The First Time the Angels Played the Giants

…was in 1997, the first year of inter-league baseball.  The game took place at the Big A on a Saturday night on June 14th, and it was a teaser for the World Series that was five years off in the future.  The Giants already had Dusty Baker (Mgr), Barry Bonds (LF), Rich Aurilia (SS), Jeff Kent (2B), and JT Snow (1B), and the Angels already had Darin Erstad (DH), Tim Salmon (RF), and Garret Anderson (CF), all of whom would figure in the 2002 championship series. 

Although the two teams were not yet championship caliber in 1997, they were both pretty darn good that season. The Giants finished in first place in 1997, but they were swept in the NLDS by the Florida Marlins.  The Angels did not make the playoffs that season, but they were competitive, finishing in second place, just six games behind the Mariners.

As for this game, Angel starting pitcher Allen Watson struck out the side in the first inning, but laced in between those strikeouts was a walk, a single, and a passed ball, although thankfully, no runs scored.

Allen gave up a leadoff double to Glenallen Hill to start off the second inning, but then he struck out the next two batters, but then he walked the next two to load the bases, and then Aurilia clobbered a grand salami.  Which was followed up by a Kent solo shot.  Allen then got Bonds to hit a flyball to right for the putout and the inning was over, but the Giants had a 5-0 lead.

The Angels had grit, though.  With guys like Tony Phillips, Dave Hollins, and Gary Disarcina in the dugout, you could always expect a fight until the last out. 

Jim Edmonds (playing first base) exhibited some of that grit by hitting a home run to deep center field to start off the bottom of the second.  Two of the next three batters got on base, and it looked like the Angels were about to claw their way back into this game, but Luis Alicea (2B) grounded into a double play to extinguish this threat.

Unfortunately, the Giants built up a massive 10-1 lead by the time they finished batting in the sixth inning.  The Angels would score two more, but they ended up losing this one 10-3.

Odd thing about baseball.  The Angels out hit the Giants 14-10, and the Angels only struck out 4 times while 11 Giant batters whiffed.  You would think that the Angels had the advantage in this game, but alas.

Barry Bonds looked very mortal on this night, going just 1-for-4 with a single and a strikeout.  Jeff Kent, however, was a beast as he bashed out two home runs and a double.

Every Angel in the lineup except for Phillips had at least one hit.  Even the two late-game substitutions (Palmeiro and Craig Grebeck) both got a hit.

Oh well.  The Angels would get their revenge.  Just you wait, San Francisco.

Here are a few bullet points to reinforce just how great Bobby Grich was:

  • his .371 career OBP is higher than Molitor, Brett, Puckett, and Clemente’s
  • in 1981 he became the first second baseman to lead his league in home runs since Hornsby in 1929
  • in 1973 he set the MLB record for fielding percentage for a second baseman (.995)
  • in 1974 he set the MLB record for putouts by a second baseman (484)
  • in 1985 he broke his own MLB record for FLD% by a second baseman (.997)
  • he and Mark Belanger were named the best double play combo in MLB history by MLB Network
  • he’s the last MLB player to have at least 30 HRs and 10 sacrifice bunts in the same season (1979)
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Charles Sutton
Trusted Member
5 months ago

Let’s get even with them today for that.