William's Top Matches
About William Louis Veeck, Sr.
Excerpts from "Veeck - As In Wreck", by Bill Veeck, Jr, his son:
My father was a completely self-educated man. He was born in Booneville, Indiana, in 1877, the son of a wagon builder, and went to work himself after only four years of schooling. My mother, Grace DeForest, was his childhood sweetheart. He first became a working newspaperman with the Louisville Courier-Journal. At the age of twenty-five, he came to Chicago to work for the Chicago Inter Ocean, a newspaper that folder a year later. With its collapse, he moved to Hearst's Chicago American as a reporter and rewrite man. Eventually, an opening developed on the sports desk and my father, a good baseball man and a close friend of the paper's great sportswriter, Ring Lardner, took over the newpaper's stock sports byline, Bill Bailey.
...we moved to Hinsdale, a suburb (of Chicago)...
It was as Bill Bailey that my daddy wrote the series that brought him to the attention of William Wrigley, who had only recently bought control of the club. Mr Wrigley invited him to his home for dinner and in the course of the subsequent discussion and dissection, told him, "All right, if you're so smart why don't you come and do it?" And so he did.
Unlike me, my father was far too dignified a man to pull any promotional stunts. He was a man of imagination, though, and easily the greatest innovator of his time. It was my father who first brought Ladies’ Day to the big leagues. He was also the first to broadcast his ball games, and he did it in the face of furious protests from every other team in the league. In 1922, he formally proposed a round robin of inter-league games at the halfway point in the season, an idea so progressive that when I next suggested it, in 1949, it was still considered visionary by the forward-looking fossils who run the game.
…it was William Veeck who fought the attempts to retain the weak three-man governing Commission, after the Black Sox scandal of 1919, and not only insisted upon a single Commissioner with absolute powers but nominated Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, a close personal friend, as the logical choice.
His system certainly worked for him, with or without promotion. His Cubs were the first team to ever draw more than a million people during a season, and he set a Chicago attendance record that lasted until we broke it with the White Sox in 1960.