The Anaheim Angels and their fans caused plenty of headaches during the 2002 baseball season. With an animated "Rally Monkey" on the scoreboard, and huge crowds banging Japanese-styled Thunder Sticks, opponents at Edison Field were jolted by volume.
But in addition to the show-biz, the Angels had real talent, racking up a 99-63 record. Though lacking a big-name superstar, Anaheim sported outfielder Garret Anderson (.306, 56 doubles, 123 RBI), third baseman Troy Glaus (30 homers), and starter Jarrod Washburn (18-6, 3.15 ERA).
Actually, Anaheim wasn't the top team in the American League West. The Oakland A's, riding MVP shortstop Miguel Tejada (.308-34-131) and a terrific starting rotation, reeled off a 20-game winning streak and took the division by four games. The A's, though, couldn't get past Minnesota in their Division Series. Minnesota, which had won the American League Central by 13-1/2 with strong defense, a balanced attack, and deep pitching, took Oakland in five games.
Minnesota had the honor of facing Anaheim in the ALCS, because the Angels had defeated the American League East champ Yankees in four games. New York second baseman Alfonso Soriano was the year's biggest surprise, exploding for 39 homers, 51 doubles, and 41 steals.
The Angels' 2002 World Series Opponent was another wildcard club, San Francisco. Barry Bonds had one of the greatest years in history, batting .370 with 46 homers and setting single-season Major League records for walks (198) and on-base percentage (.582). He clubbed his 600th homer and won his record fifth MVP Award.
San Francisco disposed of National League East champ Atlanta in a five-game Division Series, battering Tom Glavine for 13 earned runs in two starts, then beat St. Louis in a five-game NLCS. The Cardinals had previously dumped the National League West-winning Diamondbacks, whose ace, Randy Johnson, had gone 24-5 with 334 strikeouts to claim his fifth Cy Young.
The Cardinals overcame adversity en route to their National League Central title. Hurler Darryl Kile died unexpectedly in Chicago on June 22, four days after legendary Cards broadcaster Jack Buck passed away. St. Louis used 14 starting pitchers during the year, yet still took the división by 13 games. Scott Rolen and Albert Pujols were offensive spark plugs.
As much fun as 2002 was, the postseason almost didn't happen. The players scheduled a walkout due to the owners' plan to unilaterally impose a salary cap. A work stoppage was barely averted on August 31, when the two sides agreed to a new four-year labor deal.
As the nation settled down for a West Coast World Series, the spotlight fell on Bonds, whose previous postseason performances had been criticized. This time around, after blasting four homers in the first two rounds of the postseason, Bonds unloaded on the Angels for four homers.
Bonds alone couldn't vanquish the scrappy Angels. The Giants drubbed Anaheim 16-4 in game five at PacBell Park to go up 3-2. In game six in Anaheim, San Francisco jumped ahead and led 5-0 in the bottom of the seventh. However, Scott Spiezio's three-run homer cut the lead to 5-3. Then, in the last of the eighth, the amazing Angels rallied for three more on a homer by Darin Erstad and a two-run double by Troy Glaus to pull the game out, 6-5.
With momentum clearly on the Angels' side, game seven was almost anticlimactic. Anderson's three-run double in the third inning broke a 1-1 tie and led to a 4-1 series-clinching win, Anaheim's first world title. It was enough to make anyone go ape, and Angels fans did.
The next page provides headlines and summaries for some of the top stories of the 2002 baseball season.
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2002 Baseball Season Headlines
In 2002, Alfonso Soriano gave the Yankees his all, accumulating some great stats, and Ted Williams, the "Splendid Splinter" passed away. Here are some of the headlines from the 2002 baseball season:
David Eckstein, Anderson Power Angels
Two unheralded players helped spark the 2002 Angels to a team-record 99 wins. All-Star outfielder Garret Anderson (right) contributed a .306 average with 123 RBI and a league-leading 56 doubles. Scrappy shortstop David Eckstein scored 107 runs and paced the league (for the second straight season) in both hit-by-pitches (27) and sac bunts (14). Eckstein, who clubbed just eight homers, also led the majors with three grand slams.
Shawn Green Socks Four HRs-And Six Hits
On May 23 in Milwaukee, Shawn Green of the Dodgers enjoyed one of the greatest days ever for a hitter. Green went 6-for-6 with four homers, a double, and a single off the hapless Brewers in a 16-3 pounding, driving in seven runs. Green became the 14th big-leaguer in history to belt four homers in one contest. Moreover, his 19 total bases set a major league single-game record.
Alfonso Soriano's a Smash in New York
Alfonso Soriano made the Yankees' machine run in 2002. The young Dominican enjoyed a spectacular campaign, hitting .300 with 51 doubles, 39 homers (eight of them leading off a game), and 41 stolen bases. This made him the first second baseman ever to reach the 30-homers, 30-steals club. Though Soriano fanned 157 times and drew just 23 walks, he led the American League in both runs (128) and hits (209).
Vladimir Guerrero Amasses 40 HRs, 39 SBs
Montreal outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, a legitimate MVP candidate stuck with a nearly invisible franchise, led the National League in 2002 with 206 hits and 364 total bases, batting .336 (third best in the league) with 111 RBI. A dazzling blend of speed and power, he stole 40 bases and swatted 39 home runs. He came "that short" of becoming the majors' fourth 40-40 man when his long fly during the season's final game banged off the wall.
Ted Williams Passes On
Ted Williams once said that he wanted people to look at him and say, "There goes the greatest hitter who ever lived." By the time he died at age 83 on July 5, 2002, he had realized his ambition. The "Splendid Splinter," still the last man to hit .400 in a season, was respected by current players as well as his contemporaries. Unlike many old-timers, he kept up with the game he loved.
Jim Thome Bids Adieu After 52 Homers
In his final year with Cleveland, Jim Thome slugged 52 home runs in 2002, adding to his legacy as the team's all-time longball king. His 334 homers in Tribal garb were nearly 100 more than any other Indians player had ever hit. In 2002, Thome also knocked in 118 runs and paced the American League in both walks (122) and slugging percentage (.677). Following 12 years with Cleveland, he signed with the Phillies for 2003.
2002 Cardinals Overcome Tragedy
Pitcher Darryl Kile died unexpectedly on June 22, 2002. Kile had been one of the Cardinals' top starters as well as a beloved team leader. His jersey hung in the Cardinals dugout for the rest of the season. The club could have been forgiven for crumbling, but instead the Cards came together and captured the National League Central by 13 games.
John Smoltz Snuffs Out the Fires
Former starter John Smoltz of the Atlanta Braves made a successful conversion to the bullpen after two years of elbow problems. In 2002, his first full season as a closer, Smoltz saved 55 games to establish a National League record. He blew just four save opportunities during the year and fanned 85 men in 80 innings.
Check out more headlines from the 2002 baseball season on the next page.
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More 2002 Baseball Season Headlines
Below are more headlines from the 2002 baseball season, including Lance Berkman showing his multiple talents with the Astros, and Barry Bonds having an outstanding season and setting multiple major league records.
Curveballing Barry Zito Cops Cy
Southpaw Barry Zito's 23-5 season in 2002 boosted the Athletics to the American League West title. Besides his league-leading win total, he ranked third in the American League in ERA (2.75) and strikeouts (182). For his efforts, the lefty curveball specialist picked up the American League Cy Young Award. Illustrating how the game had changed over the years, Zito won the Cy Young despite recording just one complete game all season.
Alex Rodriguez Bops 57 Homers, Wins Gold
While Alex Rodriguez couldn't lift the Rangers into contention by himself in 2002, he certainly did his best. He cemented his reputation as the American League's most dangerous hitter by pacing the league with 57 homers (an Major League shortstop record), 142 RBI, and 389 total bases. Rodriguez also led American League shortstops in putouts and double plays and won his first Gold Glove. He finished second to Miguel Tejada in league MVP voting.
Lance Berkman Spearheads National League in RBI
Lance Berkman was the Astros' Mr. Everything in 2002. Converting to center field, he shined defensively while wreaking offensive havoc all year. He hit .292 with 42 homers, 107 walks, and a National League-high 128 RBI. He also ranked among the league's top ten in home runs, on-base percentage, total bases, and slugging percentage. Berkman became one of just five switch-hitters ever to bash 40 homers in one season.
Miguel Tejada's Key Hits Lead to MVP Award
American League MVP Miguel Tejada chipped in plenty of big hits during the Athletics' 20-game winning streak that began on August 13, 2002. On September 1, his second homer of the game -- a three-run walk-off shot -- gave the A's their 18th consecutive victory. The next day, his ninth-inning single again plated the winning run. Tejada also enjoyed a 24-game hitting streak en route to his .308, 34-homer campaign.
Barry Bonds Sets Major League Records for Walks, OBP
Giants left fielder Barry Bonds enjoyed another epic season in 2002. He won his first batting title at .370, shattered his own major league record for walks in a season with 198, and clubbed his 600th career homer on August 9 off Pittsburgh's Kip Wells. Bonds struck out just 47 times and nearly matched the figure with 46 home runs. His .582 on-base percentage also established an all-time single-season mark.
2002 Giants Club the Cardinals in NLCS
Giants pitchers allowed just 16 runs in five games, and San Francisco sluggers Barry Bonds, Rich Aurilia, and Benito Santiago drove in a combined 17 runs.
Scott Spiezio Spanks the Big Hits
Anaheim first baseman Scott Spiezio lashes a two-run triple in game three of the 2002 World Series at San Francisco's PacBell Park, helping his club to a 10-4 thrashing of the Giants. Spiezio, who had stroked .285 with 82 RBI during the regular season, also delivered a huge hit in game six. With the Angels down 5-0 in the seventh, his three-run homer started a come-back that culminated in a 6-5 win.
Monkey Helps Rally the Angels
A seemingly innocuous idea -- flashing a picture of a monkey jumping up and down on the scoreboard at Edison Field at Anaheim -- grew into something special in 2002: the Rally Monkey phenomenon. When the Angels were down late in the game and needed a Comeback, pictures of the leaping monkey would work fans into a frenzy, giving the Angels a special home-field advantage.
The next page highlights key events and details from the 2002 baseball season.
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2002 Baseball Season Highlights
The 2002 baseball season featured the climatic rise of a little-known team. The Anaheim Angels, who had no superstars, faced off against Barry Bonds and the Giants in the 2002 World Series. Much to everyone's surprise, they won. Below, you will find the highlights from the 2002 baseball season:
- The wildcard Angels roll over the Yankees in their American League Division Series, scoring 31 runs in the four games.
- Minnesota edges the Athletics in five games to advance to the ALCS.
- Anaheim blows away the Twins in a five-game ALCS, outscoring Minnesota 29-12. Anaheim's Adam Kennedy clubs three homers.
- San Francisco beats the Braves in a five-game National League Division Series. Russ Ortiz goes 2-0 for the Giants and Barry Bonds hits three home runs.
- St. Louis sweeps Arizona in its Division Series, outscoring the Diamondbacks 20-6.
- Toronto third baseman Eric Hinske is voted American League 2002 Rookie of the Year after batting .279 with 24 homers.
- It takes the Giants just five games to win the National League title from the exhausted Cardinals. The final three games of the series are one-run affairs.
- Giants, up three games to two in the 2002 World Series, lead game six 5-0 in the seventh inning but lose 6-5.
- Angels win game seven of the World Series 4-1, clinching their first world title in their 42-year history.
- Shortstop Miguel Tejada of Oakland wins the American League MVP Award after batting .308 with 34 homers and 131 RBI.
- Oakland's Barry Zito wins 23 games to pace the junior circuit and cop the 2002 American League Cy Young Award.
- Bonds is the unanimous 2002 National League MVP after winning the bat crown (.370), belting 46 homers, and setting major league records for walks (198) and OBP (.582). He also leads the majors with a .799 slugging percentage.
- Bonds slugs his 600th career homer on August 9.
- Randy Johnson of the Diamondbacks, the unanimous 2002 National League Cy Young Award winner, leads the senior circuit in wins (24), ERA (2.32), and strikeouts (334).
- Pitcher Jason Jennings of the Rockies, 16-8 in 32 Starts, wins National League 2002 ROTY honors.
- MLB takes over the operations of the Expos and names Frank Robinson manager.
- Padres outfielder Mike Darr is killed in a spring training auto accident.
- The Florida organization is gutted during spring training as Montreal owner Jeffrey Loria buys the club and replaces most Marlins employees.
- Yankees second baseman Alfonso Soriano leads the American League in runs (128), hits (209), and steals (41) while batting .300 with 51 doubles, 39 homers, and 102 RBI.
- Alex Rodriguez of Texas paces the American League with 57 homers, 142 RBI, and 389 total bases. He finishes second in MVP voting.
- Manny Ramirez of the Red Sox wins his first batting title, hitting .349 and kicking in 33 homers in 120 games. He also leads the American League with a .450 OBP.
- In his final year with Cleveland, Jim Thome racks up American League bests in slugging (.677) and walks (122) while belting 52 homers.
- Anaheim wins a team-record 99 games with just three pitchers in double figures in victories and three refugees from independent minor leagues.
- Rookie reliever Francisco Rodriguez of the Angels pitches just six innings in the regular season, then goes 5-1 in the playoffs and World Series.
- The A's win an American League-record 20 games in a row beginning on August 13 and finish with 103 wins.
- Zito, Tim Hudson, and Mark Mulder of the Athletics each finish in the American League's top ten in ERA.
- Despite no household names, the Twins become baseball's darlings, running away with the American League Central.
- Pedro Martinez of the Red Sox goes 20-4 and paces the American League in strikeouts (239) and ERA (2.26).
- Derek Lowe of the Red Sox goes 21-8 with a 2.58 ERA and throws a no-hitter.
For more highlights of the 2002 baseball season, see the next page.
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More 2002 Baseball Season Highlights
Below are more highlights of the 2002 baseball season, including Mike Cameron and Shawn Green each homering four times in one game and successful contract negotiations halting a potential work stoppage.
- Eddie Guardado of the Twins saves 45 games to lead the American League.
- Baltimore reliever Buddy Groom appears in 70 games for the seventh straight year to set a major league record.
- Scrappy infielder David Eckstein of the Angels is hit by 27 pitches, the most in the major leagues.
- Boston's Nomar Garciaparra returns from a serious wrist injury to hit .310, score 101 runs, drive in 120 runs, and rap out an American League-leading 56 doubles.
- Garret Anderson of the Angels breaks through, tying Garciaparra for the American League lead with 56 doubles and batting .306.
- Mike Cameron of Seattle (May 2) and Shawn Green of the Dodgers (May 23) both homer four times in one game to tie the major league record. Green sets the total bases record with 19.
- Johnson and Curt Schilling of the Diamondbacks are the first teammates to strike out more than 300 men in the same season. Schilling whiffs 316.
- The Braves win their record 11th straight division title.
- Former starting ace John Smoltz of the Braves saves 55 games, a National League record.
- The Cardinals lose broadcaster Jack Buck on June 18 following a long illness.
- St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile dies suddenly of a heart condition on June 22 in his hotel room in Chicago.
- St. Louis rookie pitcher Jason Simontacchi, an independent league refugee who pitched in Italy in 2000, goes 11-5 for the Cardinals.
- Cubs rookie Mark Prior strikes out 147 hitters in 117 innings, going 6-6, 3.32 in 19 Starts.
- Dodgers rookie pitcher Kaz Ishii posts a 14-10 record before his season is ended by a line drive that fractures his skull.
- Brian Giles of the Pirates hits .298 with 38 homers, 103 RBI, and 135 walks.
- The 66-96 Padres suit up 59 players during the season to tie the big-league record.
- Vladimir Guerrero of the Expos hits .336, third best in the National League, and leads the league with 206 hits, 364 total bases, and 14 outfield assists. He also falls a homer short of a 40-40 season.
- Luis Castillo of the Marlins swipes 48 sacks, most in the Major League. He also has the game's longest hitting streak at 35 games.
- Houston's Lance Berkman tops the National League with 128 RBI. He also kicks in 42 homers and 107 walks.
- Sammy Sosa of the Cubs wins his second home run championship with 49 and also paces the National League with 122 runs.
- Larry Walker of Colorado hits .338 to finish second in the National League, while teammate Todd Helton ranks fourth at .329.
- Phillies outfielder Bobby Abreu paces National League hitters with 50 doubles while hitting .308 with 104 walks and 31 steals.
- The All-Star Game is called off after 11 innings with the score tied 7-7. Both teams had run out of pitchers. Baseball suffers bad publicity as a result.
- The players and owners avert an imminent work stoppage by agreeing to a contract on August 31, 2002.
- The gap between good and bad teams grows: Three teams win 100 games, while four teams lose 100.
- Former Cardinals and Padres shortstop Ozzie Smith is the only man elected to the Hall of Fame.
- Legendary slugger Ted Williams dies on July 5 at age 83.
- Pitcher Tanyon Sturtze of the Devil Rays leads the American League in all the wrong categories: losses (18), hits (271), earned runs (129), and walks (89).
- Detroit loses its first 11 games and finishes 55-106.
- Tampa Bay also finishes with a 55-106 record.
- San Francisco skipper Dusty Baker resigns following the 2002 World Series and later becomes manager of the Cubs.