Tim Salmon recalls the year the Angels won whole ball of wax

Photo of Tim Salmon

Tim Salmon was one of three former Angels to be inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame on Saturday at Angel Stadium. The other two were pitchers Dean Chance and Mike Witt.

The one thing Salmon had over the other two was he helped the Angels win their only World Series title in 2002, beating the Giants in seven games.

Salmon, who batted .346 in the Series, was asked about his fondest memories on that championship season.

“I think the bigger memories are the memories that you see all the time,” said Salmon, who turned 47 Monday. “I mean, the highlight reels of that Game 6. It seems like I’m always seeing Troy’s hit to the gap that cleared the bases, and seeing Ersty make that final catch (in Game 7). And then, of course, I have my own personal images of being in the pile-up and just the images of the faces of my teammates. Just that feeling of relief and just excitement all in one.

“Those are the kinds of things that stick out to me. But as far as that team went, just a bunch of grinders, blue-collar guys that never quit, guys that really kind of put the blinders on, put their heads down and played the game hard for every inning.”

Troy Glaus had a two-run double to left-center in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Angels a 6-5 lead in Game 6. They held on to win the game by that score on their way to a 4-1 victory in Game 7, centerfielder Darin Erstad making the catch for the final out on a fly ball by Kenny Lofton.

Games 6 and 7 took place at Angel Stadium, though it was called Edison Field back then.

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Daily Distractions: Love for the Angels’ gloves, Tim Salmon in Germany, Luis Jimenez on a tear.

Erick AybarIt was nice to see the Angels’ defense get a little love today – OK, a lot of love – in MLB.com’s rankings of the majors’ 10 best defenses. The Angels led the pack, ahead of the Rays (2), Reds (3), Nationals (4), Giants (5), Rangers (6), Padres (7), Braves (8), Orioles (9) and A’s (10).

The outfield of Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos and Josh Hamilton has already been mentioned as one of the best in recent memory. The Angels’ worst defensive infielder is second baseman Howie Kendrick, but he’s considered average by some metrics (notably range factor) and managed to lead the league in fielding percentage in 2011.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens now that the Angels have overhauled their pitching staff. Righty Joe Blanton and lefty Jason Vargas are contact pitchers, certainly more than Dan Haren and Zack Greinke. Will the Angels’ defense help their effectiveness? That was part of the thinking in both acquisitions – we’ll see if it matches up with reality.

If there’s a fly in the ointment, it’s that Hamilton had a major off-year in the field in 2012. His ultimate zone rating – designed to account for a fielder’s ability to prevent runs with his arm, range, double plays and “errorlessness” (for lack of a better word) – was a woeful -12.6. That was mostly a result of his play in center field, however, and moving to right field could be the cure to what ails him.

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