74 Days Until Opening Day

S P E E Z ! ! ! - Jeff Golden

Counting Down to Opening Day, We Are Counting Down The 100 Walkoff Homers in Angels History. The 74th was the first of three in the Angels Career of Scott Spiezio

Opening Day (April 1, 2013) is 74 days away. We are counting down the 100 Walk Off Home Runs in Angels franchise history. Today we look at #74...

May 14, 2000 - Esteban Loaiza and Jason Dickson each gave up six hits and five earned runs. The problem was the future Cy Young Award Winner did this over 6.2 Innings Pitched. The Angels has-been Dickson did it in 1.1 IP. Mo Vaughn hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first but the Rangers already scored four in the top of the frame. Vaughn hit another two-run job in the bottom of the third inning to make it a 5-4 Rangers ballgame. A Garret Anderson solo homer to lead off the fourth made it 5-5 and then the scoring stopped.

The first pitch of the ninth inning was thrown by Shigetoshi Hasegawa to Ivan Rodriguez, who crushed it over the fence, making it a 6-5 Rangers game. Francisco Cordero came in to close it out in the ninth and struck out Garret Anderson looking. Troy Glaus followed and hit an 0-2 pitch into the seats to tie the game. Scott Spiezio hit a 2-2 offering into the seats and the Angels won 7-6 in a game where all seven of their runs came by way of the longball. Need anyone ask, yes, it was a sunny Sunday afternoon day game.

The walk off home run was the first of three Spiezio would hit in his four-season Angels career. It was his fifth of the 2000 season. A few weeks earlier he had a two-homer game against Detroit, both HRs coming off of Dave Mlicki.

It was a just a little notice, but it is pretty weird as far as mundane announcements of baseball moves go... The Associated Press detailing the moves of the day for January 8, 2000 has this one...

Anaheim signed three second basemen Scott Spiezio, Pat Kelly and Jason Bates.

The Angels signed three second basemen on the same day. Two were never to be heard from again, one was to be a league average bat and below average for the usually power-packed first baseman position, oh and he would also hit the most important homerun in franchise history. The other two were minor league deals, making Scott Spiezio the first major league Angels contract signed in the 2000s.

Why would the Angels sign Speez? They had Mo Vaughn at 1B and young Adam Kennedy at 2B and Troy Glaus at 3B. He might have been a Maicer Izturis type of addition to the club - offering depth at any position save for Pitcher and Catcher. In 2000 he mostly platooned and played every infield position (except SS) and the corner outfield spots - and he started 43 games at DH. When Vaughn was hurt for the 2001 season, Spiezio took over and the rest... is history!

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