Bill Veeck owned three different Major League clubs through the years and was known for various publicity stunts, including the infamous “Disco Demolition Night” in 1979. Paul Dickson recently wrote Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick, and he joined Bill Littlefield this week to discuss it.
Bill’s Thoughts on Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick
As a serial owner of Major League Baseball teams, Bill Veeck did a lot of things that irked his fellow owners.
He hired Satchel Paige, whom those fellow owners regarded as a two-legged publicity stunt until Paige won a bunch of games, saved some others, and helped lead the Cleveland Indians to the 1948 pennant.
Veeck early and often decried the reserve clause as not only illegal and immoral but bad for business. Veeck liked the idea of shared revenue, too, which provoked Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey to refer to Veeck as “that damned socialist.”
He sat in the bleachers, because he enjoyed the company of the fans and found the idea of an “owner’s box” distasteful.
Bill Veeck’s life was a series of fascinating adventures punctuated by lots of leg surgery and terrible pain which he rarely acknowledged. He was a smart, energetic, funny, creative fellow. He never took himself too seriously, but he was serious about advancing the cause of the game he loved, and he did it not only as an owner, but as the re-designer of Wrigley Field and as an enthusiastic fan when he was between opportunities to own a club.
Paul Dickson’s biography of Bill Veeck is thorough, entertaining, and superb.