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Angels earn their rings
Anaheim captures first World Series crown
By John Schlegel / MLB.com

The Angels won the World Series despite trailing at one point in all of their four victories. (AP Photo)
It began as an October like any October. A group of teams embarked on the postseason hoping to play out the entire month, all the way to the World Series.

And this was quite a group in 2002. Young, exciting teams like the A's and Twins. Established winners like the Yankees and Braves. The defending world champions in the Diamondbacks. A team of destiny in the Cardinals.

Ultimately, it came down to a pair of Wild Cards, and the Angels and Giants provided some blissful California Dreamin' for the baseball world in a wild World Series for the ages.

The Angels took their team concept to the ultimate heights, winning the first World Series title in the 42 years of the franchise's existence. With the Rally Monkey and their Red Sea of rabid fans behind them, the Angels shocked the world by going all the way.

The Giants also proved to have a winning formula with Cooperstown-bound slugger Barry Bonds leading the way, but they fell just short in a riveting seven-game Fall Classic.

Along the way, baseball gave us many of the kinds of moments that make October special.

Oct. 1
Looking every bit like a team of destiny, the Cardinals knocked Randy Johnson around to hand the Big Unit and the defending world champion Arizona Diamondbacks a 12-2 defeat in Game 1 of the National League Division Series in Phoenix. The Yankees won Game 1 over the Angels and the Twins beat the A's in Oakland in the other ALDS opener.

Also, Bobby Valentine was fired as manager of the Mets and Jerry Narron was relieved of his duties as skipper of the Rangers.

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Oct. 2
Garret Anderson and Troy Glaus hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning off Orlando Hernandez as Anaheim claimed Game 2 of the ALDS, earning the Angels a split of the first two games at Yankee Stadium. In Oakland, the A's evened up their series with the Twins with a 9-1 victory, and the Giants used their supporting cast to take the opener of their NLDS matchup with the Braves in Atlanta.

Also, Jerry Royster was fired after less than one season as manager of the Brewers.

Oct. 3
Although the Cardinals took a 2-0 series advantage with a 2-1 victory at Arizona, their postseason hopes took a hit when third baseman Scott Rolen sprained his shoulder when he was clipped by baserunner Alex Cintron. In Atlanta, Kevin Millwood held down the Giants in a 7-3 Braves victory to even the NLDS as it headed to San Francisco.

Oct. 4
The Rally Monkey took center stage, as the Angels scored eight unanswered runs to take a 9-6 victory over the Yankees in Game 3, putting New York on the brink of elimination. In Minnesota, the A's quieted the Metrodome crowd with four solo homers in a 6-3 victory that gave Oakland a 2-1 advantage over the Twins.

Oct. 5
Two teams moved on to the Championship Series, as the Angels used an eight-run fifth inning to eliminate the Yankees with a 9-5 Game 4 victory and the Cardinals finished off a sweep of the D-Backs with a 6-3 win at Busch Stadium. The other two Division Series remained up in the air, with the Twins whacking the A's 11-2 at the Metrodome behind a seven-run fourth inning and the Braves beating the Giants 10-2 in Game 3 thanks in part to an unlikely three-run homer from light-hitting second baseman Keith Lockhart.

Oct. 6
The Twins shocked the A's with a 5-4 victory in Game 5 in Oakland as A.J. Pierzynski provided a two-run homer in the ninth to put Minnesota over the top. Across the bay in San Francisco, Livan Hernandez led the Giants to a series-tying 8-3 victory to send the series back to Atlanta for a decisive Game 5.

Oct. 7
Barry Bonds exorcised his postseason demons, hitting his third homer of the series as the Giants claimed a 3-1 victory at Atlanta in Game 5 to advance to the National League Championship Series.

Oct. 8
Game 1 of the American League Championship Series turns into a pitching duel, as the Twins took the opener of their series with the Angels behind a strong pitching performance by starter Joe Mays.

Oct. 9
Benito Santiago went 3-for-5 with a homer and four RBIs and Kenny Lofton started a benches-clearing incident in the Giants took Game 1 of the NLCS at St. Louis, 9-6. Over in the AL, the Angels tied up the series with a 6-3 win. Ramon Ortiz recovered nicely from a Division Series nightmare start with a solid outing against the Twins.

Also, Alan Trammell was introduced as Tigers manager, returning to the team he'd played for his entire career.

Oct. 10
The Giants took a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Cardinals with a 4-1 victory at Busch Stadium. Rich Aurilia smacked two homers and starter Jason Schmidt was brilliant into the eighth inning for the Giants.

Oct. 11
In another ALCS pitching duel, the Angels took a 2-1 series lead over the Twins on the strength of a tie-breaking homer to the opposite field by Troy Glaus in the eighth inning, giving Anaheim a thrilling 2-1 victory.

Also, the Buck stopped in Texas when Buck Showalter was named manager of the Rangers.

Oct. 12
As the NLCS visited San Francisco, Barry Bonds sent a ball into McCovey Cove for a game-tying three-run homer in the fifth inning. But it was Eli Marrero's solo shot in the sixth that was the difference, pushing the Cardinals to a 5-4 victory in Game 3, cutting the Giants' series lead to 2-1. In the ALCS, the Angels moved to within a game of the World Series with their 7-1 victory over the Twins, thanks to a strong start by rookie John Lackey and a typically balanced offensive performance by the Angels.

Oct. 13
A record 10-run seventh inning is more than enough to send Edison Field into a frenzy and vault the Angels into the World Series for the first time in the 42-year history of the franchise, capping off the ALCS with a 13-5 Game 5 victory over the Twins. Series MVP Adam Kennedy put his name alongside Reggie Jackson, Babe Ruth and George Brett with a remarkable three-homer game. In San Francisco, Benito Santiago's two-run homer in the eighth inning after an intentional walk to Barry Bonds pushed the Giants within a victory of the World Series with a 4-3 win over the Cardinals.

Oct. 14
Kenny Lofton's ninth-inning single sent David Bell sprawling across home plate for the winning run to set off a wild celebration at Pacific Bell Park as the Giants beat the Cardinals 2-1 in Game 5 of the NLCS to advance to the World Series for the first time since 1989. Benito Santiago claimed the NLCS MVP prize.

Oct. 19
Barry Bonds homered in his first World Series at-bat, and Reggie Sanders and J.T. Snow added longballs of their own, as the Giants went into Edison Field and took Game 1 of the World Series. The Angels' Troy Glaus hit a pair of solo shots, but the Rally Monkey didn't work her magic on this night.

Oct. 20
Tim Salmon homered twice to lead the Angels to an 11-10 Game 2 victory over the Giants in a wild west shootout. Troy Percival got the save despite allowing Barry Bonds' colossal homer in the ninth, a 485-foot shot. Rookie sensation Francisco Rodriguez retired all nine batters he faced for the only pitching highlight in the slugfest.

Oct. 22
Barry Bonds hit yet another homer, his record seventh of the postseason, but Livan Hernandez got lit up and the Angels ran away with a 10-4 victory in Game 3 at Pacific Bell Park to take a 2-1 advantage in the Series.

Oct. 23
Somebody finally got to Francisco Rodriguez. It was David Bell, who hit a game-winning single in the eighth inning to give the Giants a 4-3 victory over the Angels in Game 4, knotting the series at two games apiece.

Oct. 24
Jeff Kent became the third player of the Series and the 46th ever in World Series history to smack two homers in a game, leading the Giants to a 16-4 rout of the Angels that sent the series to Anaheim with San Francisco holding a 3-2 advantage. J.T. Snow, known for his scoops at first base, made the play of the night by scooping up young batboy Darren Baker, the son of Giants manager Dusty Baker, after the youngster had strayed across home plate during play.

Oct. 26
After the Giants took a 5-0 lead and were eight outs away from a World Series title, the Rally Monkey emerged -- with a little help from Scott Spiezio and Co. Spiezio's three-run homer in the seventh off Felix Rodriguez sparked the comeback as the Angels rallied for a stirring 6-5 victory to send the Series to a decisive Game 7.

Oct. 27
Edison Field became a thunderous sea of red bedlam as the Angels beat the Giants 4-1 to take World Series title. Slugging third baseman Troy Glaus claimed World Series MVP honors, but everyone knew it was a team effort -- including that pesky Rally Monkey.

Oct. 28
Two veteran managers and longtime combatants in the AL West headed to the East Coast for new jobs. In New York, Art Howe was introduced as the Mets' new manager after seven years with the A's. In Tampa Bay, Lou Piniella donned a Devil Rays uniform for the first time, taking on duties as manager in his hometown after 10 years in Seattle.

Oct. 29
Three first-time managers were introduced, as Ken Macha took over in Oakland, Eric Wedge assumed the helm in Cleveland and Ed Yost became the skipper in Milwaukee.

John Schlegel is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.