Relying on primary sources, including more than a hundred interviews, Paul Dickson has crafted a richly detailed portrait of an American original: baseball impresario and innovator, independent spirit and unflinching advocate of racial equality, Bill Veeck.
Veeck (1914–1986) was born into baseball. His sportswriter father became president of the Chicago Cubs, and Bill later worked for owner Phil Wrigley, rebuilding Wrigley Field to achieve the famed ambience that exists today. In his late twenties, he bought into his first team, the American Association Milwaukee Brewers. As World War II intensified, Veeck volunteered for combat duty, enduring a leg injury that led to a lifetime of amputations and silent suffering. On returning, he bought the Cleveland Indians in 1946—the first of four midwestern teams he would own, preceding the hapless St. Louis Browns (1951–53) and the Chicago White Sox (twice, 1959–61 and 1975–81).
Though foiled in an earlier plan to bring Negro League players to the majors, in the summer of 1947, Veeck integrated his team on field and off, signing Larry Doby, the American League’s first black player, and hiring the first black public relations officer, trainer, and scout. A year later, he signed the legendary black pitcher Satchel Paige, who helped win the 1948 World Series—Cleveland’s last championship to this day. His promotional genius was second to none, endearing him to fans in every city, while his feel for the game led him to propose innovations way ahead of their time. Veeck’s deep sense of fairness helped usher in free agency, breaking the stranglehold owners had on players; indeed, he was the only owner to testify in support of Curt Flood during his landmark reserve clause challenge.
Bill Veeck brings fully to life a transformational, visionary figure who spent a lifetime challenging baseball’s and society’s well-entrenched status quo. It is essential reading for any fan and anyone with a fascination for twentieth-century America.
About Paul Dickson
Paul Dickson is the author of several classic baseball books, including The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, The Unwritten Rules of Baseball, The Hidden Language of Baseball, and The Joy of Keeping Score. He is also the author of the classic narrative history Sputnik: The Shock of the Century, and the co-author of the acclaimed The Bonus Army: An American Epic. He lives in Garrett Park, Maryland.
Any man who wanted to be included on Richard Nixon’s enemies list is worthy of a searching biography—and Paul Dickson has been kind ehough to do that for us with his compelling portrait of the unregenerate Bill Veeck.”—Ray Robinson, author of Iron Horse: Lou Gehrig In His Time
“BILL VEECK, in the language of the subject, is a homerun—a bases clearer. The story of the remarkable full-life of this pioneering baseball character is told with the steadiness, detail and flare that we have come to expect from Paul Dickson, the premier all-star writer and reporter. The book is great fun—much like being in the bleachers during a day game.”—Jim Lehrer
“Bill Veeck didn’t want to break rules, he insisted, just “test their elasticity.” He wasn’t talking only about baseball. The master showman, who famously sent a three-foot-seven-inch batter to the plate, also desegregated the American League and proudly marched in the funeral procession for Dr. Martin Luther King—on his peg leg and without crutches. BILL VEECK revisits a golden age for baseball, a pivotal time for America and some hilarious moments in the life of a man who helped to change both.”—Clarence Page, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, Chicago Tribune
Book review: ‘Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick’
The Los Angeles Times Book Review – April 1, 2012 (Excerpt)
I find my pass, pink and laminated, “1980 White Sox Cordially Invite You to the Bards Room.” My mind races, touches all the bases — Bill Veeck, peg leg, craggy kisser, steel-wool hair, sans necktie (as always), quaffing beers, spinning yarns, making the hours fly by, enthralling and illuminating us in his postgame sanctuary while outside his ballpark is dark.
The “exploding scoreboard” (his creation), its fireworks punctuating every Sox home run at home, is quiet for the night. The fans’ sing-along of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (his idea) with Harry Caray off-key and organist Nancy Faust on key, has turned yet another typical day at the office into a party.
Veeck as in Shrek, that’s him. Only no ogre was he. Quite the contrary — his mirth, his showmanship, his bonhomie made those of us lucky enough to have known Bill Veeck somewhat possessive of him, this man of the people who owned a number of Major League Baseball clubs while keeping his home number listed in the telephone book. Oh, how captivated we were by the man, we scribes, we apostles — with nearly as much gusto as that of so many of Veeck’s fellow owners who hated the same man, resenting his radical or even sometimes ridiculous ways. [Read the full article...]
“Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick” by Paul Dickson
The Washington Post Book Review – July 21, 2012 (Excerpt)
Bill Veeck is best remembered for one moment in his colorful — and often courageous — career as a baseball executive. In August 1951, while he was running the hapless St. Louis Browns, Veeck sent 3-foot-7-inch Eddie Gaedelup to pinch-hit in the second game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers. It was a cheap stunt, designed to generate publicity for the beer company that sponsored the Browns, and it branded Veeck as a clownish hustler who debased the game. He even speculated that the incident would be enshrined on his tombstone, although with typical wit he hoped the inscription would read, “He helped the little man.”
But as Paul Dickson, a writer living in Garrett Park, Md., shows in this lively and informative biography, Veeck should be remembered more for Larry Doby than Eddie Gaedel. Eleven weeks after Jackie Robinson integrated baseball 65 years ago with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Veeck signed Doby for the Cleveland Indians and breached the color barrier in the American League. “Signing Doby was Veeck’s first defining moment as a major-league owner,” writes Dickson. “It gave him a voice as a progressive and social critic.” [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
FrogenYozurt.com may generate ad income and accept advertising/ads and links. Paid entries are marked as “Paid Articles.” Entries describing a product (book reviews, etc.) may contain descriptions provided by the manufacturer or other sources (Amazon.Com, etc.).
All entries marked as "Satire" may refer to actual persons or events, however, the content is of a satirical nature based on the writers' personal views and should not be taken seriously. All other entries reflect personal opinions on various topics.
All content on this website has been posted under the impression that they do not infringe any copyrights. However, if this site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner, we believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Should you suspect a copyright infringement or any other legal issues with posts on this website, please contact the editor through the contact form as indicated on the top navigation bar, and we will remove the post immediately. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.