Once They Were Angels by Rob Goldman
Just as the city that adopted the Angels has changed over time, so too has the franchise’s name – from Los Angeles to California to Anaheim and finally back to Los Angeles (of Anaheim). Finally, there is an essential volume to document those changes to one of Major League Baseball’s most entertaining teams. Rob Goldman’s Once They Were Angels details the team’s rich 44-year history through fresh perspectives from the players who defined the franchise.
Elder Angels like Bo Belinsky and Jim Fregosi reflect on the zany days of the team’s early years, when the roster was a hodgepodge of misfits and castoffs under the guidance of larger-than-life team owner Gene Autry. Readers will be treated to the colorful memories of esteemed sportswriter Ross Newhan as he relives the madness of the early 1970’s, when Alex Johnson’s blistering diatribes single-handedly destroyed the franchise. Nolan Ryan then takes fans through the rest of the ’70s as he remembers his struggles to become a Hall of Fame-caliber pitcher as part of manager Dick Williams´s “Hells Angels,” a team known more for its infighting than noteworthy performance on the field.
Once They Were Angels also features Rod Carew and Don Baylor lending their thoughts on the “Yes We Can” Angels of 1979, Reggie Jackson sharing his thoughts on racism in baseball, and a one-armed pitcher named Jim Abbott recalling how he became the stuff of legend. The book ends where it begins – with Scott Spiezio reliving his dramatic home run in the seventh inning of Game Six of the 2002 World Series. Like any great franchise worth remembering, Once They Were Angels will form an indelible stamp in the hearts and minds of Angels fans both young and old.