Bill Veeck Would Be Proud
Bill Veeck was an old-school baseball team owner. At one time or another he owned the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns, and the Chicago White Sox. Professional sports back in the day weren’t the enormous cash cows they are now. The owners had more in common with carnies than businessmen. Veeck’s father was a sportswriter who used to pillory the owner of the Cubs over their management of the team. The owner of the team told him that if he thought he could do a better job, put up or shut up, and made him the president of the club. Veeck junior got hired to sell popcorn in the stands, and began his career in baseball from the very bottom. He had ideas, back when ideas were needed to even half-fill the stands.
It was his idea to plant ivy on the walls of Wrigley Field. He installed a movable outfield walls that could be pushed in and out depending on how many long-ball hitters were on the visiting team. He hired a clown to coach third base. He was the first owner to field an integrated team in the American League, which also allowed him to sign the oldest rookie ever in the major leagues (Satchel Paige). He sent a 3′ – 7″ pinch hitter to the plate with the number “1/8” on his uniform, who walked on four pitches because his strike zone was the size of a shot glass. He shot off fireworks after home runs, which is common now. He put player names on the uniforms for the first time. In a final, glorious moment, he sponsored Disco Demolition Night between doubleheader games, which resulted in a riot at Comiskey Park and a forfeited game to the visiting team. Disco Sucks!
He was a Marine, and lost his leg in WW II in an artillery accident. He had a wooden leg, with holes cut in it to use as an ashtray.
Bill Veeck smiles down from heaven, and says let the security guards dance.