‘Pleasant Look Back’

The Bilko Athletic Club “is a pleasant look back at what a man and his excellent ball club could mean to a California community in the days when the Major League Baseball map extended only to St. Louis,” Bill Littlefield says on Only A Game, the nationally syndicated program he hosts weekly on National Public Radio.Only-A-Game

“The closest thing we had to Major League Baseball up until 1958 was the Pacific Coast League,” author Gaylon White tells Littlefield in their interview broadcast April 19. “Mudcat Grant, the former pitcher both in the big leagues and the Coast League, refers to it as a minor major league.”

As Littlefield points out in this review of the book, Bilko “was the pride of Los Angeles before the Dodgers arrived, and according to his manager, in the City of Stars, he was bigger than Marilyn Monroe.”

As an example of Bilko’s popularity, White cites references to the stout slugger in a Hallmark greeting card booklet featuring Peanuts cartoon characters. The excerpt from pages 90-91 of the book can be read on the Only A Game website: http://onlyagame.wbur.org/2014/04/18/excerpt-bilko-athletic-club

For highlights from Littlefield’s conversation with White and his thoughts on the book, click on the following link:  http://onlyagame.wbur.org/2014/04/19/bilko-athletic-club-white