Steve Bilko and his 1956 Los Angeles Angels teammates are featured in a Houston Sports Talk podcast with Robert Land and R.G. Seals interviewing Gaylon White, author of The Bilko Athletic Club, a new Rowman and Littlefield book that’s receiving national media attention.
Bilko was Babe Ruth to White, nine years old in 1955 when the stout slugger arrived in L.A. and over the next three seasons, slammed 148 homers. “He was a cult hero,” White said of Bilko’s popularity.
Of the ’56 Angels, White said, “It was a great team and, in my opinion, not given enough credit for its greatness.” He added: “To give you an idea of just how good this team was, Jim Bolger, the right fielder, drove in 147 runs and batted seventh in the lineup.”
Only four of the team’s players failed to make it to the major leagues. One of those players was Lorenzo “Piper” Davis, the only black on the team. Piper appeared in 64 games, batting .316. As a pinch-hitter, his 13 hits in 29 at bats for a .448 average led the Pacific Coast League. He played every position in the field except shortstop, centerfield and pitcher.
As an example of Piper’s versatility, White tells the story of Mel Ott, Piper’s manager with the Oakland Oaks in 1952, proposing to play him at all nine positions in a nine-inning game. “Someone suggested, ‘Well, if it goes 10 innings, Piper can sell beer.’”
The following link will take you to the Houston Sports Talk website: http://www.houstonsportstalk.net/2014/04/29/author-bilko-athletic-club-gaylon-white-podcast/
This link connects directly to The Bilko Athletic Club podcast: http://houstonsportstalkpod.podomatic.com/entry/2014-04-28T15_50_58-07_00
YouTube link to Houston Sports Talk interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9V5QiXNCMWs
- The Bilko Athletic Club is a book published by Rowman & Littlefield about 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 book features a delightful foreword by John Schulian, former sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and Philadelphia Daily News and longtime contributor to Sports Illustrated and GQ.
The book can now be ordered by clicking on any of the website links below:
- Rowman & Littlefield
- Vroman’s Book Store
- Sales Spider
- Tower books
- Powell’s Books
- Rakuten.com Shopping
- BetterWorld Books
- The Book Depository
For Baseball Fans Down Under:
For Fans in the UK:
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