Windy and Stout Steve on Shrine Ballot

(The series based on Author Gaylon White’s visit to Nanticoke, PA, will resume soon)

Gale “Windy” Wade, a vital cog in the 1956 Los Angeles Angels powerhouse, is one of 12 new candidates eligible for the 2015 election of the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals, the group’s version of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Typing wasn’t one of Windy’s strengths: “In high school, I got up to eight words a minute.” (Courtesy Gale Wade)

Typing wasn’t one of Windy’s strengths: “In high school, I got up to eight words a minute.” (Courtesy Gale Wade)

Windy joins Stout Steve Bilko, the Slugging Seraph, as one of 50 candidates Baseball Reliquary members will vote on this spring. The three candidates receiving the highest percentage of votes gain automatic election.

This year marks the 17th annual election of the Shrine, a major national component of the Baseball Reliquary, a Southern California-based organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history. The Shrine’s annual ballot includes names of the obscure and the well-known who have altered the baseball world in ways that supersede statistics.

Among the 48 people enshrined are Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson, baseball greats tarnished by gambling scandals; Jim Brosnan and Jim Bouton, pitchers and authors of controversial baseball books; and three players recently passed over by the Hall of Fame’s Golden Era Committee: Dick Allen, Minnie Minoso and Luis Tiant.

This is Bilko’s fourth time on the ballot and the eighth for Charlie Brown, the comic-strip character.

Actress Terry Moore feeds Stout Steve a slice of watermelon as Windy looks on. (Courtesy Stephen Richard Bilko)

Actress Terry Moore feeds Stout Steve a slice of watermelon as Windy looks on. (Courtesy Stephen Richard Bilko)

In announcing Windy’s eligibility, the Baseball Reliquary offered the following description: “…a career stalwart of the Pacific Coast League and American Association, Wade – who was once included in a deal for Ralph Kiner – enjoyed his best season with the legendary 1956 Los Angeles Angels. He is better remembered, however, for his candid, homespun reporting on in-season ballgames for the Los Angeles Mirror-News and the Dallas Times-Herald. Invited to write about baseball after he complained that Los Angeles sportswriters didn’t pay enough attention to the Pacific Coast League, Wade sounded off on everything from his teammates to the judgment of circuit umpires. Gale Wade:  bats left, throws right, types one finger.”

Another first-timer is Luke Easter, the legendary minor-league slugger, and Charley Pride, the country music star who pitched in the Negro Leagues and briefly in the lower minors. Bilko and Easter were teammates at Rochester in 1963, Steve’s last season. Pride had a tryout at spring training with the major-league Angels in 1961 where Bilko chided him playfully, “You couldn’t hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle.”

The three new inductees will be announced in May, with the induction day ceremony scheduled for July 19 in Pasadena.

For more information on the Baseball Reliquary and how you can become a member and vote in the 2015 election, click on the following link: http://www.baseballreliquary.org/

 

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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 Il dlustrated and GQ. The book can now be ordered by clicking on any of the website links below:

For Baseball Fans Down Under:

For Fans in the UK:

For Fans in Taiwan:

 

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