Sacramento Bee sports columnist Andy Furillo will be appearing at the Avid Reader on July 18 to talk about a book he wrote about his father entitled, "The Steamer: Bud Furillo and the Golden Age of L.A. Sports." The book is published by The Santa Monica Press.
The elder Furillo was a sportswriter, sports columnist and broadcaster who worked in the Southern California market for nearly 60 years. The book focuses on his coverage of the L.A. sports scene for the 15 years from 1959 through 1974, when he wrote a popular column for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner called "The Steam Room." The book captures the period of some of the region's great sports moments such as three of the Dodgers' World Series titles, the heartbreak of the Los Angeles Lakers before they finally broke through for a championship, as well as some of the greatest periods of the USC football and UCLA basketball programs. "The Steamer" details the early years of the American Football League before its merger with the established National Football League, the beginnings of Muhammad Ali's career, the expansion seasons of the Los Angeles Angels, head coach George Allen's tenure with the Los Angeles Rams, the city's dynamic fight game and its colorful horse racing scene as told from the point of view of a lifelong horse player.
Andy Furillo writes that his father's perspective was shaped through the incredible access to stars of the era such as Sandy Koufax, Bill Shoemaker, and Wilt Chamberlain, as well as coaches like John Wooden of UCLA, John McKay of USC, Allen, and national figures such as Woody Hayes, Paul "Bear" Bryant, Paul Brown, and George Halas. He once covered a lightweight championship fight from the corners of one of the participants. His whimsical style always cast his subjects on a human scale while at the same time capturing the greatness of their achievements.
"Bud Furillo was the heart of the media industry that was bringing sports to the people of this great city," former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda says in the book’s foreword. "You could actually say that I loved Bud Furillo very much."
Andy Furillo has been a newspaperman for more than 40 years, and for the last 14 months has written a sports column for the Sacramento Bee. Before that, he focused on criminal justice reporting for 35 years at papers such as the Bee, the San Francisco Examiner, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and the Los Angeles Times. He also worked at papers in Downey, Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Santa Maria. He is a 1978 graduate of UC Santa Barbara.