While the LA Angels were not anywhere close to even qualifying for the playoffs, a few former Angels were able to bask in the glory of helping the Chicago Cubs win their first World Series title 108 years.
Let’s go back to a better time for the LA Angels, who were actually the Anaheim Angels at the time. Flashback to 2002 Game 7 of the World Series 24-year old rookie pitcher John Lackey gets the nod from LA Angels manager Mike Scioscia to start the most important game in team history, Game 7 of the World Series against the San Francisco Giants.
Lackey pitched five strong innings, allowing only one run before handing the ball off to Brendan Donnelly, followed by Francisco Rodriguez and Troy Percival and the Angels were finally World Champions. Lackey got the victory in the game and he also won game four of the ALCS.
Lackey then went to the Boston Red Sox and again got to pitch in the playoffs and World Series in 2013 and again got the victory in the World Championship clinching game (Game 6). He became the first player in major league history to win World Series clinchers with two different teams.
Now flash-forward to last night in Cleveland. Although Lackey was not on the mound in the Cubs game 7 victory that clinched the first Cubs title in 108 years, he was still a key part of the Cubs rotation throughout the year. Lackey went 11-8 with a 3.35 ERA which is not bad for a 38-year old veteran. Lackey pitched three games in the 2016 post-season for the Cubs going 0-1 with a 4.85 ERA. This may be the last World Series for the big Texan.
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Lackey, I’m sure was extremely proud to be a part of this special Cubs team, just as he was 14 years ago when he was part of a magical run for the Angels first and only World Series title. Lackey helped the Angels break a 41 year curse by winning game 7.
Former Angel Joe Smith was part of the Cubs for the last three months after being dealt there by the Angels at the trade deadline. Smith, who has battled a variety of injuries in 2016, was not a part of the Cubs post-season roster. This was the only time in his career that Smith was on a team that won the World Series.
The final Angels connection with the Cubs was their manager Joe Maddon. Maddon was the Angels bench coach from 2000-2005 and worked for the organization for 31 years before getting the chance to manage the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006. Maddon then joined the Cubs in 2015 as the 53rd team manager since the Cubs last won the World Series.
Maddon was a key part of the 2002 Angels World Championship team as a bench coach. Now he has a World Series title to go with it as the head honcho, helping the Cubs break the 108 year curse. So our hats off to a great guy and former Angel, who coincidentally carries an old Anaheim Angels hat in his back pocket for good luck, as a tribute to his late father.