Top-50 Greatest Moments in Angels Baseball
Greatest Moments 21 - 30

41 - 50 31 - 40 11 - 20 1 - 10

# 30 - Sept. 29, 2004: Pride and Glaus Stun Francisco Cordero

By Geoff Stoddart - Contributor

Late in the summer of 2004, only three games separated the Anaheim Angels, Oakland A's and Texas Rangers from first place in the American League West. The Angels, tied for first place with Oakland, were in the midst of a crucial four-game series with the Rangers in Arlington. With only five games remaining in the season and a final three-game series looming in Oakland, there was no room for error.

The Angels entered the ninth inning down, 6-5. Rangers closer Francisco Cordero, seeking his 49th save of the season, quickly retired Darin Erstad and Troy Glaus. Vladimir Guerrero kept the Angels' hopes alive with a single to right field. Cue Curtis Pride.

Pride, a journeyman outfielder, had been a member of seven other Major League teams prior to joining the Angels in 2004. One of only three deaf players to ever reach the big leagues, Pride was about to deliver what he would later call "probably the biggest hit of my career."

Eleven years and fifteen days after his first Major League appearance, Pride launched a 1-0 Cordero fastball to deep center field. The improbable double scored Guerrero from first and the game was tied.

After both teams went scoreless in the 10th, Cordero again returned to the mound to start the 11th. Following Chone Figgins' ground out, Erstad singled to center field.

Glaus stepped to the plate and produced an at-bat that exemplified Angels baseball in the early part of the 2000s. With a 2-1 count, Glaus proceeded to foul off six consecutive pitches. Finally, on the 10th pitch of the at bat, he got the one he was looking for.

Cordero left a slider up and Glaus quickly deposited it onto the grassy hill beyond the center field wall, giving the Angels an 8-6 lead. It was Glaus' 18th home run of the season, the 182nd and final round tripper of his Angels career.

Troy Percival gave up one run in the bottom of the 11th, but held on to secure the save. The 8-7 victory allowed the Angels to gain a one-game advantage on the A's, who fell 4-2 to the Seattle Mariners. Three days later, the Angels would defeat the A's and secure their first American League West title since 1986.

#29 - Oct. 1-27, 2002: K-Rod dominates like no other rookie

By Victor Varadi - Contributor

Darin Erstad settled under a deep fly ball to center field and closed his glove around the last out of the 2002 World Series. Pandemonium ensued. The Angels were Champions of baseball. Tim Salmon paraded around the stadium with gene Autry's famous Stetson and Troy Glaus hoisted the MVP trophy. But none of that would have been possible had it not been for a young pitching phenom from Venezuela.

Francisco Rodriguez, nicknamed K-Rod that same October for striking out more than a batter an inning, was a mid-September call-up to an Angels bullpen riddled with injuries. Rodriguez gave the Angels a glimpse of what he would soon do on the world stage. In fewer than 6 innings of regular season play, Rodriguez gave up 2 hits and struck out 13.

The Angels faced the New York Yankees in the ALDS. In Game 2 in New York, Rodriguez earned his first career win as a Major League pitcher. While he was also credited with the blown save, he'd pitched two effective innings for a much needed victory that tied the short series at one game a piece. The Angels would win the next two games and take the series. "Franky" officially became K-Rod. In 3.2 innings, Rodriguez struck out seven, and in the crucial third game, he got the win by holding a powerful Yankees line-up down while the Angels recovered from an early five run deficit.

After the Angels blew through the Minnesota Twins in the ALCS, they would meet the San Francisco Giants, led by Barry Bonds, in the World Series. In almost nine innings of work, Rodriguez was downright electric; he fanned 13 and walked one. In a crucial Game 2, Rodriguez pitched three scoreless innings and struck out four. The Giants batters were simply over matched by K-Rod's fastball-slider combo and the Angels would win that seesaw battle, 11-10. It was the Angels first World Series game victory, and Rodriguez was credited with the win.

Rodriguez piled up 28 strikeouts in just more than 18 innings of playoff work; he was the youngest pitcher in 32 years to pitch in a World Series game and at 20 years old was the youngest ever to win one.

The young Venezuelan entered the playoffs as nondescript Francisco Rodriguez and emerged from them a bona-fide star known as K-Rod.

#28 - April 11, 1990: Langston and Witt combine on no-no

By Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin Senior Editor

The 1989-90 Major League baseball offseason began with a bang for the California Angels and their fans. On Dec. 1, 1989, the team signed free agent lefthander Mark Langston to a five year, $16 million contract, outbidding the Yankees and Dodgers. It briefly made Langston the highest paid player in baseball.

The signing gave the Angels a formidable rotation, with Langston joining Chuck Finley, Jim Abbott, Kirk McCaskill and Bert Blyleven - and pushed Mike Witt, at that time the franchise's second-winningest pitcher, to the bullpen. Though he'd won 109 games in nine seasons with the Angels, Witt slumped to 9-15 with a 4.54 ERA in 1989.

As February neared, however, hopeful exuberance from fans turned to frustration as rumors of another work stoppage became reality. The players, concerned that the owners were talking about a salary cap, threatened a strike. The owners, concerned about a strike, instead locked out the players, putting spring training on indefinite hold.

After 32 days, the second longest work stoppage in MLB history, an agreement was reached on March 19 and an abbreviated spring training was begun. Opening Day was pushed back one week to April 9, but starting pitchers did not work as many innings as they would have during a normal spring. For their first regular season starts, most were placed on a strict pitch count.

Langston made his Angels debut in the season's third game, a Wednesday night tilt at home against the Seattle Mariners, his former team.

Langston walked two Mariners in the first inning, but helped himself out by inducing a double play ball between them. He issued another walk in the third, but another double play erased that threat. The Mariners went down in order in the fourth and Langston worked around a fourth walk in the fifth to hold Seattle scoreless and, as most of the 25,632 fans in attendance were starting to realize, hitless, as well.

Mariners starter Erik Hanson, meanwhile, was pitching his own shutout against the Angels, but running up a high pitch count by working in and out of jams. After five innings, Hanson had already thrown 89 pitches and his night was done.

Langston retired the Mariners in order in both the sixth and seventh and walked off the mound locked up in a scoreless tie, already over his pitch count at 99 pitches thrown. There was as much question as to whether he'd come out for the eighth as to if he'd even win a game in which he'd thrown seven hitless innings.

The Angels offense, finally, answered one of those questions, literally pushing across one run on Dante Bichette's bases loaded walk to score Johnny Ray. The inning ended with the Angels leading, 1-0.

Much to the disappointment of the fans at Anaheim Stadium, Langston's night was finished. He was replaced by none other than the man he'd relegated to the bullpen, Witt, the last Angel to throw a no-hitter. (1984 perfect game against Texas.)

The big righty, who would soon be traded to the Yankees for outfielder Dave Winfield, was on his game, retiring Edgar Martinez and Greg Briley on groundouts and striking out Dave Valle. The Angels went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth and Witt, not closer Bryan Harvey, took the mound for the ninth.

The crowd, which had booed his appearance the previous inning, this time rose to its feet and cheered every strike. Pinch hitter Scott Bradley and Harold Reynolds each grounded out to second, bringing Ken Griffey Jr. to the plate as Seattle’s last chance to break up the no-hit bid. On a 2-2 pitch, Griffey swung and missed, completing the Angels eighth no-hitter and first involving more than one pitcher.

It was quite a debut for Langston (7 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 3 K), though 1990 would go on to be arguably his worst season in an Angels uniform (10-17, 4.40 ERA). And a tidy ending to a solid Angels career for Witt, who would make nine more relief appearances before heading to New York on May 11.

No Angels pitcher (or pitchers) has thrown a no-hitter since.

#27 - 1979: Baylor wins A.L. MVP

By Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin Senior Editor

At some point during the 1979 Angels season, a new statistic was born. Though the abbreviation RBI has traditionally stood for "runs batted in," Angels cleanup hitter Don Baylor redefined it to mean "runs Baylored in."

The outfielder/DH, acquired as a free agent prior to the 1977 season, was so adept at producing in the clutch during the Angels first division championship season that radio play-by-play man Dick Enberg coined the new phrase. And he used it a lot.

Baylor batted .296 with 36 home runs and a still franchise best 139 RBI, netting him 20 of a possible 28 first place votes for the American League MVP award. For good measure, Baylor also scored 120 runs, which like his RBI total also led the league.

Baylor got off to blazing start, driving in a then league record 28 runs in April, and never cooled off. On April 21, he belted a grand slam during the Angels 13-1 victory over the Athletics. On May 15, Baylor beat the Brewers with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth to break a 1-1 tie.

On August 8, Baylor was already sitting at 98 RBI and hit the century mark in style, connecting in the third inning off the Athletics' Matt Keough for a two-run shot for Nos. 99 and 100. Baylor went 4-for-5 with that home run, a double and later added an RBI-single for RBI No. 101.

But the man they called Groove was hardly satisfied with that. On Aug. 25, Baylor had one of the best single days in Angels history against Toronto, as the Angels blistered the Blue Jays, 24-2. Baylor belted two home runs and drove in a career-high eight runs.

It was simply one of those seasons where everything fell into place.

"Everyday I went to the park, I knew I'd get two or three hits and some RBI," Baylor recalled. "In mid-December, I started jogging 2 1/2 to 3 miles a day, so I'd be in the best shape ever. In 1978 I hit 34 home runs and 99 RBI, and I was really longing for that 100th. After April, I had (nearly) 30, and I knew I was on a roll."

In addition to leading the league in RBI and runs scored, Baylor also led (or tied for the lead) the Angels in home runs, triples (5), doubles (33) and stolen bases (22). He played in all 162 games and, perhaps most amazingly, struck out only 51 times in 628 at-bats.

For the Angels in 1979, Baylor was without question their MVP: Most Valuable Producer.

#26 - 1964: Chance wins Cy Young Award

By Geoff Bilau - Senior Editor

Of all the compliments one could pay to Dean Chance's incredible 1964 season and subsequent awarding of the Cy Young Award, perhaps the highest praise is this: he beat Sandy Koufax.

The Dodgers Hall of Fame lefthander, during arguably the most dominant four-season stretch in Major League history, took home three Cy Young Awards. Chance's brilliance in 1964, however, prevented Koufax from winning four. (Only one winner was named for all of MLB prior to the 1967 season.) And he did so pitching half his games from the same Chavez Ravine mound as Koufax.

Wilmer Dean Chance came to the Angels in the 1960 expansion draft after spending two seasons in the Baltimore Orioles organization, and made his major league debut late in the 1961 season. Following a strong rookie season in 1962 (14-10, 2.96 ERA), Chance had a sophomore slump, slipping to 13-18 in 1963, despite a respectable 3.19 ERA.

At the All-Star break in 1964, Chance was again a victim of awful run support and sported a mediocre 5-5 record. His 2.19 ERA, however, was good enough to earn him the All-Star Game start, during which he pitched three scoreless innings.

The honor seemed to inspire Chance and the 23 year old took matters into his own hands in the second half. He won nine straight games from July 11 through Aug. 18 - six of them shutouts, and four of those by a 1-0 score. During the streak, Chance allowed only seven earned runs in 79 innings (0.80 ERA).

His brilliance was perhaps best illustrated by his complete and utter dominance of the New York Yankees. Chance pitched five games against the Bronx Bombers, posting a 4-0 record. But here's where things just get silly: In 50 innings of work against New York, Chance allowed one run. And it came on a solo home run by Mickey Mantle, who called Chance the toughest pitcher he ever faced.

When all was said and done, Chance was 20-9 with a 1.65 ERA, the 70th lowest ERA in Major League history and No. 7 all-time in the modern era. He threw 11 shutouts, five of them by a 1-0 score. (He also lost four games, 1-0.)

Of the 278 1/3 innings Chance pitched in 1964, opponents crossed the plate in only 35 of them. The other 243 1/3 were scoreless.

In 47 years of franchise history, the Angels have had many pitchers carry the label of staff ace - some even legitimately deserving. But only one can claim a season as the best pitcher in all of baseball. That man is Dean Chance in 1964.

#25 - May 4, 2007: Scioscia passes Rigney

By Adam Dodge - Senior Writer

It was a seemingly meaningless early season game for the Angels, who did as they had done so often under manager Mike Scioscia - won in front of their home fans at Angel Stadium.

In game No. 30 of the 2007 season, the Angels beat the Chicago White Sox, 5-1, to improve to 17-13 and maintain their one game lead in the American League West. Most of the 44,126 in attendance that night stayed for the fireworks show, which had become and remain a Friday night tradition at the Big A. But on this night, the brightly lit sky and deafening explosions were more fitting than arbitrary as the Angels, their fans and their field general celebrated a great feat: Mike Scioscia had become the winningest manager in franchise history, passing the team's first skipper, Bill Rigney, with his 626th regular season victory.

Rigney managed the team for its first 1,333 games, spanning nearly the entire decade of the '60s (1961-1969) and compiling a 625-707 (.469) record during his tenure. While his steadying influence was a good match for the freewheeling Angels teams of his decade, the best Rigney could manage was the surprising third place finish of 1962. They never got higher than fifth in his subsequent seasons.

On the other bookend of Angels history stands Scioscia, manager for the entire decade of the '00s. During the first 1,296 games of Scioscia's reign, the Angels have posted a 703-593 (.542) record, including four of the top-5 regular season victory totals in franchise history. The former all-star catcher has guided the Angels to three division titles, one wild card and, of course, the only World Championship in franchise history.

Ultimately, this one early season victory from 2007 will seem like little more than a footnote in Scioscia's career, as it's a safe bet he'll win more than 1,000 games in an Angels uniform. But what victory No. 626 said in the midst of the greatest era in Angels history needs no further explanation than this: Mike Scioscia is the best to ever manage the Angels.

#24 - May 5, 1962: Bo Belinsky tosses first no-hitter in Angels history

By Geoff Bilau - Senior Editor

"This crowd about to explode. Ball one, strike one the count. Can he do it? ... There's two men away ... Belinsky now looks out toward center field ... turns, walks back on the hill ... and the 1-1 pitch ... is swung on, it's popped up into shallow left field ... into foul territory goes Torres ... it's going to be a no-hitter ... IT'S A NO-HITTER FOR BELINSKY! (Radio partner exclaims "Whooo hoooo!") Belinsky a no-hitter! How about that one? Belinsky, in his fourth Major League start, has startled 15,000 fans here tonight. His teammates mob him. And I have (pause) seen my third no-hitter."

It's hard to blame announcer Buddy Blattner for getting so wrapped up in the excitement of Belinsky's no-hitter that he felt compelled to drop in that personal detail at the end of his call. After all, nobody expected the former pool hustler from Trenton, N.J., to pitch a no-hitter in his fourth major league start. Not even Belinsky himself.

"If I'd known I was gonna pitch a no-hitter today, I would have gotten a haircut," he said after the game.

And that, in a nutshell, was Bo Belinsky in 1962 - always conscious of his image, even when his on-field successes were actually keeping up with his off-field ones. No starting pitcher likely got more mileage out of 28 career victories than Robert "Bo" Belinsky.

"Bo had more fun off the field than he did on the field," said former big league first baseman Mike Hegan. For an amazing couple of months of the Angels second season, however, Belinksy meant good times whatever he was doing.

Freed from minor league purgatory in the Orioles organization the previous November when the Angels selected him in the Rule 5 draft, Belinsky immediately felt right at home in Los Angeles, where both the baseball and society writers ate up his antics. Despite having spent five years in the minor leagues with the Pirates and Orioles, Belinsky held out for an additional $2,000 on his rookie contract.

And then an amazing thing happened: Belinsky actually appeared to be worth it. He won his first start, April 18, 3-2 over the Kansas City Athletics. Then he beat the Indians, 6-2, on April 25 at home, and again on May 1, 8-6, at Cleveland.

Back at Chavez Ravine and starting on three-day's rest, Belinsky found himself flirting with something other than a Hollywood starlet.

He struck out the first two Orioles during a 1-2-3 first, but a walk and hit batter put him in a jam in the second. Belinsky escaped, however, thanks to a groundout and another strikeout. In the fourth, the Orioles loaded the bases with one out following two walks and an error by third baseman Felix Torres. But Belinsky struck out Dave Nicholson and Ron Hansen flew out to deep center field to end the inning.

Meanwhile, the Angels pushed across single runs in the first and second, but were held to only three hits of their own for the next six innings. Didn't matter. Belinsky got stronger and retired 12 of 13 Orioles heading into the ninth.

Jackie Brandt struck out to start the inning, Belinsky's ninth and final strikeout of the game. Then Gus Triandos grounded out to Joe Koppe at short, setting up the final showdown with Nicholson, who'd struck out twice. Nicholson popped out to Torres in foul territory and Belinsky made history, throwing not only the first no-hitter in Angels history, but the first at newly-built Dodger Stadium.

Belinsky won his next start to begin his career 5-0, and on June 21 the 25-year-old lefty was 7-2 with a remarkable 2.90 ERA.

Unfortunately, Belinsky's story doesn't stop there, though, as the promising rookie's drinking and carousing finally started to catch up with him. He lost 9 of his final 12 starts and finished what once seemed like a dream season a mediocre 10-11.

1963 got worse as he slumped to 2-9, making just 13 big league starts and seeing his ERA swell to 5.75. 1964 was better (9-8, 2.86), but an August hotel room fight with Los Angeles Times writer Braven Dyer was the last straw for the Angels, who suspended Belinsky for the remainder of the season and shipped him off to Philadelphia for Rudy May and Costen Shockley later that winter.

Belinsky's star burned bright and fast in Los Angeles, but for an expansion team with no previous sense of identity, for a couple of years he was the face of the franchise. And though his pitching didn't always match, Belinsky made sure that face looked good.

#23 - Oct. 1, 1970: Alex Johnson wins Angels first batting title

By Adam Dodge - Senior Writer

Alex Johnson knew exactly what he needed to do to wrestle the batting title away from Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski when the California Angels took the field against the Chicago White Sox at Anaheim Stadium for the final game of the 1970 season.

A 2-for-3 night for the Angels' moody outfielder and Johnson would edge Yaz by mere percentage points to become the franchise's first batting champion.

A difficult task became improbable when Johnson grounded out in his first plate appearance.

But a single to right in the third inning set the stage for Johnson when he stepped up to the plate in the fifth.

"I didn't feel any pressure," he'd later claim. "I knew I had a big job to do."

One of the game's greatest hitters, Tony Gwynn often quipped that it's the infield singles and Texas-leaguers that determine the batting title. It certainly rang true for Johnson, who chopped a high bouncer to White Sox third baseman, Bill Melton. Despite a nifty backhanded stop, Melton was unable to throw a hustling Johnson out at first. When manager Lefty Phillips sent in Jay Johnstone to pinch run, Johnson and the Angels had their first batting title.

Ironic that it was a hustle play that earned him his "biggest achievement." Johnson, along with being a great hitter, was viewed by many fans as a lazy player. Some say he refused to jog between innings, oftentimes barely making it to the dugout before the next half inning would begin.

Johnson finished the 1970 season with a batting average of .3289 to edge Yastrzemski, who hit .3286.

"Winning the batting title is the biggest achievement of my life," Johnson said after the game.

But there would be no more great achievements for Johnson in an Angels uniform. The very next year was a tumultuous one, as it seemed that Johnson's baggage had finally caught up with him. A lack of hustle, discontentment and a heavy temper ultimately wore thin with his teammates, the organization and beat writers. After a series of suspensions in 1971, the Angels traded him in the off-season to the Cleveland Indians, where Johnson would only hit .239 in 1972.

In fact, Johnson would never approach .300 again, finishing his career with unspectacular stints in Texas, New York (AL) and Detroit.

For the Angels and their fans though, he will always be remembered as the man toting the "silver bat" signifying his great achievement in 1970. Johnson remains the only Angels hitter to win the batting title.

#22 - Sept. 21, 1982: Downing and Lynn crash and catch

By Kurt Swanson Contributor and Geoff Bilau - Senior Editor

There have been many outstanding catches made over the years in Major League baseball. Willie Mays' over-the-shoulder catch in the 1954 World Series. Ozzie Smith's barehanded diving stop. Jim Edmonds' outstretched layout in Kansas City. Each among the best.

Another great catch in Angels history came down the stretch of the 1982 American League West pennant chase. Four days earlier, the Angels title hopes were looking grim, as a three-game losing streak dropped them two games behind the Kansas City Royals with 15 games remaining in the season.

But the Angels won the next two games of their series in Toronto and returned home to begin a critical three game series against the Royals, with the two teams now tied atop the division with identical 84-65 records.

The Angels took the opener, 3-2, behind Geoff Zahn's eight strong innings and Reggie Jackson's seventh inning RBI double.

Game two was another pitchers' duel, this time between Ken Forsch and the Royals' Dennis Leonard. In the fourth inning of a scoreless tie, Amos Otis drove a ball to the left center field gap, sending Angels left fielder Brian Downing and center fielder Fred Lynn on a collision course at the wall. The two fielders reached the fence at the exact same time, both leaping for the ball with no regard for their own welfare or each other. The impact was so powerful that the fence gave way, with Downing landing on the warning track and Lynn tumbling through the opening the collision had created.

For a moment, it was unclear which, if either, of the players had caught the ball. Then Lynn emerged from behind the fence, displaying the ball. The umpires conferred and ruled Otis out, reasoning that in effect the outcome was the same as if Lynn had made the catch and fallen into the stands.

The Angels took a 1-0 lead in the fifth, but Kansas City scratched across a tying run in the eighth.

In the bottom of the ninth, however, Bobby Grich and Bob Boone singled with one out off Royals closer Dan Quisenberry. Daryl Sconiers, who'd begun his sophomore season 0-for-8, slapped a 3-2 pitch into center field to score pinch runner Gary Pettis, giving the Angels a 2-1 victory and a two-game division lead they would not relinquish en route to their second division title.

If not for Lynn's remarkable catch, it might have been an entirely different story.

#21 - May 15, 2003: Arte Moreno purchases the Angels

Craig Malone - Contributor

May 15, 2003, is a memorable day for many people, but few likely more so than Arturo "Arte" Moreno, who that day officially acquired ownership of the Anaheim Angels from the Disney Corporation. In completing the purchase, Moreno became the first Latino owner of a major sports franchise in the United States.

Moreno, who was born in 1946, is the oldest of 11 children. He grew up in a two-bedroom house in Tucson, Ariz. Upon graduating high school, Moreno enlisted in the U.S. Army and went on to serve in Vietnam. In 1968, having completed his tour of duty, Moreno enrolled at the University of Arizona, where he graduated with a degree in marketing. After college, he was hired by Eller Outdoor, a move that would prove pivotal in his life. Moreno eventually joined Outdoor Systems, where he rose within the company to become its president and CEO. Under Moreno's watchful eye, the company's profits rose from $500,000 to $90 million in less than 10 years. In 1998, Moreno sold the company for $8 billion.

The Angels were not Moreno's first foray into baseball ownership. In 1986, Moreno with 17 other investors purchased the Salt Lake Trappers of the Pacific Coast League. His ownership group would sell the trappers in 1992. More recently, Moreno was a minor partner in the group that owned the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team he tried to purchase in 2001, and a minor owner of the Phoenix Suns.

As owner of the Angels, Moreno's first major move was to slash prices on both beer and tickets, a marketing bonanza that still earns him publicity almost five years later. In addition, he showed a willingness to sign - in their prime - superstars that included Vladimir Guerrero, Bartolo Colon and Kelvim Escobar.

Moreno has also been known to leave the owner's box during games and mingle with fans throughout the stadium, and he is always willing to pause for a photo, or in many cases, sit down with a child and talk baseball or whatever else comes to mind. Moreno has shown that he is a fan's owner.

For all the positives, there have been a few sticking points, including the most controversial: Prior to the 2005 season, seeking to increase the team's revenue and marketability, Moreno changed the name of the club from the Anaheim Angels to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The move brought about a lawsuit from Anaheim's city leaders and cries of outrage from many fans. But the results, like most things Moreno has touched, have been incredible. Recent sponsors have included the San Diego Zoo and the Los Angeles Times. In addition, Moreno was able to sign a very lucrative contract with Fox Sports Network.

As recently as April of 2006, Forbes Magazine estimated the team's worth to be $368 million, which is more than double what Moreno paid for the club.

In a 2005 Time Magazine article, Moreno was quoted as saying: It's one thing to have the means to buy a baseball team, but more important, do you really respect the opportunity?"

I believe in Moreno's short tenure as owner of this franchise, he has show that he truly respects the opportunity and wants to bring another World Series title to Southern California and the fans of this great ball club.

41 - 50 31 - 40 11 - 20 1 - 10