The Yankees would have appeared in every ALCS between 1998 and 2004…if it weren’t for the Wild Card Angels beating them in the first round of the 2002 playoffs.
Anaheim won 99 games during the regular season, and after beating the favored Yanks in a four-game series, finished off the Twins in a five-game ALCS, reaching the WS for the first time in franchise history.
The Angels then beat San Francisco in a classic, seven-game WS against Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, and company.
Trailing the series 3-2 and facing a 5-0 deficit in Game Six at home, the resilient Angels scored six runs in their final two at-bats to win, 6-5. They then won Game Seven the following night, 4-1, behind rookie John Lackey.
After losing 87 games in 2001, the Angels won their first world championship in 2002, thanks to a determined team that got the most out of its talent, a rising managerial star in Mike Scioscia, and a very small, but very popular, mascot known as the Rally Monkey.
Not the real monkey obviously, but a pretty cool photo.