In 2002 everything seemed to goes as planned for the Anaheim Angels as they shook off a slow start to the season and reeled off 99 wins to make the playoffs for the 1st time in 16 years. It was magical.
Once the Anaheim Angels got into the playoffs, the magic continued and three weeks later the most famous call by an Angels announcer was made by first-year Angels radio play-by-play announcer Rory Markas.
“Fly ball to center field. Erstad says he’s got it. Erstad makes the catch! The Anaheim Angels are champions of baseball.”
Take a listen to it courtesy of a YouTube video & KLAC AM 570 radio.
If your like most Angel fans listening to Markas’ description of the final out that crowned the Angels 2002 World Champs gives you goosebumps and a war feeling inside. You probably remember where you were at that moment as well. I definitely do. (I was at game seven so I did not hear Markas’ call until it was replayed later that evening).
It was not Markas’ first rodeo as he had been a play-by-play announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers between 1992 and 1994. He also announced the Vancouver Canadiens Triple-A games from 1981-1987. He also called Los Angeles Clippers games from 1994-1997 on the radio.
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Markas would go on to be the Angels radio voice for the next seven seasons, calling many memorable games and he coined the now famous phrase that most Angel fans know “Just Another Halo Victory.” This phrase became so popular over the years Markas announced for the Angels (2002-2009) it even became the name of a popular fan group on Facebook Just Another Halo Victory (JAHV for short), which has nearly 6,000 members and prides itself on being a positive site “PMA” , which means positive mental attitude, which is exactly what Markas exuded in his time with the Angels.
On Monday, January 4th, 2010 tragedy struck the Angels as Rory Markas was found dead in his home in Palmdale, California, the victim of a heart attack. Today, January 4th, 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Markas’ death which left a huge void in Angels Nation. Markas was not only a great broadcaster winning multiple awards including the 2008 radio play-by-play award from the Southern California Broadcasters Association, but a good person as well.
Markas did numerous things for local charities and according to an LA Times article by Mike DiGiovanna written on January 6th, 2010, Markas used to take extra Angels promotional items to local elementary schools that he would visit.
His broadcast partner Terry Smith is now the Angels radio play-by-play man. Smith worked with Markas from 2002-2009 as an analyst before taking over for him after Markas’ death three months before the 2010 season.
Smith was shaken by the announcement of Markas’ death as it was the second untimely Angel death in less than a year as the team had lost young pitcher Nick Adenhart on April 9th, 2009 in a car accident.
Smith coined a new phrase “You can put a Halo over this one” as he did not want to use Markas’ “Just Another Halo Victory” after his passing.
“I’m going to miss him immensely,” said Smith in an interview with DiGiovanna for the LA Times story. “It will probably sink in even ore once Spring Training and the regular season start. We were together over 200 days a year, and to not have that person by your side … that’s going to leave a void, it really is.”
Markas was a local boy growing up in Southern California graduating fro Chatsworth High School. He would then attend Los Angeles Valley College and then earn his degree from Cal State Northridge.
Even 10 years later it still hurts to think about another Angels tragedy, especially after the season the Angels went through in 2019 with death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
However I’m sure Markas would not want Angel fans to be mourning his death but instead enjoying his friend Smith’s play-by-play calls of Angels baseball and look forward to another new season which is set to begin in less than three months.
We all miss you Rory, and I hope we will have a lot of Halo Victories this season. Thank you for the many great memories that you enhanced with your voice. God Bless your family and friends and Rest in Piece with the Angels in the Sky.