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Former baseball catcher, Mike Scioscia, was born Michael Lorri Scioscia on November 27, 1958 in Morton, Pennsylvania. Mike Scioscia is a former catcher and current Major League Baseball manager. He is often referred to by the nickname Sosh.
Since 1999, he has served as the manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Mike Scioscia led the Angels to their first World Series championship in 2002 as a wild card entry, as well as to American League West division titles in 2004, their first since 1986, 2005, 2007 and 2008.
In his playing days, Scioscia spent his entire career (1980-1992) with the Los Angeles Dodgers, with whom he won two World Series (1981 and 1988) and hit a memorable home run in the 1988 NLCS.
Mike Scioscia was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1st round (19th overall pick) of the 1976 amateur draft, debuting for the Dodgers in 1980 (replacing Steve Yeager) and went on to play 12 years for the team. Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda helped lobby Scioscia to sign with the Dodgers after the team drafted him out of Upper Darby High School, a public school located in the suburbs of Philadelphia in 1976.
When I made Mike the No. 1 catcher, the writers came to me and said, "Steve Yeager said you made Scioscia the No. 1 catcher because he's Italian." I said, "That's a lie. I made him the No. 1 catcher because I'm Italian." — Tommy Lasorda
Scioscia went to the San Diego Padres in 1993, but suffered a torn rotator cuff injury during spring training that year and did not play in any regular season games for the team. He closed out his career with the Texas Rangers in 1994 after a failed attempt to come back from the injury, again without having played in any regular season games that year. Exclusively a catcher, the 6-foot, 2-inch, 230 pound Scioscia was primarily known for his defense. Former Dodgers vice president Al Campanis once called Mike Scioscia the best plate-blocking catcher he had seen in his 46-year baseball career. In one collision with St. Louis Cardinals' slugger Jack Clark in July, 1985, Scioscia was knocked unconscious but still held onto the ball. Scioscia, however, has claimed he had an even harder plate collision the following season.
After spending several years as a coach in the Dodgers organization, new Angels general manager Bill Stoneman hired Scioscia as the Angels' field manager after the 1999 season following the late-season resignation of Terry Collins.
Under the leadership of Stoneman and Scioscia, the Angels ended their 15-year playoff drought in 2002, winning the AL Wild Card and ultimately winning the franchise's first World Series, a series that pitted the Angels against a San Francisco Giants team managed by Scioscia's former Dodgers teammate Dusty Baker. In winning the series, Scioscia became the 17th person to win a World Series as both a player and a manager (not including those who won as a player-manager).
Scioscia was honored as 2002 American League Major League Manager of Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America (the official Manager of the Year award, as recognized by Major League Baseball). He was also named 2002 A.L. Manager of the Year by The Sporting News, USA Today Sports Weekly, and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. He was further named the overall Major League 2002 Manager of the Year by Baseball America.
The Angels under Scioscia would go on to enjoy a period of on-field success never before seen in franchise history, winning four American League West division titles in five years (surpassing the number won by all previous Angels managers combined). Scioscia's Angels broke the franchise single-season win record with 99 wins in 2002, and again with 100 wins in 2008. However, they have yet to win another American League pennant or World Series since their memorable 2002 run.
Scioscia is currently the Angels' all-time leader in wins and games managed, surpassing original manager Bill Rigney's totals in both categories in 2007 and 2008, respectively. He is also currently the longest tenured manager in the American League, and third longest in MLB behind Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox.
Scioscia is one of the few managers in the Major Leagues who is multi-lingual, an especially rare skill for a manager who is not a native Spanish speaker. Similar to his mentor, Tommy Lasorda, he has used his ability to speak Italian to ease the learning curve with Spanish. Scioscia's Spanish is fluent enough that he often gives interviews in Spanish. His skill with the language is particularly useful with the Angels, as the team currently includes many Latin American players and since the Los Angeles area has a large Hispanic contingent.
Scioscia wore #14 for the majority of his playing career, and he currently continues to wear that same uniform number as a manager. The number is seldom seen nowadays since Scioscia rarely appears without an Angels jacket or windshirt over his jersey.
In 2007 Scioscia, a native of Morton, PA, was named to the Delaware County, PA Sports Hall of Fame. He attended Springfield High School in Springfield, PA, and Penn State University in State College, PA.