The Los Angeles Angels celebrated the 20th anniversary of their 2002 World Series championship by hosting a pregame ceremony at Angel Stadium prior to Wednesday’s game against the Kansas City Royals.
Tim Salmon and Darin Erstad were both speakers for the ceremony, and also included appearances from former manager Mike Scioscia, Troy Percival and Garrett Anderson, who threw out the first pitch. It was hosted by radio broadcaster Terry Smith.
Salmon’s speech praised the club for their selfless play and team-first mindset and called on fans to keep the memories of the team alive, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“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 all the former players and coaches in attendance were David Eckstein, Adam Kennedy, Jose Nieves, Alex Ochoa, Scot Shields, Jeff DaVanon, Scott Schoeneweis, Ben Weber, Brendan Donnelly, Al Levine, Kevin Appier, Matt Wise, Aaron Sele, Brad Fullmer, Benji Gil, John Lackey, Shawn Wooten, Scott Spiezio, and Troy Glaus.
Glaus said he was happy to see all his former teammates and celebrate their accomplishment together:
“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.”
Glaus was named the World Series Most Valuable Player as the Angels defeated the San Francisco Giants in seven games. The two teams set a record for combined most home runs in a World Series with 21, which stood until the L.A. Dodgers and Houston Astros broke it in 2017.
Current players reflect on 2002 World Series
Multiple current players on the Angels grew up in the area as fans of the club, including Michael Lorenzen and Matt Duffy, who both took some time to reflect on watching the series as fans.
Lorenzen recalled how he celebrated the win and mentioned some of his favorite players from it:
“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.”
Eckstein proved to be a popular player among the current players, as Duffy praised him as someone he looked up to before he was a Major League player:
“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.”
David Fletcher and Patrick Sandoval also grew up as fans of the club and got to experience the ceremony before the Angels went on to defeat the Royals backed by a stellar outing from Shohei Ohtani.
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