Gene Autry, the silver screen cowboy legend and the gentleman responsible for bringing the Angels franchise to life, adored his team.
In the 1950s, Autry was a minority owner of a minor league baseball team called the Hollywood Stars. In 1960, when Major League Baseball expressed its desire to add an expansion team to the Los Angeles area, Gene sought to acquire radio broadcast rights to the team’s games.
Baseball executives were so impressed by this that they encouraged Autry to become the owner of the franchise rather than a broadcast partner.
Thus, the Los Angeles Angels were born in 1961. Autry's favorite number, 26, was retired in his honor by the team in 1992.
As with all major league teams, many players and managers have come and gone throughout the years. The Angels organization has endured good times and bad times, but it is the last 10 years that have put the Angels franchise on the map, therefore making the baseball world take notice.
2000-2010 was a defining decade for the Angels organization. The franchise not only underwent yet another name change, but changes in leadership as well—leadership that ultimately made them World Series champions, not to mention one of the strongest teams in the American League.
After the 1999 season, the Angels' general manager at the time, Bill Stoneman, hired former Dodgers catcher Mike Scioscia as the team's manager.
Under the leadership of Stoneman and Scioscia, the ball club ended its 15-year playoff drought in 2002 and won the wild card out of the AL West, which ultimately led to the franchise’s first World Series.
The Angels under Scioscia would go on to enjoy a period of on-field success never before seen in franchise history, winning a total of five AL West division titles in six years. Scioscia's Angels broke the franchise single-season win record with 99 wins in 2002 and again with 100 wins in 2008.
Scioscia was honored in 2009 when he was selected as MLB Manager of the Year. His strength and support during the 2009 season following Nick Adenhart’s tragic death was unbelievable. While critics predicted the team would fall apart and fade into the background during the rest of the season, Mike held the guys together and boosted morale by constantly reiterating, “Let’s win this for Nick”...and they did. Not only did the ball club win the 2009 AL West, but they swept the Red Sox in the ALDS as well.
Mike Scioscia is currently signed through the 2018 season, and it’s easy to see why.
The 2002 American League Division Series included the wild card winner (Angels) and the AL East champions (Yankees).
The series began on October 1, with the Angels splitting the first two games at Yankees Stadium in New York, and they then went on to win the next two games, as a result earning their way to the American League Championship Series and winning the first postseason series in ball club history.
The Anaheim Angels and the San Francisco Giants competed for the championship win, representing the first time two wild card teams had competed for the title.
After five games, the Giants had a 3-2 series lead and had scored five runs prior to the seventh inning in Game 6, while the Angels had not scored a single run. The rally monkey appeared on the video scoreboard, and the fans were cheering and applauding, while all 42,000 in attendance stood on their feet.
The Angels wound up beating the Giants and carried the momentum into a 4-1 Game 7 victory...and the rest is history. For the first time in franchise history, the Anaheim Angels were World Series champions.
On May 27, 2003, President George W. Bush paid homage to Gene Autry and his team and acknowledged their perseverance and ultimate success in the 2002 World Series.
“A champion is somebody who sets high standards and lives to those standards. A champion is somebody who assumes responsibility of a champion, which is to not only set a good example, but when you're in your community, use the spotlight that you've achieved to encourage our fellow citizens to love a neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself. I know many of you do that, because you're not only champions on the field, you're champions off the field, as well.”—George W. Bush
After 42 years, Mike Scioscia and the Angels franchise made it to the top.
The Montreal Expos’ four-time All-Star right fielder was welcomed into the Angels organization with open arms.
The fans were overwhelmed with excitement at the notion of being able to see such a respected power hitter step into the batter’s box on their own turf. It was a match made in heaven...no pun intended.
Guerrero went on to win the American League MVP award in 2004 and greatly contributed to the ball club’s earned division titles in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Tim Salmon made his major league debut with the (California) Angels on August 21, 1992. After remaining with the organization for 15 years, Salmon announced his retirement on September 27, 2006. He played his last major league game on October 1, 2006 against the Oakland Athletics.
Salmon is the Angels’ all-time leader in home runs (229), runs scored (983), walks (965) and slugging percentage (.498). He is just behind Garret Anderson in franchise history with 1,016 RBI and remains the franchise’s only player to have won the AL Rookie of the Year Award (1993).
Tim Salmon was and always will be a fan favorite in Anaheim. He is one classy guy; they just don’t make ball players like him anymore.
On the evening of August 21, 2007, in front of a sold-out crowd at Anaheim Stadium, Garret Anderson not only stunned the notoriously invincible New York Yankees, but made the entire baseball world take notice as well.
He started the game with a two-run double in the first inning against Mike Mussina and in the second added an additional run-scoring double.
Joe Torre pulled Mussina from the game in the third inning and replaced him with reliever Edwar Ramirez. Did this cool off Anderson’s hot hitting streak? No way. Instead, Garret hit a three-run shot into right field...three at-bats and six RBI. But Garret Anderson wasn’t done quite yet.
In the sixth inning, he stepped into the batter’s box with the bases loaded as Sean Henn nervously threw a pitch. Anderson hit a GRAND SLAM...the sixth of his career. With that grand slam, he managed to tie the American League record with 10 RBI in one night, making baseball history.
He wore an Angels uniform for 14 years. He was dedicated and loyal to his team, and in return Garret Anderson will be remembered as one of the most valuable and beloved players in Angels ball club history.
In 2008, Francisco Rodriguez successfully closed or “saved” a total of 62 games, exceeding former White Sox closer Bobby Thigpen’s longtime (18-year) record of 57 games. He broke Thigpen's record on September 14.
For the AL West division champs, it was a chance to extend their tribute to Nick Adenhart, who was tragically killed on April 9, 2009 by a drunk driver.
The guys had spent months grieving for their fallen teammate, a young man who most of the guys considered a brother. The Angels organization came together as a family and became stronger than ever.
When it came time to face the unbeatable Boston Red Sox, a franchise that the Angels could not even beat during the regular season, they were bound and determined to win it for Nick...and thanks to Vladimir Guerrero, who hit a line drive off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth, the Angels took the series with a 7-6 victory.
A memorable time for Halo fans, and a clear reminder that revenge is sweet!