Mike Trout summed it up best at an afternoon Angels clubhouse meeting.
“They got a Hall of Famer,” the Archangel and fellow future Cooperstown resident Albert Pujols agreed, “to run the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
Tuesday marked the end of an era in Anaheim.
Tim Mead, the man under the Halo at the Big A for 40 seasons, bade farewell.
In 10 days he will take over as the President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Tim Mead, a native son of Southern California, was born to chronicle the Angels’ Israelites-like wandering in the desert in search of the Promised Land.
And, to walk so deservedly through Heaven’s Gate on Oct. 27, 2002.
But there was an even greater calling to which destiny summoned the finest man any of us has dealt with in Major League Baseball since 1980.
Cooperstown is the repository of little boys’ dreams — little boys from 8 to 80, as the incomparable Jim Murray wrote — and there could be no better choice to safeguard those dreams than Tim Mead.
He made a career of making dreams come true under the Halo for everyone from movie stars to Make A Wish Kids to club reporters too awestruck by Cooperstown glory to ask a question of Reggie Jackson or Rod Carew.
He will take a piece of all our hearts to upstate New York, from Gene Autry to Jimmie Reese to Albert to the Mick (Mick Trout) to, especially, Jim Abbott.
In a sport increasingly choked with selfishness and self-centeredness, Tim Mead has always lived his life and his career for the people around him.
When you believe so devoutly in the Man all those Angels, the real ones, work for, there can’t be any other way.
One thing you learn in this business is to quickly outgrow the partisanships of your adolescence.
You find yourself rooting for people, not logos.
People like Tim Mead.
When Doug DeCinces, the future Godfather of Minor League Baseball in the Valley, homered off Roger Clemens to lead off the ninth inning and trigger a stunning 4-3 comeback victory in 11 innings on Oct. 11, 1986, the Angels stood one win away from the their first American League pennant.
“You know the best part about this?” I asked sports editor Joe Pasley as we high-tailed it home to be back in time for the 12:07 p.m. Sunday start of Game 5. “By this time tomorrow, Tim Mead will be in the World Series.”
Ah, not quite.
But 16 years later, we got the answer to our prayers.
“Please Lord,” I spoke up during the Prayers of the Faithful from the rear of Sacred Heart Church at 8 a.m. Mass that day, “please smile on your Angels in Game 7 of the World Series tonight.”
It was a trifecta: the Angels’ Boss smiled on former Antelopes Lancaster Lightning, Kevin Appier, and Garret Anderson, AND Tim Mead.
The ethicists at Columbia Journalism Review be (darned), I sought out Tim for the longest, warmest hug of congratulations I could muster.
Somewhere today, the Cowboy, and Jimmie Reese, and Jimmie Reese’s 1931-32 Yankees roommate, Babe Ruth, are smiling down on Tim Mead.
You won’t find this Halo on a Hall of Fame plaque baseball cap, as Vladimir Guerrero gave the Angels their first a year ago.
No, this Halo will hover over all, just like the one in Anaheim.
The Baseball Hall of Fame has a new Guardian Angel.