LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM IN THE POSTSEASON
As one of Major League Baseball's first new expansion teams in decades, the Los Angeles Angels were one of the most exciting teams right out of the gate in 1961, and would even challenge the New York Yankees for the American League pennant in 1962. However, the team would have to take its fair share of lumps over the course of the '60s and early '70s as the franchise began to accumulate talent and built the strength of the roster. By the middle of the 1970s, the biggest draw around the Angels was the arrival of future Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan. Ryan would put together a slew of impressive seasons in an Angels uniform and would lead the team to its first division title in 1979.
Unfortunately for the Angels, the Nolan Express would depart during free agency, and while the team would win division titles in 1982 and 1986, the Angels simply weren't able to close the deal and bring home a championship for their fanbase. In the mid-90s, the team underwent a series of major changes. In addition to changing their name from the California Angels to the Anaheim Angels, the team completely revamped their 30-year-old stadium and renamed it the Angel Stadium of Anaheim. With a fresh and modern backdrop, a new brand of Angels baseball would begin and would shake the traditional power structure of the American League.
In 2002, the Angels would enter the postseason as a wild card and would shock the baseball world out of the gate by upsetting the New York Yankees in the American League Divisional Series. After beating the Minnesota Twins in the American League Championship Series in five games, the stage was set for a Bay Area World Series showdown against the San Francisco Giants. Although the Giants played valiantly, the Angels timely hitting from MVP Troy Glaus and the clutch closing performance of Francisco Rodriguez would bring the Angels their first and only championship in a thrilling seven-game series.
After their surprise World Series title in 2002, the Angels now have one of the largest payrolls in baseball, as well as a talented farm system that has them in contention for the American League pennant year after year. With a stacked roster from top to bottom, it's only a matter of time before the Angels put together another magical postseason run and bring home their second World Series title.
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