Quite often in my dental chair I will meet someone who calls himself a true longtime Angeleno. I tell them that they must first pass a test of certification. I ask them, "Who was Steve Bilko?" They often say, "Gee, I haven't thought of him for 30 years. What happened to him?"
Big Steve Bilko was a demigod to us early boomers growing up in the '50s. He was our Sultan of Swat. Whenever he took the plate for the old Pacific Coast League Angels, we could feel the rush of air from his swing. Anything was possible when Bilko was up, and even when the Angels were far behind, no one would get his beer until Bilko had his turn at bat.
My certification is showing a 95% pass rate. Can you help my patients and myself by letting us know what happened to this man who deserves to be batting cleanup in Los Angeles' "Field of Dreams"?
EDWARD R. KUHN
Editor's note: Bilko, who finished his major league career with the Los Angeles Angels in 1962, died in 1978 at 49.