COOPERSTOWN – Tim Mead is anything if not approachable.
Walking by that display board of standings in front of the Hall of Fame the other day, Glendaly Garcia of Hartford, Conn., called out to the new president of Baseball’s Mecca: “Can you take our photo?”
Unhesitatingly, he did, then posed with the family, now thrilled at meeting the man who holds one of the highest-profile jobs in the National Pastime.
That kind of personal touch is important, the Garcias can tell you: A decade ago, dad Luis was diagnosed with cancer, and the family brought him to Cooperstown to fulfill a lifelong dream. He recovered, and a month ago was diagnosed with brain cancer.
Meeting Tim Mead made their visit that much more special.
Editor’s Note: Tim Mead, incoming Baseball Hall of Fame president, cited John Scolinos, baseball coach at his alma mater, Cal Poly Pomona, as a lifelong inspiration, particularly Scolinos’ famous speech “17 Inches.” Chris Sperry, who published sperrybaseballlife.com, heard Scolinos deliver a version in 1996 at the American Baseball Coaches Association in Nashville, and wrote this reminiscence in 1916 in his “Baseball Thoughts” column.
By CHRIS SPERRY • from www.sperrybaseballlife.com
In 1996, Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948. He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.
After speaking for 25 minutes, he said:
“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility.
“No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”
Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.
COOPERSTOWN – Tim Mead, 61, 22-year vice president/communications for the Los Angeles Angels, has been named president of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Hall board Chairman Jane Forbes Clark announced a few minutes ago.
“The Board of Directors is very pleased that Tim has accepted the position of President of the Hall of Fame,” said Clark. “Tim is deeply respected throughout the baseball industry, among players, executives and media alike. He has a great affection for the game and its history, and we are looking forward to having him leading the efforts of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.”
In his most recent position, Mead, who has spent 40 years with the Angels, oversaw the team’s media relations, publicity and broadcasting operations. He was assistant general manager in 1994-97. He had started in the public relations department in 1980, became director of media relations in 1985 and assistant vice president/media relations, in 1991.