With the offseason acquisitions of outfielders Vladimir Guerrero and Jose Guillen and pitchers Bartolo Colon and Kelvim Escobar, the Angels had high hopes for a turnaround season under new owner Arte Moreno.
Injuries to key players Troy Glaus, Darin Erstad, Troy Percival, Garret Anderson and others -- along with Colon's subpar start -- slowed that plan. But Guerrero hammered opposition pitchers all season long, Chone Figgins became an indispensable player at multiple positions and Francisco Rodriguez stepped into Percival's closer's role, allowing the Angels to stay afloat.
When Colon started the second half on a tear, and the injuries began to heal, the Angels got red-hot through August and into September. They went on a 7-1 burst on the road against AL West foes Oakland and Texas in the final two weeks of the season, beating the A's on the second to last day to wrap up their first division title in 18 years.
The Angels lost in the ALDS to the eventual World Series champion Boston Red Sox, but that couldn't mask a terrific regular season. They had 45 comeback wins in their 92-70 record, playing before a franchise record 3,375,677 fans at Angel Stadium. Colon had a sterling 18-12 record, becoming the ace the Angels thought he'd be. Erstad won a Gold Glove at first base to become the first player in Major League history to win one as an infielder and outfielder.
But the anchor of the club was Guerrero, who carried the Angels down the stretch to win AL September Player of the Month honors and catapult them into the postseason. Overall, he led the club in virtually every offensive category -- .337 average, 39 home runs, 126 RBIs, 124 runs, 206 hits and 39 doubles -- in an MVP-caliber season.