I recently created a list of some hard-to-find baseball books that I wanted to track down at reasonable prices to add to my library. Incredibly, almost immediately after forming the list, I came across a copy of the one at an estate auction. It was in a lot with another book and a glove ad. Landed the whole thing for five bucks:
The book? Split Doubleheader, a history of the Minnesota Twins.
The other one sort of intrigued me more, though, and I sat down and read it last night.
Angels Soar is almost like a glorified, expanded yearbook of the 1985 Angels, written and published before the 1985 season ended. For those of you who don't remember, the 1985 Angels finished one game behind the Kansas City Royals for the AL West title despite having the lowest team batting average in the American League. The Angels did finally win the West the following year before losing the AL pennant to the Red Sox.
Getting back to the book, it is almost laughable to read how things have changed in the last quarter-century of baseball:
"In 1984, Moore had led the Atlanta Braves with 16 saves".
"He can be a super player hitting .260".
That's mild, though, to the incredible homerism:
"All of this might lead to the conclusion that Pettis, indeed, is the next Willie Mays, that the officials of the Hall of Fame should be preparing his plaque".
Why not? At the end of the 1985 season Pettis would have been well on his way to Mays' career home run total of 660. He hit one in 1985, giving him seven for his career to that point. At that pace, he would have tied Mays right around the time Terminator robots took over the world.
There's a good bit on the amazing relief pitching of Stu Cliburn. Some tributes to Rod Carew and Reggie Jackson. Bobby Grich? Mentioned in a list of veterans and shown in one picture. Has there ever been a more underrated player than Grich?
Nothing really to recommend about it except that it makes one recall the mid-80's Angels.