By Trey Lyle
You learn a lot when doing research for the Best Season series about different teams and their history. But maybe the most interesting thing I have found so far is that the Los Angeles Angels were owned by Disney, yes Disney, from 1997-2003. It was during that period the team won its only World Series in franchise history.
The 2002 Los Angeles Angels, then called the Anaheim Angels, went 99-63, which was at the time the best in franchise history till the 2007 team went 100-62. However, the 2002 team didn’t win the division, they actually got the Wild Card, due the A’s going 103-59 (it was the Moneyball season). It was the team’s first Wild Card berth and they took full advantage of it, beating the Yankees in four games in the ALDS and the Twins in five games in the ALCS to win their first pennant in franchise history.
In the 2002 World Series, the Angels went on to win an epic seven-game series over the San Francisco Giants. The highlight, of course, was the team overcoming a five run deficit in the late innings of game 6 to force a game 7 which then went on to win the team's first and only World Series in franchise history.
The team was first in hits (1,603), batting average (.282), fifth in stolen bases (117), third in RBIs (857) and sixth in on-base percentage (.341). The team showed its ability to play great small ball baseball which played into the strengths of the team at that time.
The team could pitch as well, tied for fourth in ERA with 3.69, led by Jarrod Washburn, who went 18-6 with a 3.15 ERA.
A team that was a really good team that nearly won 100 games as a wild card team, plus winning one of the best world series of the 2000s makes the 2002 Angels their best season in franchise history.