From Publishers Weekly
In 1960, popular entertainer and successful businessman Gene Autry (aka the Singing Cowboy) purchased an American League franchise to play baseball in rapidly growing Los Angeles. Though Autry's team, the Anaheim Angels, has enjoyed occasional successes--among them, three American League West division titles--this book by veteran sportswriter Newhan focuses on the team's inability to make it to the World Series. Newhan recounts each frustrating season in enough detail to remind even the most diligent fans of players and stats they have forgotten. While the author treads lightly on the team he has covered since its inception, he doesn't shy away from bringing to light the wrong turns and haphazard moves the Angels have made. He also devotes a good deal of space to the colorful characters who have played for the team--such as Bo Belinsky, a talented but dissolute pitcher who was suspended in the 1960s for punching a reporter. In describing the number of freak accidents and unfortunate deaths that have plagued the Angels, Newhan makes a compelling case that the team suffers from a Californian version of the Boston Red Sox curse, which has allegedly prevented the Bosox from winning a World Series since 1918. None of these cases is more poignant than that of pitcher Donnie Moore, who committed suicide three years after giving up the home run that prevented the Angels from reaching the 1986 World Series. Despite Newhan's somewhat perfunctory writing style, West Coast fans who want to get an early-season dose of baseball will find this book a welcome diversion. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From the Back Cover
Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy, rose from the dust and poverty of Tioga, Texas, to become an entertainment and corporate legend. Despite his Midas touch, however, Autry experienced mostly frustration with the one thing closest to his heart--his Los Angeles turned California turned Anaheim Angels of the American League. A former American Legion shortstop and lifelong baseball fan, Autry was awarded the league's Los Angeles franchise in 1960 but never reached the goal of a World Series--no matter how much money was spent nor how many moves the club made trying to win one for the Cowboy.
This book traces that history, covering all of the characters and controversy, all of the problems and personalities--from the zany Bo Belinsky, Dean Chance, and Leon Wagner of the early years through Nolan Ryan, Frank Tanana, Don Baylor, Bobby Grich, Reggie Jackson, and Rod Carew in the tumultuous '70s and '80s, to Chuck Finley, Mark Langston, Tim Salmon, Jim Edmonds, and Mo Vaughn amid the highs and lows of the '90s. The Singing Cowboy, confronted by soaring salaries and debts, ultimately sold the team to another entertainment giant, the Walt Disney Company. The curse, however, of untimely injuries and illnesses--a parade of agony that began for the Angels right from the start--even intruded on Disney's renowned magic. The story of the club's long attempt to carve its own niche in an area dominated by the Los Angeles Dodgers is all here in this complete history.