LOS ANGELES -- The Angels have had 21 managers since their inception in 1961, but one towers above the rest. Mike Scioscia managed the club for 19 years, making seven postseason appearances and leading the franchise to its only World Series title in 2002.
Scioscia was hired by then-general manager Bill Stoneman before the 2000 season after a tough decade for the organization that featured no playoff appearances and just three winning seasons during the 1990s. Scioscia came over from the Dodgers, where he won two World Series as a player and served as a coach in their organization, and he brought back the "Angels Way" that focused on fundamentals and aggressive tactics, especially on the bases.
The decision to hire Scioscia paid dividends quickly, as he helped turn around a club that lost 92 games in 1999 and led the Angels to 99 wins and a postseason berth as the American League Wild Card team in 2002. It was the club’s first playoff appearance since 1986 and just the fourth in franchise history ('79, '82).
The Halos lost the first game of all three postseason series in 2002, only to come back and win each of the series, including a memorable Fall Classic against the Giants that went seven games and featured an incredible late comeback in Game 6. Scioscia did it with the help of a coaching staff that featured several future Major League managers: Joe Maddon (Rays, Cubs, Angels), Bud Black (Padres, Rockies) and Ron Roenicke (Brewers, Red Sox).
The Angels never won another World Series under Scioscia, but they were consistently good in the 2000s, reaching the postseason from '04-05 and '07-09. The Angels went 900-720 from '00-09, and only the Yankees (965), Red Sox (920) and Cardinals (913) had more wins during Scioscia's first decade at the helm. He was also the winner of the AL Manager of the Year Award in '02 and '09.
The final postseason berth under Scioscia came in 2014, when the Angels won an American League-high 98 games but were swept in three games by the Royals in the AL Division Series. To date, it’s the only time superstar Mike Trout has reached the playoffs.
Scioscia guided the Angels to the six highest win totals in franchise history, winning 100 games in 2008, 99 in '02, 98 in '14, 97 in '09, 95 in '05 and 94 in '07. The next highest was Gene Mauch's 1982 club, which won 93 games. But after the Halos missed the postseason for four straight years, Scioscia stepped down after the 2018 season.
In his 19 years at the helm, Scioscia went 1,650-1,428 for a .536 winning percentage and was the league’s longest tenured manager at the time. In fact, only the NBA’s Gregg Popovich had a longer tenure with one team than Scioscia during that time period among the Big Four North American sports. He’s also one of only 23 MLB managers to record at least 1,000 victories with one club.
Scioscia is a sure-fire candidate to be inducted to the Angels’ Hall of Fame, and he could see his No. 14 jersey retired by the organization. Club owner Arte Moreno has also indicated that he believes Scioscia had a career worthy of the Hall of Fame.