Although admittedly I didn’t get to cover many games in the last half of the season, I have been considering how surprising a run it was for the 66ers to win their sixth California League title, sweeping San Jose in the best-of-five finals on Saturday night.
It was the franchise’s first and the first for an Angels affiliate since Lake Elsinore in 1996.
There are some similarities with this team and the last Sixers team to win a title, in 2006 as a Mariners affiliate.
That 2006 team, managed by Gary Thurman, won the first half in bizarre fashion. Poor scheduling left the Sixers a game short in the first half an a half game behind High Desert. So the Sixers’ last game of the 1st half (and High Desert’s first of the 2nd half) was a Sixer victory that tied them for the first half title. So the next game, also against High Desert was another Sixer win, and the first half title, clinching a playoff spot.
Then the team was gutted. Players were promoted and what was left was a rag-tag group primarily of non-prospects.