World Series starts tonight and throughout the years there were so many memorable teams that won it. One of my all-time favorites will always be 2002 Anaheim Angels team. At the time the team payroll was in the middle of the league. The team consist players they built through minor league system such as Tim Salmon, Garrett Anderson, Troy Glaus, Darin Erstad, Benji Molina, Jarrod Washburn, Troy Percival, and Scott Shoeneweis to name a few. Along the way they picked up Martin Donnelly who was cast away bouncing around minors. When teams expanded the roster in September they called up two players who turned out to be key for the team: John Lackey and Francisco Rodriguez. With Mike Scioscia managing they employed back-to-basics offense with timed hitting spraying the ball through gaps of the field and hard-nose running on the bases. They got their chemistry working in the season and made their run to the playoffs with a hot September.
In the divisional series they took on dangerous high-priced New York Yankees team. When they lost game one you thought Yankees easily moving on. Wrong. The next three games Angels obliterated Yankees with offensive show as they took three straight to eliminate them in shocking fashion. They took on Twins which they lost game one then proceed win next four putting them in World Series. In the World Series they are pitted against Giants with a feared batter in name of Barry Bonds. Both teams battle back and fourth in barrage of offensive firepower. Down in the series 3-2 Angels was in must win situation. Things were not looking up being down 5-0 on bottom of the 7th and their season possibly ended the bats came alive for the Angels. Glaus and Brad Fullmer hit back-to-back singles only for Scott Spiezio hit 3-run homerun making it 5-3. On bottom of the 8th Darin Erstad open up with a homerun. Later in the inning Glaus double drove in Garrett Anderson and Chone Figgins coming back from 0-5 to lead 6-5 as they hang on to win. Now on season ending game 7 Angels handed the ball to then-rookie John Lackey. Giants struck first with a run in the 2nd. Angels bounce back tying it up in bottom of the 2nd. In bottom of the 3rd with bases loaded Anderson cleared it with a double sending David Eckstein, Erstad, and Tim Salmon home making it 4-1. It was enough runs for the Angels. Lackey would hold on the lead giving way to Martin Donnelly then Francisco Rodriguez then to Troy Percival saving the game. Final score: 4-1 and Anaheim Angels are 2002 World Series champs. What the team did on the field with offense and pitching strategy was art. It was old school and going clutch when needed.
Angels World Series victory changed the way how teams build a team into a contender. It wasn't through big money free agency. It was through old school homegrown style of scouting for "hidden" talents and going through minor league system. They made teams realize if they build a team into a World Series winner they can do it. It showed with Florida Marlins winning it the following year. St. Louis Cardinals have always been constant winner with trips to playoffs and World Series. There's Tampa Bay Rays who made few runs to the playoff including World Series appearance. That method still going on today with two teams in the World Series: Royals and Giants. If they can build it they can win.