Synopses & Reviews
The Bilko Athletic Club is the story of the 1956 Los Angeles Angels, a team of castoffs and kids built around a bulky, beer-loving basher of home runs named Steve Bilko. The Angels compiled a 107-61 won-loss record, finishing sixteen games ahead of their closest competitor. That year, Bilko paced the Pacific Coast League in eight categories: home runs, batting average, runs batted in, hits, runs scored, walks, total bases, and slugging percentage. Featuring in-depth interviews with Steve Bilko and twenty-five of his ’56 Angels teammates, The Bilko Athletic Club also includes several photos and is highlighted by never-before-told anecdotes. A fascinating account of a season to remember, The Bilko Athletic Club will take fans and historians of the national pastime back to the golden era of baseball.
"Before the Brooklyn Dodgers departed the fabled Ebbets Field in New York City in 1958 for the City of Angels, one of the key reasons leading to the exodus was the public frenzy for an much admired minor league player, Steve Bilko, and his red-hot Los Angeles Angels two years earlier. Former Denver Post sportswriter White relives that miracle season when the beer-guzzling, hefty Bilko, with his mighty bat, ignited the lowly minor league team in the Pacific Coast League during a historic year. Written in a subdued voice without any sensational prose, Bilko, known as the Sergeant of Swat and Mr. Biceps, is a stirring tribute of a superstar shining on a small stage, guiding 'baseball's last great minor league team,' slugging 313 homers in the minors, but the highly hyped athlete's luck fizzled in the majors with only 76 round-trippers. However, Bilko dazzled the sports world for the incredible 1956 season, at a time when Yankee star Mickey Mantle pursued Babe Ruth's home run record nationally and baseball fans held their breath. Weaving in anecdotes from Bilko's teammates and rivals both in the minors and the pros, White's precise, powerful account of a remarkable, unlikely athlete who peaked too early without achieving too much when his dream finally came true. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
During the 1956 baseball season in the city of Los Angeles, Mickey Mantle's pursuit of Babe Ruth's single-season home run record was matched only by the day-to-day drama of Steve Bilko's exploits in the Pacific Coast League. While Mantle was winning the Triple Crown in the American League, Bilko was doing the same in the highest of all the minor leagues with the Los Angeles Angels. He led the league hitters in eight categories, and the Angels romped to the pennant. Bilko hit one mighty home run after another to earn Minor League Player of the Year honors and inspire the team's nickname, -The Bilko Athletic Club.- The Bilko Athletic Club tells the story of the 1956 Los Angeles Angels, a team of castoffs and kids built around Steve Bilko, a bulky, beer-loving basher of home runs. Author Gaylon H. White provides an intimate portrait of life in minor league baseball in the 1950s and gives readers a glimpse inside the heads and hearts of the players as they experience the same doubts and frustrations many face in the pursuit of a dream. The Angels' unforgettable season unfolds through stories told by the players themselves, as they racked up runs and rolled to a 107-61 won-loss record, finishing sixteen games ahead of their closest competitor. Featuring in-depth interviews with Steve Bilko and twenty-five of his '56 Angels teammates, The Bilko Athletic Club also includes several photos and is highlighted by never-before-told anecdotes. A fascinating account of a season to remember, The Bilko Athletic Club will take fans and historians of the national pastime back to the golden era of baseball.