Bill Veeck: Baseball's Greatest Maverick
Relying on primary sources, including more than a hundred interviews, Paul Dickson has crafted a richly detailed portrait of an American original: baseball impresario and innovator, independent spirit and unflinching advocate of racial equality, Bill Veeck. Veeck (1914 1986) was born into baseball. His sportswriter father became president of the Chicago Cubs, and Bill later worked for owner Phil Wrigley, rebuilding Wrigley Field to achieve the famed ambience that exists today. In his late twenties, he bought into his first team, the American Association Milwaukee Brewers. As World War II intensified, Veeck volunteered for combat duty, enduring a leg injury that led to a lifetime of amputations and silent suffering. On returning, he bought the Cleveland Indians in 1946 the first of four midwestern teams he would own, preceding the hapless St. Louis Browns (1951 53) and the Chicago White Sox (twice, 1959 61 and 1975 81). Though foiled in an earlier plan to bring Negro League players to the majors, in the summer of 1947, Veeck integrated his team on field and off, signing Larry Doby, the American League s first black player, and hiring the first black public relations officer, trainer, and scout. A year later, he signed the legendary black pitcher Satchel Paige, who helped win the 1948 World Series Cleveland s last championship to this day. His promotional genius was second to none, endearing him to fans in every city, while his feel for the game led him to propose innovations way ahead of their time. Veeck s deep sense of fairness helped usher in free agency, breaking the stranglehold owners had on players; indeed, he was the only owner to testify in support of Curt Flood during his landmark reserve clause challenge. Bill Veeck brings fully to life a transformational, visionary figure who spent a lifetime challenging baseball s and society s well-entrenched status quo. It is essential reading for any fan and anyone with a fascination for twentieth-century America.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - joeldinda - LibraryThing
An absolutely terrific biography, obviously well researched and equally well written. Although this book is a favorable portrait, it clearly shows the man's flaws. Highly recommended, though I'm sure ... Read full review
BILL VEECK: Baseball's Greatest MaverickUser Review - Kirkus
Dickson (The Unwritten Rules of Baseball, 2009, etc.) delivers an engaging biography of Bill Veeck (1914-1986), an innovative, irascible and progressive gadfly within the staid world of baseball.For ... Read full review