Angels aficionado pens new book

Joe Haakenson grew up a Los Angeles Dodgers fan. His allegiance was to Dodger Blue.

At the time, he knew of but didn't closely follow that other Major League Baseball team one county away in Orange County. Now he knows plenty about that organization.

Working as a writer with the Los Angeles News Group in the late 1980s, Haakenson ventured into rivalry territory when he took on the role of beat writer for the then-California Angels, a team that would later be known as the Anaheim Angels and then the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He held that stint twice, writing about all things Halos between 1989-2002 and again during the 2005 season.

Last year, Haakenson took the knowledge he had collected during his time covering the team, added months of research, and penned the book "100 Things Angels Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die." One hundred short stories that delve into the history and happenings of the organization make up the 250-page book.

Haakenson, now 50, was covering the Angels when the organization won its only World Series championship in 2002.

"It was fun working on the project," he said. "Going over my old notes and stories, and also going into the history of the Angels, took me back to the players who I covered all those years ago."

Haakenson said he had six months to complete the book, a project he started on March 1, 2012. He finished three days ahead of the Sept. 1 deadline.

His book, published through Triumph Books, was released April 1.

Its foreword was written by Angels great Tim Salmon.

Haakenson said the process of doing research for the book and going over stories that he wrote during his time as an Angels beat writer led him to new discoveries.

"I hope that readers will learn things about the Angels that they didn't already know — even the most fanatic Angels fans," he said. "Even I, who has been around the team for so much of the past 20-plus years, learned new things about the history of the club.

"For me, and maybe fans my age and younger, there are great stories about the teams from the 1960s and '70s that have been somewhat forgotten over time."

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