POLL: The Greatest Angels Game of All Time


The Angels may not be one of the storied franchises dating back to the 19th century, but we’ve had our share of great moments and players. So, what is the greatest Angels game ever?

This list is compiled of the games that had a significance and lasting impression. Of course, you won’t find any Halo losses here so that leaves out the 1986 ALCS game five which many consider to be one of the best MLB games ever – if Bill Buckner knew what was in store for the World Series maybe he wouldn’t have started the Boston rally in the ninth.

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My favorite is not included on this list; game 5 of the 2009 ALCS in which Jeff Mathis of all people was the hero. I was at that game and it holds special memories. Maybe you have your own personal favorite or wish to add something to the list. Please share it with us in the comments section.

September 27th, 1973 Twins 4 @ Angels 5 – Ryan’s Record K

This was a game which would never happen today. Nolan Ryan had pitched on short rest for his fourth straight game. He was sitting on win number 20 and strikeout number 367, fifteen K’s behind Sandy Koufax‘s all time single season record for the modern era. Unlikely as it was, Ryan set the record this game.

Today 200 innings in a season is a big number for any pitcher, Ryan threw 326 this year. The game could be considered a good one for the simple fact that it ended on a pinch hit Richie Scheinblum walk-off in the 11th inning. But, remarkably what makes it special is that Ryan pitched all 11 innings and threw 205 pitches. In the eighth Ryan tied the Koufax record by striking out Steve Brye for his 15th K of the night. It wasn’t until that last pitch of the top of the 11th inning that Ryan finally set the mark. A mark which will likely always belong to the Angels and Nolan Ryan.

August 29th, 1986 Tigers 12 @ Angels 13 — Have A Night, Schofield

The Angels were down 12-5 in the ninth inning. A comeback from that would be enough to make a best of list, but the fact they were in a tight race for the playoffs is what set’s this one apart. The season would end in heartbreak but great moments like this came before.

The game got off to an ugly start with Kirk McCaskill getting roughed up for 5 runs in 3 innings. It didn’t get much better after he was relieved. The Tigers broke the game open in the fifth when they scored three more against Chuck Finley and made it an 8-1 score. Few were probably left in the ninth when the Halos trailed by seven.

The ninth began with a Dick Schofield single and ended much later that inning with a Schofield walk-off grand slam! The momentum from this game no doubt carried them through a grueling month when they finally clinched the division on September 26th. Later, The pain that followed the Angels after the game five ALCS loss to Boston would linger with them until 2002, when they finally reached the playoffs again.

2002 ALCS Game 5  Twins 5 @ Angels 13 – Little Big Man

A game that ends with an 8 run lead wouldn’t seem to fit in with all time great games, but this one was actually really close until the 7th inning.

Sixteen years had passed since October baseball in Anaheim and the Angels made the most of it. Claiming a Wild Card spot they knocked off the powerhouse Yankees in the ALDS. On to the ALCS, they matched up with the Twins. Game one went to Minnesota but the next three went the way of the Halos. Game five was a possible berth to their first ever World Series. The Twins came out strong and led 5-3 in the seventh. Up to that point the only one keeping the Angels in the game was the diminutive number nine hitter, Adam Kennedy. He’d hit 7 home runs all season but this day he’d already hit two!

Trailing by 2 in the late inning, the Rally Monkey came out. The Angels offense responded. Back-to-back singles by Scott Spezio and Bengie Molina put the en fuego Kennedy up as the go ahead run. Behind in the count to Johan Santana, Kennedy cooly did what he’d already done twice that day and placed the ball over the high right field wall. The crowd went nuts and the offense kept going. Shortly later, the Angels were off to the Series.

2002 World Series Game 6  Giants 5 @ Angels 6 – Anaheim “I Didn’t Hear a Fat Lady” Angels

Barry Bonds and the Giants were inching oh so close to claiming the Fall Classic. The first four games of the Series were tight and featured two teams who wouldn’t give up. The Halos and Giants both won two. Then, game five happened and San Francisco routed the Angels 16 to 4. Momentum was with the Giants in the early going of game 6 as they led 5-0 going into the bottom of the seventh and were only nine outs away from glory.

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As the Angels had done all year, they chose to fight till the last out. Whether or not that jumping monkey had anything to do with it, he sure kept the crowd invested. After his appearance in the middle of the seventh the crowd and the team caught fire. A Troy Glaus single, Brad Fullmer single and then BAM! –a Spezio Home Run! The Angels were back in it. But, they failed to score anymore in the seventh so they went to the eight six outs from defeat.

Darin Erstad kept the momentum going for the Angels and their fans with a leadoff home run. Tim Salmon and Garret Anderson followed with singles and that set up big man Troy Glaus. He didn’t disappoint as Anaheim shook with excitement, and not from the San Andreas, as Glaus shot a double into the gap allowing the Angels to take a 6 to 5 lead. A lead All Star closer Troy Percival protected as the Angels lived for one more day. A game seven day where the Angels finally got their first World Series title.

Be sure to vote for your favorite. If it’s not on this list make your case in the comments.

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