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The Bilko Athletic Club: The Story of the 1956 Los Angeles Angels by Gaylon H. White
The Bilko Athletic Club: The Story of the 1956 Los Angeles Angels

matthew.dudas, February 7, 2014

I am too young to remember the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and just old enough to know who Sgt. Bilko was but I love baseball and the arcane so this book drew me in. Steve Bilko's story is a fascinating probe not just into the life of a terrific and largely unheralded ball player, but also the elements of what characterizes the stories behind many great players that never made it in the big leagues. I came away from this book with appreciation for the depth of story, passion and drama of the '56 Angels, their LA fan base and the PCL, but also the struggles of even exceptional minor-league players yearning for a shot at the show. Gaylon White brings to life the meaningfulness of the PCL, LA Angels and their star in a way that only a die-hard boyhood fan who committed decades of first-person interview research could do. In the process he finds out what no one else knew, or seemingly cared to know, about his boyhood hero. In an age when we are overloaded with "whatever happened to" such-and-such a formerly famous person summarized in a few minutes on TV, Gaylon does the question justice in a way that is as leisurely and enjoyable as an afternoon at the ballpark.
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