It was not that long ago that the Los Angeles Angels held a portion of their Spring Training in Palm Springs and their Minor League team played here.
The truth be told efforts by the city of Palm Desert almost kept the Angels in the Coachella Valley.
Elected and appointed city officials would not have had the chance to make that pitch to Gene and Jackie Autry — and ultimately baseball Commissioner Peter Uberoth —had it not been for Angels’ public relations director Tim Meade.
Uberoth was impressed by Palm Desert’s proposal to build a stadium and practice fields across from the Marriott Desert Springs. The Commissioner ultimately vetoed the deal. His vision was to consolidate Spring Training at the Cactus League facilities in and around Phoenix.
It was probably the best deal the city of Palm Desert never made as that property now hosts a public golf course and retail development. Team Meade would go on to serve the Angels for 40 years. Those that know Tim, now 61 years young, know he is a class act. He is also a patriot and as the son of a late Air Force Non Commissioned Officer he has a heart for our military.
Meade was the first to reach out to our military to team up to promote his players and the military. He was always looking for promotional opportunities to honor the men and women of the military.
The Angles were the first, in professional sports, to support our troops and veterans as we ramped up for Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Meade assisted Gene and Jackie Autry in developing a policy that gave unlimited free admission and best available seating to active, guard, reserve, retired, and prior service members. Major Leaque Baseball teams soon followed suit. Even Disneyland joined in with a free tickets to its park in Anaheim.
If you needed tickets for military personnel and families in a block of 25 or 30, Meade took care of it. When you wanted your service branch color guard to present the colors at a game, Meade took care of it. In short, the armed forces has never had a more patriotic person in professional sports period.
Meade takes over as President of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in short order. It is a post he was recruited for. He did not seek the job and, in fact, told officials with the Hall he really couldn’t take the job. That was at Spring Training.
Meade loves the game, loves the Angels, and is respected in and out of baseball. He is a man of honor and integrity.
It was an offer, made again, that Tim accepted. I have visited the Hall of Fame on three occasions. It is hallowed ground for fans and players. Meade will make it a better place.
The Angels and the Coachella Valley will have a friend in Cooperstown. So will our active, guard, reserve, and veterans. Thanks for all you did for all my fellow veterans and their families over those 40 years with the Angels.
- Tim Meade: Los Angeles Angels
- Angels Stadium: Shutterstock