30 - Sept. 29, 2004: Pride and Glaus Stun Francisco Cordero
Geoff Stoddart - AngelsWin.com Contributor
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.
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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Oct. 1-27, 2002: K-Rod dominates like no other rookie
Victor Varadi - AngelsWin.com Contributor
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Venezuelan entered the playoffs as nondescript Francisco Rodriguez
and emerged from them a bona-fide star known as K-Rod.
- April 11, 1990: Langston and Witt combine on no-no
Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin Senior Editor
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.
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.
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
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
made his Angels debut in the season's third game, a Wednesday
night tilt at home against the Seattle Mariners, his former
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.
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.
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
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,
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.)
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.
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.
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.
pitcher (or pitchers) has thrown a no-hitter since.
- 1979: Baylor wins A.L. MVP
Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin Senior Editor
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
simply one of those seasons where everything fell into place.
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."
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.
Angels in 1979, Baylor was without question their MVP: Most
- 1964: Chance wins Cy Young Award
Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin.com Senior Editor
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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
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.)
278 1/3 innings Chance pitched in 1964, opponents crossed
the plate in only 35 of them. The other 243 1/3 were scoreless.
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.
- May 4, 2007: Scioscia passes Rigney
Adam Dodge - AngelsWin.com Senior Writer
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.
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
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.
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.
- May 5, 1962: Bo Belinsky tosses first no-hitter in Angels
Geoff Bilau - AngelsWin.com Senior Editor
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 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
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
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
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.
- Oct. 1, 1970: Alex Johnson wins Angels first batting title
Adam Dodge - AngelsWin.com Senior Writer
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)
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.
- Sept. 21, 1982: Downing and Lynn crash and catch
By Kurt Swanson AngelsWin.com Contributor and Geoff Bilau
- AngelsWin.com Senior Editor
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
If not for Lynn's remarkable catch, it might have been an
entirely different story.
- May 15, 2003: Arte Moreno purchases the Angels
Craig Malone - AngelsWin.com Contributor
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
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
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.