Wednesday, March 23, 2011
The Angels Have Dropped the Ball
The most universally loved player in Angels History. The All-Time Club Leader in Home Runs, Member of the 2002 World Series Team, 1993 AL Rookie of the Year, 1995 Silver Slugger, and, perhaps most importantly, MVP of the 2010 All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game. In case you hadn't figured it out, this is just a small blip of the accomplishments that Tim Salmon earned over the years. He is to Anaheim what Wayne Gretzky is to Canada. Young fans and old fans alike have adored Tim Salmon for the last 20 years, and with good reason. Not only was he the nicest guy on and off the field, he put up big numbers and helped the Angels capture their first American League Pennant and World Series crown. He averaged 29 Home Runs and 98 RBI per season over his 14 year career. If injuries didn't slow him down in 1999 and 2003, he probably would have ended up with Hall-of-Fame worthy numbers.
So, 5 years since his retirement, why haven't the Angels retired his number?
Bobby Cox, whom I spoke about a bit last year after his final game, retired just last October as the Manager of the Atlanta Braves. This August, the Braves will be retiring his number (#6) to honor what he had done for the organization as a whole over the last 20 seasons. I understand that age might be a factor in the decision to rush Cox's number retirement, but it still only took the team 6 months to figure it out.
Back in 1992, while he was still a member of the Texas Rangers, Nolan Ryan's number (#30) was retired by the Angels. Sure he hadn't been on the team for 13 years, but he was still an active player in the league. Silly.
Last year, when the Angels acquired Dan Haren from the Arizona Diamondbacks, where his number was #15, no one on the team asked him to change his number, but he had the wherewithal to realize that it would be inappropriate for him to don the Angels #15 (Right off the bat, a huge amount of respect to Haren), so he switched to 24.
If Dan Haren, someone who had been an Angel for about 15 minutes, could figure it out, why is it taking the organization so long? If you needed any reassurance, Angels fans went absolutely ape-shit over Tim Salmon any time he so much as moved at the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball game. I mean, it helped that he hit a home run any time he swung the bat, but still, it was pretty damn cool to see Angel Stadium get to go crazy over Salmon one more time. Why not give everyone what they want and have a huge number retirement ceremony. Its the 50th season spectacular, why not honor our favorite player of the last 50 years?