Tuesday Tunes: Diamond Ditty #5 – “Charlie-O-The-Mule” by Gene McKown

30 06 2015

Yesterday I wrote a post about “Charlie O” the Mule who was the mascot of the A’s during the end of their run in Kansas City and the beginning of their time in Oakland.  The idea and namesake of team owner Charlie O. Finley, Charlie O saw 3 World Series titles during his time as the A’s mascot.

Charlie O CD

Artist/Title/Album: “Charlie-O-The-Mule” by Gene McKown (1965?)

1965 KC A's yearbook Charlie O

Description:  As I mentioned in my post yesterday, Charlie O was a mascot for the A’s.  I’m guessing this song was commissioned by Charlie Finley in an effort to promote the mascot, but I’m not sure.  It’s got an old country / rockabilly vibe to it.

I couldn’t find much about Gene McKown, the credited artist.  The most I found was from this site.  Apparently he was a musician who lived in Kansas City, which makes sense.  He also did a song in the 1970’s about the Royals.  He had a song called Rockabilly Rhythm that seemed to be his best-known credit.

How it’s related to baseball:  Obviously it’s a tribute to the Kansas City / Oakland mascot!  And a very fun one at that!

Charlie O the Mule!
Charlie O the Mule!
He goes where the A’s go,
Just like me and you!

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Monday Mascots #3: Charlie O The Mule

29 06 2015

Twitter is an interesting thing.  I have technically been on twitter for about 2 years, but I’ve just started to check it consistently in the last few months.  I follow a couple of guys who do things associated with sports logos (@sportslogosnet, @ToddRadom), and saw a tweet about a mule that took pitchers to the mound in 1965.  Now that seemed like a mascot I should learn something about!  Two days ago, the Oakland A’s did a promotional giveaway of this T-shirt:

Charlie O promo give away t-shirt

Mascot/Team:   “Charlie O” the Mule (Kansas City / Oakland Athletics, 1965-1976)

Charlie O Mule Charlie Finley

Background:   Prior to the 1961 American League season, Charlie O. Finley purchased the Kansas City Athletics franchise.  Finley would eventually be remembered for a number of his marketing efforts to promote the Athletics in both Kansas City (using the shortened “A’s” moniker) and after he moved the team to Oakland (incentivizing players to grown a handlebar mustache).

When Finley bought the team, they had only been in Kansas City for a few years.  He wanted to move away from the team’s historical Elephant mascot to something with a tie to Missouri.  And after reading an article in the Chicago Tribune, he was determined it needed to be a Missouri mule.  He ordered Jim Schaaf, head of the A’s promotional department, to find the finest Missouri mule he could.  They arranged to have newly elected governor Warren Hearnes donate the mule to the team, and on opening night 1965, Charlie O was unveiled to KC fans.  Finley rode him around the park prior to the game, causing a number of fans to question who was the bigger ass – the donkey or the owner who had tried to move the team to California one year earlier.

Finley brought Charlie O around the American League that year, and even offered Ken Harrelson 25 bucks to ride the mule in a game at Yankee Stadium.  It didn’t go so well when Roger Maris hit Charlie O with a baseball, causing him to buck wildly.  The “Hawk” tells the story here.

Charlie O Hawk Harrelson

When Finley moved the A’s to Oakland in 1968, he (somewhat controversially) took the Mule with the team.  Charlie O was still a fan favorite, however, even though the Missouri connection was gone.  He could perform tricks, like bowing to the fans, and he oversaw 3 straight World Series titles for the A’s from 1972-1974.

Charlie O bowing

Charlie O passed away in 1976 at the age of 30.  The team still used a mule as a mascot until 1981, when Finley sold the team to Walter Haas, Jr.

Outside of baseball:   In addition to parading before home games at Municipal Stadium and the Oakland Coliseum, Charlie O had engagements at hotels and hospitals.  I even read that Finley went to a barbershop to get Charlie O’s haircut.

Charlie O also had a song written about him, which I’ll post about tomorrow.

Baseball card connection:  Charlie O. hasn’t had any cards made yet.  He is getting 2 T-shirts, however.  The A’s had a giveaway 2 days ago as I noted above, and the Royals are doing a promotion where they remember the Kansas City A’s on July 6th where fans can get their picture taken at the ballpark with a Missouri mule wearing Charlie O’s original blanket.





My 2002 All-Star selections and Silver Slugger comparison

27 06 2015

My opinion of the best player at each position in each league.  For pitchers, I pick 3 starters and 1 reliever.  I do include a DH. Here’s the 2002 version:

My NL All-Stars: C – Mike Piazza, NYM (.280/33/98)

1B – Todd Helton, COL (.336/49/146, 132 R, .685 SLG)

2B – Jeff Kent, SFG (.298/37/108, .313)

2002 Topps Traded Scott Rolen3B – Scott Rolen, PHI/STL (.266/31/110)

SS – Edgar Renteria, STL (.305/11/83)

OF – Barry Bonds, OF, SFG (.370/46/110, 198 BB (MLB record),68 IBB (MLB record).582 OBP (MLB record),.799 SLG, 1.381 OPS (MLB record))

OF – Vladimir Guerrero, MON (.336/39/111, 206 H, 40 SB)

OF – Brian Giles, PIT (.298/38/103, 1.072 OPS)

SP – Randy Johnson, ARI (24-5/2.32/334, 260 IP, 8 CG, 4 SHO, Cy Young)

SP – Curt Schilling, ARI (23-7/3.23/316, 259.1 IP, 6 CG)

SP – Roy Oswalt, HOU (19-9/3.01/208, 233 IP)

RP – Eric Gagne, LAD (4-1/1.97/114, 52 SV)

The NL outfield was an extremely difficult choice; last year I had Shawn Green as my 4th outfielder, and he’s probably the first odd man out again.  In addition, Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, Larry Walker, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones (who played in left field in 2002) and Sammy Sosa all could have been chosen.  But you could swap Giles and Guerrero out for any one of those guys and have an argument.  The two of them had the highest OPS (except for Walker in Coors Field), while Vlad led the league in hits and nearly had a 40-40 season.  I actually thought about putting Pujols in as the 3rd baseman – he played 41 games there, but that’s a third of his time in the outfield, and Scott Rolen was nearly as good as Pujols in 2002 anyways.

First base was a little challenging – Ryan Klesko had very good numbers without the Coors Field benefit that Helton got.  But Helton was a much better defensive player, and that tips the scale for me.  It’s interesting – in addition to looking at the players’ traditional stats, I look at both WAR and Win Shares closely when trying to make determinations.  And so many of these NL decisions for 2002, Win Shares and WAR just didn’t line up.

Starting pitching was (again) a very clear top 2, and Oswalt was an easy choice for third.  Reliever was tough.  John Smoltz set a National League record with 55 saves, and while he was very good, a lot of that was a function of how good the Braves were.  Gagne was much better with nearly as many saves.  And, if anything – Octavio Dotel (1.85 ERA in set-up role) or Byung-Hyun Kim (36 saves) were his best competition.

My AL All-Stars: C – Jorge Posada, NYY (.268/20/99)

1B – Jim Thome, CLE (.304/52/118, 122 BB, .445 OBP, .677 SLG)

2002 Topps ASR Alfonso Soriano2B – Alfonso Soriano NYY (.300/39/102, 41 SB, 209 H, 128 R)

3B – Eric Chavez, OAK (.275/34/109)

SS – Alex Rodriguez, TEX (.300/57/142, 125 R)

OF – Manny Ramirez, BOS (.349/33/107, .450 OBP, 127 R)

OF – Magglio Ordonez, CHW (.320/38/125, 116 R, 47 2B)

OF – Bernie Williams, NYY (.333/19/102, 206 H)

DH – Jason Giambi, NYY (.314/41/122, .435 OBP)

SP – Barry Zito, OAK (23-5/2.75/182, Cy Young)

SP – Pedro Martinez, BOS (20-4/2.26/239, 4 SHO)

SP – Roy Halladay, TOR (19-7/2.93/168, 239.1 IP)

RP – Arthur Rhodes, SEA (10-4/2.33/91)

This has to have been the best season all-time for any league as far as shortstops go.  Alex Rodriguez was really the best player in the league.  Nomar Garciaparra led the league with 56 doubles.  Miguel Tejada won the MVP but was probably the third best 6-man in the league.  Derek Jeter was his usual self, while David Eckstein and Omar Vizquel had good offensive seasons paired with excellent defense.

Giambi actually played more games at first base, but did play 63 games at DH so I was able to get the 3rd best hitter in the AL in this lineup (if I only considered him a first baseman, Thome beats him out).  The other slot that was interesting was third base – Eric Hinske was the Rookie of the Year and deserved some serious consideration, as did Troy Glaus, who I picked in 2001 and who won the World Series MVP.

In the American League – pitching was a tough decision.  There was a clear top 5 – the 3 above, Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe – but I’ve chosen to pick the top 3.  Zito won the Cy Young, and I think was deserving of the top spot.  Pedro was the only guy out of those 5 with less than 200 innings, but he had 199, and he was the best pitcher when he did pitch.  From there, I thought Halladay’s total package – really good numbers over the most innings – gave him the third spot.  But honestly, any of the others could replace Doc or Pedro.  Also, with no exceptional AL closer in 2002, I thought Arthur Rhodes season was the best, as he had a minute 0.83 WHIP and a 10.6 K per 9 innings.

**********

NL Silver Slugger: C – Mike Piazza, 1B – Helton, 2B – Kent, 3B – Rolen, SS – Renteria, OF – Bonds, Guerrero, Sammy Sosa (.288/49/108, 122 R), P – Mike Hampton (.344/3/5)

Mike Hampton followed up his historical 2001 season (7 homers) with a .344 average.  As mentioned above, Sosa was someone I considered, but he just wasn’t that good defensively and even his excellent offensive numbers are aided by his home park in the Windy City.

AL Silver Sluggers: C – Posada, 1B – Giambi, 2B – Soriano, 3B – Chavez, SS – Rodriguez, OF – B. Williams, Ordonez, Garrett Anderson ANA (.306/29/123, 56 2B), DH – M. Ramirez

Interesting how the lack of a really good DH led the Silver Slugger voters to put in Manny, while it caused me to put in Thome.  This ends up with Garrett Anderson in their lineup instead of Jim Thome in mine.  Anderson had a great season and was a tough cut for me.





2002 Season – statistics

26 06 2015

2002 AS game logoAll-Star Game: AL ties NL, 7-7 at Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI     (No MVP awarded)

Home Run Derby: Jason Giambi 24 – beat Sammy Sosa, 7-1 in the final     (AL over NL, 41-31)

ALDS: Anaheim Angels over New York Yankees, 3-1

Minnesota Twins over Oakland A’s, 3-2

2002 WS ProgramNLDS:  San Francisco Giants over Atlanta Braves, 3-2

St. Louis Cardinals over Arizona Diamondbacks, 3-0

ALCS: Angels over Twins, 4-1

NLCS: Giants over Cardinals, 4-1

World Series: Angels over Giants, 4-3

**********

MVP: AL – Miguel Tejada, SS, Oakland A’s (.350/34/131, 204 H)

NL – Barry Bonds, OF, San Francisco Giants (.370/46/110, 198 BB (MLB record), 68 IBB (MLB record).582 OBP (MLB record), .799 SLG, 1.381 OPS (MLB record))

Cy Young: AL – Barry Zito, SP, Oakland A’s (23-5/2.75/182)

NL – Randy Johnson, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks (24-5/2.32/334, 260 IP, 8 CG, 4 SHO)

RoY: AL – Eric Hinske, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays (.279/24/84)

NL – Jason Jennings SP, Colorado Rockies (16-8/4.52/127)

**********

MLB Amateur Draft:

Bryan Bullington, P, PIT (1st overall pick)

B.J. Upton, OF, TBD (1st #2)

Zack Greinke, P, KCR (1st #6) – 2009 AL Cy Young, 2009 AL ERA champ, 2x All-Star, 128 career W

Prince Fielder, 1B, MIL (1st #7) – 2007 NL HR Champ, 2009 NL RBI Champ, 290 career HR, 5x All-Star

Nick Swisher, 1B, OAK (1st #16) – 1x All-Star, 239 career HR

Cole Hamels, P, PHI (1st #17) – 3x All-Star, 109 career W, 2008 NLCS & WS MVP

Matt Cain, P, SFG (1st #25) – 3x All-Star, pitched perfect game in 2012

Joey Votto, C, CIN (2nd #44) – 2010 NL MVP, 4x All-Star, 4x NL OBP champ

Joey Votto mounty

Jon Lester, P, BOS (2nd #57) – 3x All-Star, 118 career W

Brandon Weeden, P, NYY (2nd#71) – 2012 First team all Big 12 Football, 22nd pick in 2012 NFL draft

2002 Topps Draft Brandon Weeden

Curtis Granderson, OF, DET (3rd #80) – 3x All-Star, 20-20-20-20 (doubles-triples-HR-SB) in 2007 (one of 4 ever), 2x AL triple leader

Russell Martin, 2B, LAD (17th #511) – 3x All-Star

Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, DET (23rd #674) – 1x All-Star, 3x AL SB leader, 30-30 in 2011

Hunter Pence, OF, MIL (40th #1189) – 3x All-Star

Jonathan Papelbon, P, OAK (40th #1208 – did not sign) – 5x All-Star, 330 career SV, 8x 30 SV

2002 Topps Traded Hall Relic Ozzie Smith**********

Hall of Fame: Ozzie Smith, SS, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres (1st ballot)

**********

Batting Leaders:

Avg. (AL) Manny Ramirez BOS .349, (NL) Bonds SFG .370

HR (AL) Alex Rodriguez TEX 57, (NL) Sammy Sosa CHC 49

RBI (AL) A. Rodriguez TEX 142, (NL) Lance Berkman HOU 128

R (AL) Alfonso Soriano NYY 128, (NL) Sosa CHC 122

SB (AL) Soriano NYY 41, (NL) Luis Castillo FLA 48

H (AL) Soriano NYY 209, (NL) Vladimir Guerrero MON 206

Pitching Leaders:

W (AL) Zito OAK 23, (NL) Johnson ARI 22

ERA (AL) Pedro Martinez BOS 2.26, (NL) Johnson ARI 2.32

K (AL) Martinez BOS 239, (NL) Johnson ARI 334

SV (AL) Eddie Guardado MIN 45, (NL) John Smoltz ATL 55 – NL Record

**********

Trends and Stats:

6 players above .330 AVG, 1 above .350 AVG

28 players above 30 HR, 8 above 40 HR, 2 above 50 HR

36 players above 100 RBI, 8 above 120 RBI

0 players above 50 SB

5 players above 200 H

7 pitchers above 20 W

7 pitchers above 200 K, 2 above 250, 2 above 300 K

11 pitchers below 3.00 ERA, 2 below 2.50

2 pitchers above 250 IP

10 pitchers above 40 SV, 2 above 50 SV

**********

I’ll post my standard All-Star selections and compare to the silver slugger winners for the year in the next post.





2002 Cincinnati Reds season

25 06 2015

Reds logo

2002 was the 33rd and final season of Riverfront Stadium / Cinergy Field.  There were a lot of memories made in that “ballpark”:

  • 14 playoff appearances (7 each by the Reds and Bengals),
  • 5 pennants,
  • 2 AFC Championships,
  • 3 World Series wins,
  • and a team in 1975-76 that is in the argument as the greatest of all-time.

 

In 2002, the Reds closed the stadium out by again being respectable but ultimately not all that good.  The season started ominously as Ken Griffey Jr. tore a tendon in early April.  However, the team overcame that, going 16-9 to post the best record in the National League.  They had a solid May as well and still led the division at the end of the month.  And they stayed above .500 throughout June and July.

Their hitting was good.  22-year old prospects Adam Dunn (26 homers) and Austin Kearns (.500 slugging) played their first full season in the big leagues and were excellent.  Aaron Boone (26 HR, 32 SB) and Todd Walker rounded out a solid young offensive core.

But the early success proved to be fools gold.  Griffey never got back to full health, going on the DL for over a month when he pulled his hamstring in late June.  The Reds had a good bullpen that helped them win some close games, but the team just didn’t have the starting pitching to get over down years from Griffey, Sean Casey and Barry Larkin (who had his worst year as a pro in 2002).  Jimmy Haynes won 15 games, but no other pitcher won more than 7.  Jose Rijo was an interesting experiment – after 5 years out due to injury, Rijo came back briefly in 2001, and then went 5-4 as a spot starter / middle reliever in 2002.  Rijo is one of 2 players to have played in the Majors after getting a Hall of Fame vote (the other being Minnie Minoso).

It was tough to pick between Boone and Kearns as the team MVP below – but I went with Boone, even though he had an OPS 150 points below than Kearns.  Kearns had 250 less plate appearances and Boone was a good defensive player.  The local writers elected Boone as well that year.

Team MVP: Aaron Boone (.286/26/87, 32 SB)

Best Pitcher: Elmer Dessens (7-8/3.02/93)

Award Winners:

none

All-Stars:

Adam Dunn





2002 World Series

24 06 2015

I’m splitting my write-ups about the playoffs into 2 posts going forward.  The posts just feel too long, so I’ll do the NLDS/NLCS in the first post and the World Series in the next post for 2002 and on.

2002 World Series Sports Illustrated Angels cover

After an incredible 2001 Fall Classic, the 2002 World Series had a lot to live up to.  Sure, there wasn’t a walk-off hit in game 7 against the best closer of all time.  But it certainly made for some memories; most notably, a team looking to clinch the title had a 5-run lead in game 6 – and DIDN’T WIN!  Also, the team with home field advantage had won every single series in the 2002 playoffs, but that anomaly didn’t hold up in the 2002 World Series.

World Series:

Giants at Angels

Both teams had won their Championship Series in 5 games, so game 1 pitted the #1 starters against each other.  The game was an even matchup, with Jason Schmidt out doing Jarrod Washburn.  Barry Bonds, Reggie Sanders and JT Snow all hit home runs off Washburn, while Troy Glaus pegged 2 longballs on Schmidt.  Snow hit his with a runner on, which was the difference in the 4-3 Giant victory.

Game 2 was just as close, but with a lot more fireworks.  The Angels scored 5 runs in the first inning, including Scott Spiezio’s steal of home plate.  They forced Russ Ortiz out of the game when Tim Salmon hit a 2-run homer in the 2nd.  But home runs from  Sanders and David Bell led to a 4-run 2nd inning, and a Jeff Kent homer got the Giants within 2 runs the next frame.  The Angel’s rookie starter John Lackey relieved Kevin Appier and held down the fort for a few innings, but the Giants plated 4 runs in the 5th.  The Angels clawed their way back to tie by scoring in both the 5th and 6th innings, and Salmon gave them a 2-run lead with his 2nd homer of the night in the 8th.  Troy Percival got the first 2 batters out, meaning he could afford to go after Bonds, who had been walked 3 times that game.  Bonds hit a monstrous drive, that you could see Salmon (observing from the dugout after being taken out for defense) quote as the “farthest ball I’ve ever seen hit”.

The Giants scored first in game 3, but the Angels took over from there.  The Angels scored 4 runs in both the 3rd and 4th inning off Livan Hernandez, with the biggest hit coming off a Spiezio triple.

The Angels struck first in game 4, taking a 3-run lead after Troy Glaus but it was the Giants’ turn to come back.  They scored 3 runs to tie the game in the 5th inning, and David Bell singled home the winning run in the bottom of the 8th.  This was done despite the fact that Bonds essentially had the bat taken out of his hands.  The Angels were using a strategy that had become all too familiar with the Giants – they walked Barry whenever possible.  In game 3, Bonds was walked intentionally 3 times.  For the series, he walked an astounding 13 times, 7 of them intentionally (and the others were all due to pitching around Bonds).  When he did get the chance to hit – he was excellent.  For the series, Bonds hit 4 homers and batted .471 with a 1.294 slugging percentage.  But he notched only 6 RBI as the Angels minimized the damage the best player in the game could do.

2002 WS Bonds intentional walk

In game 5, Bonds took early advantage of one of the few opportunities he had.  Kenny Lofton opened with a single, and Kent walked.  Even the Angels didn’t want to walk Bonds with runners on first and second.  He doubled to score Lofton, and came around to score later in the inning.  Lofton and Kent had again reached base in the second inning, but this time they were on 2nd and 3rd.  With first base open, the Angels naturally walked Bonds.  But Benito Santiago singled home Kent and Lofton, and Sanders’ sacrifice fly scored Bonds to give the Giants a 6-0 lead.  The Angels made it interesting, knocking the starter Jason Schmidt out and getting as close as 6-4.  But Kent homered in the 6th and 7th innings and the rout was on.  The Giants eventually won 16-4, and sat 1 game away from their first title in San Francisco.

The most interesting moment of Game 5 didn’t come from the play on the field.  In between Kent home runs, Kenny Lofton hit a run-scoring triple, and 3-year old bat boy Darren Baker (son of manager Dusty Baker) ran out to grab Lofton’s bat right as JT Snow and David Bell were barreling home.  Snow swooped the youngster out of the way to avoid a potential disaster.

2002 WS JT Snow Darren Baker

That looked promising late into the next game.  Though the series turned back to Anaheim,   Shawon Dunston homered in what would be the last game of his career, and Bonds hit another solo shot in the 6th inning.  After Kent notched an RBI single, it was 5-0 and the Angels only had 9 outs left.  But even though the Giants had Bonds, the Angels had something else on their side: the Rally Monkey!  Two seasons earlier, the Angels were down a run at home in the 9th inning of an interleague matchup against the same Giants. The scoreboard operators had posted a picture of the monkey from Ace Ventura pet detective.  The crowd loved it, and the Halos came back to win the game.  The gimmick was so popular that the Angels bought their own Capuchin monkey to help inspire the crowd.  Plush versions of the monkey became popular sales items at the team shop, and the monkey became a national story as the Angels rolled off multiple comebacks against the vaunted Yankees in the division series.  Naturally, this was a gimmick – but the monkey was the symbol for what had become a very real home field advantage in Anaheim.

Rally Monkey

But the rally monkey reached the peak of its fame at the end of game 6.  Probability gave the Angels had just a 3% chance of winning after starter Ortiz got Garrett Anderson to ground out to start the bottom of the 7th.  But Glaus and Fullmer singled, prompting Baker to bring in Felix Rodriguez to face Spiezio.  After working a 3-2 count, Spiezio golfed the payoff pitch just over the right field wall to give the Angels life.  Darin Erstad led the 8th off with a home run, and Glaus doubled home the tying and go-ahead run later that inning.  Troy Percival shut the door in the 9th, and the Angels had staved off elimination in one of the most improbable comebacks in World Series history.

2002 WS Spiezio HR

The shell-shocked Giants now faced a daunting task.  Anaheim had the momentum and the excited home crowd.  San Francisco did have Livan Hernandez as their starter; he was 5 years removed from a game 7 World Series victory.  And the Giants plated the first run when Sanders hit a fly ball to score Santiago in the 2nd inning.  But Bengie Molina doubled home Spiezio in the bottom of the inning, and Garrett Anderson doubled home 3 runs in the 3rd, and the Angels didn’t need anything more.  John Lackey combined with a dominant Angels bullpen to allow just 4 more hits as the team long regarded as the red-helmeted step child of the Dodgers had its own World Series win.





Monday Mascots #2: The Rally Monkey

22 06 2015

Rally Monkey

Since I am in the midst of posting about the the 2002 season and playoff review – this seemed as good a time as any to do my 2nd mascot post about the Angels’ Rally Monkey that became famous during their run to the title that year.  My first mascot was a kid who acted as Babe Ruth’s mascot for home games in the 1920’s – so I still haven’t done one you would think of as a “traditional” mascot (i.e., a costumed character like the San Diego Chicken or Mr. Met).  But these “organic mascots” are pretty fun!

Mascot/Team:   Rally Monkey (Anaheim Angels, 2000-current)

Torii Hunter Rally Monkey

With Torii Hunter

Background:   In June 2000, the Angels were in a nail-biter in Interleague play against the San Francisco Giants.  Down a run at home in the 9th inning, the scoreboard operators posted a picture of the monkey from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.  To the delight of the home crowd, the Halos pieced together a true rally – a walk and 3 singles, to earn a comeback win against star closer Robb Nen.  The monkey became so popular that the Angels bought their own Capuchin monkey to help inspire the crowd at home games.

The Rally Monkey (along with young fire-baller Francisco Rodriguez), became a national story as the Angels rolled off multiple comebacks in the 2002 playoffs.  It was certainly a gimmick – but one that was representative the true home field advantage that had popped up in Anaheim.  The monkey gained iconic status at the end of game 6 in the 2002 World Series.  The Angels were down 5-0 going into the bottom of the 7th, with just a 3% chance of winning according to baseball probability score.  But the Rally Monkey doesn’t know anything about advanced sabermetrics, or even about basic statistics.  The Angels scored 3 runs on a Scott Spiezio homer in the bottom of the inning, and scored 3 more in the bottom of the 8th to cap an incredible comeback victory.  They shut down the Giants the next night to take their only World Series title.

Rally Monkey plush

Since then, the Rally Monkey has maintained its presence at the Big A, coming on most often to “Jump Around” from House of Pain.  Plush versions of the monkey are popular sales items at the team shop, and it’s edited in to various films like Jurassic Park, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on the scoreboard whenever an Angels’ rally is needed.  The monkey has its own Facebook page and twitter account.

Outside of baseball:   As mentioned, the Rally Monkey originally featured on the Jumbotron at Angel Stadium was the character Spike from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

Capture

The monkey has also been featured on a “This is SportsCenter” commercial.  I don’t particularly like the Angels, but this is pretty hilarious if you ask me.

Baseball card connection:  I was pretty surprised, but there hasn’t been a card of the Rally Monkey made yet.  Between the Topps Team sets and the inserts in Opening Day, I would have thought at least one would have been made by now.