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Must-click link: Tim Marchman on Bill Veeck

Jun 10, 2011, 2:45 PM EDT

Bill Veeck

Over at Baseball Prospectus today, Tim Marchman writes a piece about Bill Veeck that isn’t like any piece you’ve read about Bill Veeck. It’s partially about Chicago (where Marchman lives and Veeck lived) but mostly about Veeck’s forays into way ahead-of-its-time baseball television.

One of the things he did was a pilot for a show called “Bill Veeck’s Front Office,” which was filmed in 1951. The premise: Veeck talking about baseball. That’s pretty much it. Here’s the transcript of Veeck’s introduction:

“I suppose I should introduce myself,” he says. “My name’s Veeck, Bill Veeck, and I’m figuring on being here every evening to run over the ball scores and to give you a little information that you may or may not have noticed during the ballgame, something possibly that the papers have missed, or your radio commentator. Of course I, being very egotistical, believe I’m eminently qualified to do this thing, because I’ve been in baseball all my life.

Except for the phrase “because I’ve been around baseball all my life,” it pretty much describes my And That Happened features.  Although I’d bet anything that Veeck’s version would be way better. If I had some sort of affiliation with a sports broadcast network looking to expand its content base, I’d propose that they do something like that, complete with Veeck’s idea of having an open bar going while the baseball chatter ensues. Oh well, what can you do?

Marchman goes on to describe that and other media ventures by Veeck, with links to various clips of them over at mediaburn.org, where they live.  But really, you should read Marchman’s piece before simply watching the clips, because he gives it the background and flavor that’ll make it way more worthwhile.

  1. halladaysbicepts - Jun 10, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Bill Veeck was a clown. This is the same guy that brought in a midget to play in MLB in the 1940′s, as well as other stupid stunts.

    This man was a disgrace to the game of baseball.

    • dodger88 - Jun 10, 2011 at 3:24 PM

      Don’t hold back, tell us what you really think.

      • halladaysbicepts - Jun 10, 2011 at 3:30 PM

        Seriously, he brought in a 3 foot tall midget to play in a game. The pitcher threw 4 straight balls because he couldn’t throw the ball low enough for the pitch to be a strike.

        In another instance, Veeck allowed the fans to manage the game by giving them signs to hold up to tell the manager what to do.

        I don’t think this is a guy that should be given any praise.

      • spudchukar - Jun 10, 2011 at 3:52 PM

        His name was Eddie Gaddel(sp?).

      • halladaysbicepts - Jun 10, 2011 at 3:57 PM

        Close enough spelling. The midget’s name was Eddie Gaedel.

        Another thing that the scumbag Bill Veeck did was that he told the midget that if he tried to swing at a pitch, that he had a rifleman somewhere in the stadium and would shoot him if he swinged. They said that the midget was so scared that he was trembling at the plate.

    • tmohr - Jun 10, 2011 at 3:30 PM

      Disgrace? You use that word, but I don’t think you understand its meaning.

      • halladaysbicepts - Jun 10, 2011 at 3:33 PM

        Bringing in a 3 foot midget to play the great game of baseball is not a disgrace? The man did all he could to make a mockery of the game.

        Read about him sometime and the stunts he pulled. Maybe then you’ll understand.

      • tmohr - Jun 10, 2011 at 5:42 PM

        Son, I’m quite familiar with Mr. Veeck’s legacy. Since when was there a “must be this tall” sign near home plate?

        And yet, he was voted into the HoF despite the views of your ilk.

    • royalsfaninfargo - Jun 10, 2011 at 3:33 PM

      That midget’s grand-nephew was drafted by the Padres in the 6th round. He is 6’4. Wonder where those genes came from?

      • halladaysbicepts - Jun 10, 2011 at 3:36 PM

        When? This year? Do you recall his name?

      • jwbiii - Jun 10, 2011 at 3:41 PM

        Kyle Gaedele, Rays’ 32nd round pick, OF, IL high schooler.

      • jwbiii - Jun 10, 2011 at 4:17 PM

        Crap. That was in 2008. Here’s in interview with him.

    • jwbiii - Jun 10, 2011 at 3:39 PM

      Watch your mouth. Mary Frances just might come kick your ass.

      • royalsfaninfargo - Jun 10, 2011 at 4:09 PM

        Not to be a stickler but he was drafted in the 6th round out of Valparasio.

        http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jun/07/eddie-gaedels-great-nephew-drafted-padres/

      • jwbiii - Jun 10, 2011 at 4:18 PM

        Especially bad since I have friends who teach there. . .

  2. bigxrob - Jun 10, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    Actually Mr. Bicepts, I think Bill Veeck understood that baseball was entertainment, not the all important, life or death undertaking you make it out to be.
    The fact that he looked outside the box for ways to entertain and put people in the seats, doesn’t make him a discrace. Just different than other owners.

    • halladaysbicepts - Jun 10, 2011 at 4:00 PM

      You see it different. I don’t view baseball as just purely entertainment. There is a certain sanctity about things that you don’t mess with.

      WWF is purely entertainment. This is something I would expect them to do. Not a baseball owner.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jun 10, 2011 at 4:41 PM

        Hey bicepts,
        Did you see the Phillies line-up for the game tonight? They switched Victornio and Polanco. I always thought they played better with Rollins and Victorino going 1-2…and now you have a guy who can hit for average at least protecting Howard.

  3. jwbiii - Jun 10, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Indians fans might think their first championship in 28 years was a good thing.
    White Sox fans might think their first pennant in 40 years was a good thing.
    Cubs fans think the ivy in Wrigley Field is a good thing.
    Fans of both Chicago teams think their scoreboards are good things.
    Many baseball fans think singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” is a good thing.

    • royalsfaninfargo - Jun 10, 2011 at 4:37 PM

      Sorry “Cepts” i think he has you there.

  4. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Jun 10, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    “Veeck as in Wreck” is one of the great sports autobiographies. A wonderful read and it shows what the game used to be about.

  5. gogigantos - Jun 11, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    without a doubt, one of the best biogrphies
    yo, little t, careful disparaging one the greats of the game
    a man so far ahead of his time that his cig butts went into his hollow leg
    you know what the knot hole gang was?
    not the crew outside watching through a hole, but the gang smart or quick enough to get into the game free,, Veeck loved those kids and taught first hand in the bleachers,, such an old school should be revered and respected without question and with serious reexamination,,,, not just an elder, Veeck is a founding father
    cig butts in a hollow leg, the man is forever genius,,

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