely in this particular game, it would have all been for
naught without more heroics in the eighth inning. (We'll get
to the aforementioned home run soon enough.)
half seemed to be played in a haze. Emotions high. Thunderstix
booming. Hope restored. Fans again allowing themselves to
manager Mike Scioscia brought in rookie Brendon Donnelly to
replace uber-rookie Francisco Rodriguez. Donnelly promptly
walked leadoff hitter Benito Santiago after putting him in
a 1-2 hole. When J.T. Snow drove the first pitch he saw to
center, for a second, for one brief moment, memories of Game
5 came flooding back. But Darin Erstad settled under the routine
fly ball and there was one out.
next faced Reggie Sanders, firing in a first pitch fastball
that Saunders couldn't lay off for strike one. A foul ball
made it 0-2. Next pitch: strike three, swinging.
David Bell. Two quick foul balls signaled that Bell was dialed
in. Two pitches out of the zone evened the count and Donnelly
stared Bell down, sweat dripping from his cap. Strike three,
outs remained. Time for the Angels new mascot, the Rally Monkey,
to go back to work.
would lead off the eighth for the Halos. Tim Worrell, who'd
made quick work of David Eckstein to end the seventh, remained
on the mound.
pitch: Ball one. Second pitch: Erstad out in front, foul.
Next pitch: Crack! Over the right field wall on a frozen rope.
45,000 fans at once erupted. 5-4, Giants.
Mr. Angel, came to the plate. On a 1-0 pitch, he lined it
into center field and the tying run was 270 feet from home.
Figgins came in to pinch run for Salmon. Everybody in the
stadium knew he was going - but on which pitch?
turned out, he wouldn't get the chance. After smoking a foul
ball into the stands, Garret Anderson blooped a Worrell pitch
down the left field line. With Figgins tearing around second
base and heading for third, Barry Bonds in left juggled the
ball twice, allowing Anderson to hustle into the second.
manager Dusty Baker motioned to the bullpen for closer Robb
Nen for what would turn out to be the three-time All-Star's
final appearance. He'd face third baseman Troy Glaus.
first three pitches were nowhere near the strike zone, though
Glaus helped him out by swinging at and missing the second
one. On a 2-1 count, Glaus hammered a poorly placed offering
toward the left center field gap. Bonds, galloping back to
the warning track, stretched his glove over his head in a
vain attempt to catch the ball, but he'd have needed another
10 feet of reach to snare it.
and Anderson scored, and the Angels led, 6-5, Glaus pumping
his fist as he retreated to second with the double. The Angels
saved their best comeback of the season for last.
retired the side without additional damage, but with Troy
Percival warmed up and ready for the ninth, the damage was
already done. There would be a Game 7 and momentum was back
with the Angels.
- Oct. 5, 1979: "Yes We Can" one more time
Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin.com Senior Editor
had. It took 19 mostly frustrating, often painful, at times
utterly heartbreaking years, but the California Angels were
finally playing in October.
the Baltimore Orioles weren't the sentimental type and felt
no guilt in dropping the Angels into an 0-2 ALCS deficit that
to that point in MLB history had never been overcome. (The
Angels would play an unfortunate role in changing this three
years later.) Following 6-3 and 9-8 defeats in Baltimore (each
in its own way gut wrenching), the Angels returned home to
a down, but not out fan base, for which "Yes We Can"
had become more than a chant. The sentiments were palpable,
exemplified by the sheer audacity of the word "we."
of "we" when talking about their favorite sports
team is an acceptable misnomer, but rarely means anything
literal. For the 1979 Angels and their fans, at times it did
indeed seem to be a group effort. This night would define
the "we" of that season.
got a gutsy five innings from Frank Tanana and four outstanding
innings of relief from Don Aase, but reached the bottom of
the ninth inning, three outs from elimination, trailing Dennis
whose solo home run in the fourth briefly gave the Angels
a 2-1 lead, flew out to left field for the first out. But
Rod Carew drove a ball into the left center field gap for
a double. The crowd of 43,199, again picked up the refrain:
"Yes we can! Yes we can!"
manager Earl Weaver summoned reliever Don Stanhouse, despite
the fact he'd thrown 33 pitches and nearly lost the game the
day before in Baltimore. Brian Downing worked an eight-pitch
walk and Angels fans raised the decibel level another notch,
prompting broadcaster Dick Enberg to observe that he'd never
heard Anaheim Stadium any louder.
Grich lined a Stanhouse offering that center fielder Al Bumbry
broke in on late and mishandled, allowing it to drop to the
grass. Carew hustled around third and beat Bumbry's throw
home to tie the score, Downing advancing to second. Bumbry
would later admit the crowd noise prevented him from hearing
the crack of the bat, contributing to his miscue.
we can! Yes we can!"
on the second pitch he saw from Stanhouse, outfielder Larry
Harlow slapped a line drive to Bumbry's left and Downing charged
home with the winning run, making a wide turn at the backstop
and continuing right into the dugout to celebrate with his
teammates. The Angels staved off elimination, winning their
first ever playoff game, 4-3.
fans lingered in the afterglow long after the game and continued
to chant "Yes we can!" as they exited the stadium.
mattered that 20 hours later it was all over, Scott McGregor
pitching a six-hit shutout to send the Orioles to the World
Series. For the Angels and, more importantly their long-suffering
fans, that one victory might as well have been the whole World
Series. For one more incredible night, yes, they did.
- Aug. 12, 1974: Ryan fans 19
Victor Varadi - AngelsWin.com Contributor
Ryan started his career with the Mets and was mostly a relief
pitcher and spot starter, never quite able to crack the Mets'
outstanding rotation for good during his four seasons in Queens.
Ryan was a young flame-thrower, but he had control issues
and it appeared that he would languish in the Mets bullpen
despite flashes of brilliance in the 1969 postseason.
conclusion of the 1971 season, Ryan, who never felt comfortable
in New York, expressed a desire to be traded. The Mets needed
a third baseman and felt Angels veteran shortstop Jim Fregosi
could make the switch. They offered Ryan, along with catcher
Frank Estrada, pitcher Don Rose and outfielder Leroy Stanton.
The Angels wisely accepted. Some would argue it was the best
trade the Angels franchise ever made.
time the 1974 campaign rolled around, Ryan was on his way
to becoming one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball
history. The season prior, Ryan threw two no-hitters, fanning
12 and 17, respectively. And while critics point to his paltry
winning percentage as a reason why he should not be cast in
the same breath as Sandy Koufax and his ilk, Ryan was dominating
hitters while mired on bad teams.
14, 1974, Ryan fanned 19 Red Sox in 13 innings (also walking
10 and earning no decision for his effort.) On Aug. 20, he
did it again, striking out 19 Tigers, this time through 11
innings of a four-hitter he'd go on to lose, 1-0.
was two starts prior to that one that Ryan produced one of
the most dominating performances, not only of his career,
but in American League history.
12, five weeks before he would stifle the Minnesota Twins
for his third no-hitter, Ryan struck out 19 Red Sox in a nine-inning
game (walking only two), breaking an American League record
held for 36 years by Bob Feller, who fanned 18 Detroit Tigers
on Oct. 2, 1938. And this time, the Angels would actually
make Ryan a 4-2 winner.
strike out the side three times and fanned five of the final
six batters he faced, a fly ball to right field by Rick Burleson
to end the game preventing Ryan from breaking the Major League
record he then shared with former Mets teammate Tom Seaver
(April 22, 1970, vs. San Diego) and lefty Steve Carlton (Sept.
15, 1969, vs. New York).
players have since struck out 20 batters in a nine-inning
game*: Seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens (twice), Kerry
Wood and five-time Cy Young winner Randy Johnson.
20 strikeouts came in the first nine innings of a game that
would eventually be won by the Diamondbacks in 11. MLB has
recognized Johnson's effort as equaling the record.)
his numerous feats of dominance, Ryan was inducted into the
Hall of Fame in 1999 having never been awarded a Cy Young.
But then maybe some day baseball will recognize Ryan by naming
a strikeout award after him.