Always an Angel: Playing the Game with Fire and Faith Book Review
By Rob MacDonald – AngelsWin.com Journalist
I was ecstatic to hear that Tim Salmon was collaborating with Rob Goldman to write a book about his career. It would slot perfectly into my 2010 list of books to read and was penciled in for the dark baseball-less days of December when even the hot stove runs cold. A note from our Executive Editor changed my timeline, much to my benefit.
Always an Angel: Playing the Game with Fire and Faith is not a biography or a memoir. It is definitely not a tell-all book. It is the story of Tim Salmon’s legacy. Readers of Rob Goldman’s first book, Once They Were Angels, will recognize his pace and ability to weave smaller stories and vignettes into the larger story of Tim’s career.
Even with Goldman’s presence, the voice you hear is Tim Salmon’s. This book is about Tim’s faith, family, baseball career, and the role that each played in his life. Faith is Salmon’s foundation. It is shared throughout the book and is presented with a tone that relates without preaching. In order to understand Tim Salmon, you have to learn about his faith. Faith gave Salmon the strength to persevere through the injuries and humility of his career and allowed him to appreciate his successes. Supporting him throughout his career was his wife Marci. She was his balance and support. Angel fans everywhere owe her a debt of gratitude for her role in Tim’s career.
While faith and family underscore Always Angel, it is primarily a book about his baseball life. From Little League to retirement we see the game and the Angels as Tim did. We learn how a highly touted college player fell to the Angels in the third round. Signed by Joe Maddon, Tim became part of what Maddon and the Angels front office thought would be the core of a championship team. Tim describes how Len Sakata’s unique approach to hitting helped him reach and stay in the big leagues. He talks about how the career of a certain good arm - no bat catcher named Troy Percival took a right turn and helped change Angels history. Before the book reaches the 2002 season, Tim takes the time to discuss some of the friends, adversaries, and characters that made his career memorable. He provides some interesting and surprising tidbits for the reader - whether the reader is a casual baseball fan or a dedicated Angels fan.
The book wraps up with an insider’s view of the 2002 run for the ring. Tim talks about how the pieces fit together for that incredible run. The charge through the Yankees, learning that the Twins’ series was over before game five started, how a clubhouse attendant may have jinxed the Giants during game six, and how Jackie Autry almost returned the favor are all covered. A quick summary of the 2003 through 2006 seasons discusses how time took its toll on Tim’s body. The book ends with what occupies Tim’s time now and why number 15 isn’t working full-time in the organization.
Come December, when the trade rumors are few and far between and the sick lineup posts slow to a trickle, I will revisit Always an Angel and remember fondly the days when the King Fish donned the Halo’s uniform.
Order your copy TODAY on Tim Salmon's website here.
Also see our live chat with Tim Salmon and our video interview that was conducted on May 15th, 2010.