From SABR member Matt Aber at Seamheads.com on January 17, 2012:
Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson by Jonathan Eig, is a book that really got the runners in my head going like a successful hit and run play coming together, asking one of the “what if” questions that could have taken a sport and a franchise in a revolutionary, and maybe even an evolutionary, direction in that no one knows what this could have lead to for the game and society.
Living right outside of Philadelphia, one of my favorite parts of the book was when the legendary owner, and one of the true mavericks of the game, Bill Veeck, decided he was going to buy the pathetic Philadelphia Phillies in 1943 and integrate the team, and then turn the team loose on baseball in 1944. I loved seeing this idea. According to Veeck, he had planned to acquire Satchel Paige, Roy Campanella, Luke Easter and Monte Irvin to name a few and dive right into making the team better as opposed to the more measured process that Branch Rickey would adopt years later. Veeck supposedly visited Commissioner Landis to tell him what he had planned, along with his offer to buy the Phillies, and Veeck believed he had a deal in place when he left their meeting. The next day Veeck found out that Landis decided to have the National League take control of the Phillies themselves, and soon after sold the Phillies to a lumber dealer. Oh, and the amount the Phillies went for? About half the price Veeck supposedly offered to buy them for. Not even money at that time could tempt baseball to do what was right for the game. This piece of the story, though, was what got me thinking—can you imagine what that team would have been like had Veeck pulled off that purchase?
Read the full article here: http://seamheads.com/2012/01/17/integration-and-what-if-bill-veeck-did-buy-the-phillies-in-1943/
Originally published: January 17, 2012. Last Updated: January 17, 2012.