This Day In Sports: Lots of rings for former Boise Hawks

October 27, 2002, 20 years ago today: The Anaheim Angels win their first World Series, finishing off the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 with a 4-1 victory. The Angels roster included seven former Boise Hawks—one of them, righthander John Lackey, became the first rookie to win a Game 7 of the Series since 1909. And the game-winning hit came from another ex-Hawk, Garret Anderson, who clubbed a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the third inning. The lead held up, and Hawks alum Troy Percival closed it out in the ninth.

The Angels had not so much as won any postseason series in their history before 2002, while the Giants were trying to win their first World Series since moving to California in 1958. And San Francisco came agonizingly close to getting this one. In Game 6, the Giants led 5-0 and were eight outs away from the coveted title. But after Russ Ortiz gave up two singles in the bottom of the seventh inning, S.F. manager Dusty Baker elected to go to his bullpen.

Enter the Rally Monkey. It had been the unofficial mascot of the Angels for more than two years, and never was it more visible than on this night. The Angels created a series of Rally Monkey videos starring a monkey who had appeared in the sitcom “Friends,” and they lit a fire under fans. During the infamous Game 6 pitching change, the Rally Monkey rolled on the JumboTron, and the crowd went crazy. At the same time, Baker gave Ortiz the game ball as he left the mound, a move that fans by the Bay claimed jinxed the Giants. Anaheim scored six times, and Percival came on in the ninth inning to close out a stunning 6-5 victory.

Not only were former Boise players Lackey, Anderson and Percival part of the Angels core that year, ex-Hawks Jarrod Washburn and Ramon Ortiz were also in the starting rotation, and rookie Francisco Rodriquez was a late-arriving contributor the bullpen. Anderson hit 29 home runs during the season with 123 runs batted in, Percival recorded 40 saves, Washburn went 18-6, Ortiz was 15-9 and Lackey was 9-4. The other two former Hawks on the roster were outfielder Orlando Palmeiro and reliever Scot Shields.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)

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