Saturday, September 30, 2006

Mr. Angel

He is, by any account, Mr. Angel.

Tim Salmon has been to this franchise what Tony Gwynn was to the Padres, what Cal Ripken Jr. was to the Orioles, what Kirby Puckett was to the Twins.

He has been the homegrown star who started and stayed right here, loyally remaining with one team and one franchise for the duration of his career.

A case could be made for him as the most consistent player in the 45-year history of the organization. But what has made him so endearing, so wildly popular that fans are standing and cheering for him every night on this final homestand before he retires, isn't so much the long list of impressive numbers he has put up.

It is more about Salmon, the person. It is more about the way he has conducted himself, on and off the field. For 15 years in Orange County, Salmon has pounded the ball and pounded the pavement, always there to help with all sorts of causes and charities.
Read here for the rest of this article by Steve Bisheff of the Orange County Register.

It was August 1992. Having graduated from seminary, accepted this call as Parish Pastor at Zion, and making the final arrangements for my upcoming ordination, I was temporarily living with Mom & Dad in the West Hills/Canoga Park home I'd been raised in. That meant I could again listen to the games of the baseball team that had been my favorite since I was a little boy, the California Angels -- originally, and now again, the Los Angeles Angels. I didn't catch the game the night Tim Salmon made his debut -- that was the night of my sem roommate's wedding rehearsal dinner -- but I would catch others over the next 3 weeks until I was on the road to Peoria. Like other Angels fans -- there weren't a whole lot of us in those days -- I had big hopes for this new right fielder, and I was able to follow his Rookie-of-the-Year 1993 season as well as the Peoria Journal Star would report it.

Tim Salmon's legacy as an Angel includes memorable moments both on and off the field. The biggest on-field was the Anaheim Angels winning the 2002 World Series (which I watched on TV while chatting with my Mom and sister at the end of the day Zion celebrated my 10th Anniversary of ordination and as their pastor). Some of his off the field legacy is listed here in his offical baseball biography. The one I find most interesting is California's Responsible Fatherhood Campaign. Not mentioned there is part of his testimony to the Christian Faith.

Last Wednesday night came the 299th Home Run of his 15-year career, all with the Angels. Thursday he announced his retirement. I'll catch tonight's game on XM Radio, rooting for him to hit #300 tonight. The Angels' season, and Salmon's playing career, end tomorrow afternoon, while I'll be part of the Peoria Life Chain.

1 comment:

Pastor Zip said...

Well, I was able to catch all of Salmon's at-bats both Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. No homers. In fact, a couple of chances to drive in runs came to nought. So, no going out like Ted Williams. And the Halo didn't shine tonight. But we finished with 89 wins and 2nd place in the AL West-- better than it was looking earlier this season. Thank you, Tim, for giving us so much to cheer about all these years.