Tuesday, July 9, 2013

By Rob Goldman, AngelsWin.com Staff Writer - 

Although the Angels struggled throughout the 1990s, beneath the surface they were building a strong foundation. That became evident in 1996. The club finished in fourth place that year, 19 1/2 games out of first place. However, the young players—Salmon, Anderson, Edmonds, Erstad, and Percival—were forming a striking core. The following year—under new skipper Terry Collins—they improved to second in the division, with Erstad stepping into the everyday role at first base and 24-year-old Jason Dickson leading the staff with 13 wins. The Halos finished in second again in 1998, but this time were just three games out. Management added a wrinkle to the youth movement by signing 34-year-old Cecil Fielder to play first. But to counter the addition of a veteran, the 21-year-old Glaus began to be eased into action. 

The forward progress was interrupted in 1999, as the team took a huge step backward, finishing in last place, 25 games behind division-champion Texas. Free agent Mo Vaughn was signed to a huge contract—one that would eventually prove to be a bust. Despite falling in the visitors dugout and spraining his knee on opening night and missing several games, he proved to add a significant punch to the middle of the batting order. He led the team with 33 home runs and 108 RBI, and Glaus won the third base job and contributed 29 home runs. But injuries struck Salmon and Edmonds, and the pitching staff failed to make up for the offense’s struggles. Chuck Finley, in his last season with the Angels, won 12 games to lead the rotation, but the remainder of the starters were less than impressive. 

In the off-season, Bill Bavasi stepped down, and Bill Stoneman, former general manager of the Montreal Expos, came aboard.

“To his credit Bill did not blow the team up,” says Joe Maddon. “He came in and evaluated first before he started to do certain things, which was very impressive. He recognized the talent we had, built around it, and stayed the course of building from within established by Herzog and Bavasi.”

Stoneman’s first move was firing Terry Collins and bringing in Mike Scioscia, a former Dodger catcher and protégé of Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda. According to Maddon, Scioscia was the “the final brick” in the foundation.

“The manager is the most crucial position in an organization,” says Maddon. “He can bring a stability and consistency to an organization that others cannot. Over the years we were subject to so many changeovers as far as managers went, and the philosophy was constantly changing. We were constantly telling players what we said last year is not really how we want to do it this year. One of the reasons the Angels are still successful is that Scioscia has remained in the skipper’s chair. When you have that same guy in that seat for a period of time, you have some stability.”

In 2000, Stoneman addressed gaps in the rotation and infield with a key trade that sent Jim Edmonds to the Cardinals for second-base prospect Adam Kennedy and starting pitcher Kent Bottenfield. Stoneman agreed to leave the rest of the core of the team unchanged, and in doing so ensured a chemistry and cohesiveness to develop that would eventually enable the Angels to come together in spectacular fashion.  

If you've missed parts one and two in this series, you can read them both here, and here
Love to hear what you think!

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

AngelsWin Media

We Recommend

 photo 8fbce79f-4964-43ef-a13d-ff1832b5e9a4_zpsd3c2ece7.jpg
Click on the picture above to pick up a copy of Rob Goldman's latest on Angels' great, Nolan Ryan. A Must Read for every fan of the Angels!

AngelsWin.com Website Store

 photo t_zps6af139fc.gif
Copyright © 2013 Los Angeles Angels Blog | AngelsWin.com

AngelsWin.com is the unofficial website of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Our comments and views do not express the views of the major league club or anyone affiliate with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  AngelsWin.com blog content, articles and opinions are provided "as is" and without warranties of any kind.  We disclaim warranties, express or implied, including warranties for a particular purpose, accuracy, completeness, availability, security, compatibility and non-infringement.  Blog material, articles and other information furnished or supplied by you to AngelsWin.com become the ownership of AngelsWin.com for use at our discretion.  Your use of AngelsWin content is at your own discretion and risk. We do not warrant that any content here be error free that access thereto will be uninterrupted or errors will be corrected. We do not warrant or make any representations regarding  the use of any content made available through AngelsWin.com  You hereby waive any claim against us with respect thereto. AngelsWin.com may contain the opinions and views of other members and users. We cannot endorse, guarantee, or be responsible for the accuracy, efficacy or veracity of any content generated by our members and other users. The content of AngelsWin.com is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only. Such content is not intended to, and does not, constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis, and may not be used for such purposes. Reliance on any information appearing on AngelsWin.com is strictly at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in, or accessible through, the AngelsWin.com without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer or professional licensed in the recipient's state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.