Seamheads: Celebrating Bill Veeck Day

From SABR member Ted Leavengood at on April 24, 2012, on SABR member Paul Dickson’s new book, Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick:

Today is Bill Veeck Day. It is the day that Paul Dickson’s biography of Bill Veeck is officially released, the day “Sport Shirt Bill” is back with us once again. Like a bad penny, he has returned. It is something he himself said often, as he bounced between Wrigley Field and Comiskey, forever part of the Chicago scene.

Or it could be Cleveland where he won his first World Series behind Lary Doby, or St. Louis where he met his match with the Browns. Or better yet, it could be the Eastern Shore, from which Veeck stalked the Washington Senators and Baltimore Orioles like the spurned lover he was. But wherever he turned up, he was out in the bleachers, or on the concourse, meeting the fans, mixing it up. And Paul Dickson says that is the real reason the owners hated him. Because they hated seeing pictures of him in the bleachers, sitting there with the regular guys having a beer.

There are so many wonderful stories in Paul Dickson’s biography of Veeck. The big ones like Eddie Gaedel, Minnie Minoso and the Go-Go Sox, and the small ones like planting the ivy at Wrigley Field in his first real job in baseball in 1937. But it is all there, warts and all. Paul Dickson doesn’t miss a beat, down or otherwise.

The most fascinating stories revolve around Veeck’s role in integrating the American League. Dickson nails it. It was the first time that Bill Veeck asserted himself center stage in the baseball world. Paul Dickson sets up that story by including the 1943 winter baseball meetings where Commissioner Landis and the major league owners met with Paul Robeson and “a group of black publishers and editors” who wished to “advocate for the entry of black’s into baseball.”

Read the full article here:

Buy the book: Paul Dickson’s Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick can be purchased at the SABR Bookstore

Originally published: April 24, 2012. Last Updated: April 24, 2012.