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MLB – 1986 – CBS Sports Special Feature – Tribute To Bill Veeck – With Brent Musburger

DOG ASIDE:

William Louis Veeck Jr. (February 9, 1914 – January 2, 1986) known asSport Shirt was an American Major League Baseball franchise owner and promoter….who was at various times the owner of the Cleveland Indians….St. Louis Browns….and Chicago White Sox.  As owner and team president of the Indians in 1947….Veeck signed Larry Doby….thus beginning the integration of the American League….and the following year won a World Series title as Cleveland’s owner/president.  

Veeck was the last owner to purchase a baseball franchise without an independent fortune….and is responsible for many innovations and contributions to baseball…..one of which is this lil ole chiweenie Sportsphile’s favorites….when during this last run as Chicago White Sox owner… Veeck decided to have announcer Harry Caray sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh-inning stretch. Veeck asked Caray to sing for the entire park….but Harry refused….to which Veeck replied that he already had a recording….so Caray would be heard either way….when Caray reluctantly agreed to sing it live….while accompanied by White Sox organist Nancy Faust…..and from this moment forward….Harry Carey went on to become famous for singing the tune….while continuing to do so at Wrigley Field after becoming the broadcaster of the Chicago Cubs.  In another one of Veeck’s contributions to baseball was when in Milwaukee, he took a unique approach to promotions….hiring Max Patkin, the “Clown Prince of Baseball”, as a coach. Patkin’s appearance in the coaching box delighted fans and infuriated the front office of the American League.  Then there was the time in Chicago….when he signed Eddie Gaedel….who stood 3 feet 7 inches tall and is the shortest person to appear in a Major League Baseball game….when Veeck sent Gaedel to pinch hit in the bottom of the first of the game…..and while wearing “1/8” as his uniform number….Gaedel was walked on four straight pitches and then was pulled for a pinch runner. 

Bill Veeck was a one-of-a-kind MLB owner…..who knew baseball well enough…..but knew promotion even better…..as he left an indelible influence and affect on the game of baseball…..who was dearly loved by his own fans….but generally disliked by all other teams….when finding it hard to financially compete with the really rich owners….Veeck retired after the 1980 Chicago White Sox season. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.

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