On this date all the way back in 2002, the Anaheim Angels won their first World Series Championship. On the coaching staff of that team you ask? Two future managers. Bud Black of the San Diego Padres and free agent manager Joe Maddon. The team was built for greatness and they achieved it. Troy Glaus was named the MVP of the series, but it was more than that that made the championship special.
It took 42 years after the team was created for them to finally have the ultimate champagne celebration and be the last team standing at the end of a long six month season. The Angels had home-field but lost game one at home, making it tougher on themselves to eventually become champions. The team followed by winning games and two and three, but then lost four and five, needing to win both at home to win it all. And that they did.
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Trailing 5-0 in the seventh inning of game six the Angels scored six unanswered. Scott Spiezio hits a three run homer in the seventh, Darin Erstad hits a solo shot in the eighth and MVP Troy Glaus drives in the game winning run on a double scoring both Chone Figgins and Garret Anderson. It would come down to one game, winner take all for a championship between two wild card teams.
Game seven would see a pitching matchup of Livan Hernandez and then rookie John Lackey. The Giants against jumped out first with a run in the second but the Angels scored one in the bottom half and three in the third on a Garret Anderson three-run double and that would be all it would take for Lackey. The rookie pitched five innings before handing it over to the bullpen, which allowed two hits in four innings of work.
No one scored from the fourth inning on and the Anaheim Angels were World Champions for the first time in franchise history. John Lackey made a bit of history on this date, becoming the first rookie to win a game seven since Babe Adams in 1909 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. This is a special date in Angels baseball history, but hopefully just one of many to come!