Halos celebrate 'special bond' of '02 WS club

Organization marks 20 years since first and only title

June 23rd, 2022

ANAHEIM -- The Angels celebrated the 20th anniversary of their World Series title in 2002 with a special ceremony at Angel Stadium before Wednesday’s game against the Royals.

Angels legends Tim Salmon and Darin Erstad spoke as part of the ceremony, which was hosted by longtime radio broadcaster Terry Smith. Former Angels manager Mike Scioscia was also greeted by a big cheer from the Angels fans in attendance, while former closer Troy Percival also threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Angels great Garret Anderson.

"The past 20 years have flown by and it’s important to keep these memories alive for the fans and players,” Salmon told the fans at Angel Stadium. “I'm sure every team that wins a World Series championship says there was a special bond and a chemistry unlike any other team. Same with his team. We had the spit, grit and tenacity to overcome our April start. This team was a blue-collar team. Check your ego at the door. It was more than just words on the wall in that clubhouse, it was a mindset backed by selfless play every night.”

Among the players who attended the event were Alex Ochoa, Jeff DaVanon, Jose Nieves, Scott Schoeneweis, Brendan Donnelly, Ben Weber, Kevin Appier, Al Levine, Brad Fullmer, Aaron Sele, Benji Gil, Scot Shields, Matt Wise, Shawn Wooten, John Lackey, Scott Spiezio, Adam Kennedy, David Eckstein, Troy Glaus, Percival, Erstad, Anderson and Salmon. 

Glaus, who was the 2002 World Series MVP after hitting .385 with three homers and eight RBIs against the Giants, said it was nice to be able to catch up with his old teammates.

“It’s great,” Glaus said. “We don’t get to see each other very often. There are guys I stay in touch with but we’re scattered all over. So it’s nice to be able to tell some stories and really go over that playoff run we had.”

The current Angels have several players who grew up locally as fans of the club, including Michael Lorenzen, David Fletcher, Matt Duffy and Patrick Sandoval.

Duffy said he was fortunate enough to go two World Series games at Angel Stadium, attending both Game 1 and the epic Game 6 that saw the Angels come back despite being down, 5-0, in the seventh inning. But Duffy, who was 11 years old at the time, recalled he thought Spiezio’s three-run homer in the seventh was a flyout from where he was sitting.

“Spiezio’s homer, I actually sat down because I thought it was a flyout, so when it went over the fence I had my head in my hands,” Duffy said. “I specifically remember that. And I remember Barry Bonds hitting the homer in Game 1. We were in the right-field corner and it went way over our heads.”

Duffy said he was undersized growing up, so Eckstein was his favorite player, and he even wore No. 22 at Lakewood High School so he could be like Eckstein. He was also a big fan of Erstad.

“Just seeing what Eckstein got with what he had, I don’t know if inspiring is the right word, but he was somebody to look up to,” Duffy said. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all game.”

Lorenzen, who was born in Anaheim and attended high school and college in nearby Fullerton, didn’t have the chance to go to any postseason games that year but said he attended games during the regular season and was also a huge fan of Eckstein and Erstad. Lorenzen, who was 10 at the time, said he was playing in a baseball tournament during Game 7 and found out the Angels won after the game.

“I just remember finding out the Angels had won the World Series and we all just hopped in cars and started driving up and down the streets,” Lorenzen said. “It was really cool. On that team, everyone loved Eckstein, the X-factor. He was the man and I loved the way he played. Just a good baseball player. And Speizio was great with the homers he hit. Anderson, all of them were so different but so good. And Erstad was the man, too, and Mr. Consistent.”