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Angels In 7th Heaven After Series Win

The Anaheim Angels celebrate their 4-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 of the World Series in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 27, 2002. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
AP
The never-say-die Anaheim Angels beat Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants 4-1 on Sunday for the first championship in the franchise's 42-year history.

Rookie pitcher John Lackey and outfielder Garret Anderson led the way in Game 7, capping a remarkable turnaround for a team that seemed to rally past every team in their way.

"I can't believe it, man," Anderson said. "It's been a long year — a testament to the guys who never gave up."

Anaheim third baseman Troy Glaus was voted World Series MVP after hitting .385 with three home runs and eight RBIs.

The series marked the first time that Bonds - the top slugger in baseball - reached the Fall Classic. He had one of the most dominant performances in Series history, but the pesky Angels were just too much for the Giants.

A day after it blew a 5-0 lead in the seventh inning, San Francisco never got close on Sunday.

With both pitching staffs worn down after a string of high-scoring games, Lackey gave Anaheim exactly what it needed with five innings of one-run ball. The rookie was stuck in the minor leagues when they went 6-14 to begin the season for the worst start in team history.

Anderson, finally due to get the recognition he's always deserved, hit a three-run double off Livan Hernandez in the third for a 4-1 lead - the key play in the game.

The Rally Monkey - Anaheim's run-scoring inspiration during this postseason - made a brief, early appearance on the video board to celebrate the moment, then the mascot sat back and let the sellout crowd of 44,598 bang their ThunderStix like crazy.

And when it was over, Southern California, the land of celluloid stars, had just added a whole teamful of them while Hollywood luminaries including John Travolta watched from the stands.

Before this year, the Angels were known mostly for heartbreak. Beloved owner Gene Autry never saw his team get this far before passing away, and it didn't look like these guys would do it, either, especially after finishing 41 games out of first place last season.

Somehow, the Angels pulled it together. They led the majors in hitting, overwhelmed the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins in the AL playoffs and then knocked out Bonds and Co.

Bonds wound up 8-for-17 (.471) with four homers, a .700 on-base percentage and 1.294 slugging percentage.

By Ben Walker