Interviewing Major League Baseball Hall of Fame President Tim Mead, a Highland original, for a piece in last week’s corner was no chore, of course. It was an all-out honor to chat with a guy who A) loves his job, B) understands my job and C) can’t wait to get back to his job after chatting with me.
There wasn’t a single scrap of notes that went un-used.
Mead’s a lifetime communication specialist, having worked for the Angels in that capacity from 1980 through last year.
If you watched the July 20-21 Hall of Fame ceremonies, you might’ve spotted Mead taking part in photo sessions alongside baseball’s latest inductees.
Just to refresh you, here’s Mead’s first induction weekend of 2019:
• Ford Frick Media Award winner went to Al Helfer, deceased, a one-time broadcast partner to legendary Red Barber during the Brooklyn Dodgers’ heyday. Presented by Mead himself.
• Starting pitchers Mike Mussina and Roy Halladay, who was represented by his widow, Brandy.
• Designated hitters Harold Baines and Edgar Martinez.
• Closers Lee Smith and Mariano Rivera.
Not bad for an initial weekend. Up next was my chance to gather it all in for local readership. So here’s how the Mead interview all happened:
I patiently waited until after Mead’s first induction ceremony before making any contact. Anything beforehand wouldn’t have been a fresh angle. Better to wait.
Sent an email to the “info” section of the Hall of Fame. Early the next morning, Mead responded, “Obrey, good morning from Cooperstown. I was made aware of your request during my return trip to California for the Tyler Skaggs Celebration of Life. When time allows, please let me know the best number to reach you and I will as soon as time allows … hopefully today.”
I was on the phone on another story when I read his email. While still speaking to Al Sanchez of Redlands ⎯ this new-world technology is insane, isn’t it? ⎯ I responded to Mead with my phone number. It wasn’t even a minute later that a call was showing was showing on my iPhone.
“Al,” I said, who was filling me in on another story, “I’ve got to call you back. I’ve got a call coming in on another line.”
Okay. Hung up on Al. Answer the other call. The words were music to my ears.
“Obrey, hi. This is Tim Mead.”
Hey, this is happening!
I was ready. First question: “Tim, is there anything about the Hall of Fame you didn’t know about before you took over as president?”
He took it from there.
The chat concluded with something like this, “Tim, I could talk to you all day. I hope I can keep this line of communication open.”
Oh, yes. “I will look forward to speaking with you again soon.”
We should all be so lucky, right? To retire from a job you love only to find a job in retirement that you also love.
Yes, I got back to Al Sanchez after concluding my chat with Tim.
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Stuff you can’t ask about:
The buildup to next year’s Derek Jeter-to-the-Hall-of-Fame is gaining traction over the firing of Hall of Famers Tony Perez and Andre Dawson. They worked for the Miami Marlins, but were apparently fired upon instructions when Jeter took over that ownership.
Reports are they won’t be attending next year’s Hall of Fame ceremony.
Is that really a question for Mead?
That’s like asking your neighbor to mow your lawn and take out your trash.
Nor is he responsible for standing up under the glare of spotlight over the likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the reported performance enhancing drug users who are being kept out of Cooperstown by electors.
Tim Mead has nothing to do with the election process.
He does, however, get to notify any of the inductees.
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No contact with Mead is worth anything without input from his lifelong friend, Don Parnell.
“Glad you could talk to him,” said Parnell, best known, perhaps, for being the longtime baseball coach at Cal State San Bernardino. “Tim and I are great friends ⎯ living in the same neighborhood and having sat next to each other for at least one class a day from seventh through 12th grade.”
Final thought, Parnell: “We took our dates together to the senior prom.”
I’ve got a strong hunch that if Parnell ever travels to Cooperstown, he’ll get a personal tour.
Got a sports tip, some rumblings, or just chat about sports? Hit me up at email@example.com.