Bill Veeck: Baseballs Greatest Maverick

Bill Veeck: Baseballs Greatest Maverick

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by Paul Dickson
     
 

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William Louis "Bill" Veeck, Jr. (1914-1986) is legendary in many ways-baseball impresario and innovator, independent spirit, champion of civil rights in a time of great change. Paul Dickson has written the first full biography of this towering figure, in the process rewriting many aspects of his life and bringing alive the history of Americas pastime. In his late 20s,

Overview

William Louis "Bill" Veeck, Jr. (1914-1986) is legendary in many ways-baseball impresario and innovator, independent spirit, champion of civil rights in a time of great change. Paul Dickson has written the first full biography of this towering figure, in the process rewriting many aspects of his life and bringing alive the history of Americas pastime. In his late 20s, Veeck bought into his first team, the American Association Milwaukee Brewers. After serving and losing a leg in WWII, he bought the Cleveland Indians in 1946, and a year later broke the color barrier in the American League by signing Larry Doby, a few months after Jackie Robinson-showing the deep commitment he held to integration and equal rights. Cleveland won the World Series in 1948, but Veeck sold the team for financial reasons the next year. He bought a majority of the St. Louis Browns in 1951, sold it three years later, then returned in 1959 to buy the other Chicago team, the White Sox, winning the American League pennant his first year. Ill health led him to sell two years later, only to gain ownership again, 1975-1981. Veecks promotional spirit-the likes of clown prince Max Patkin and midget Eddie Gaedel are inextricably connected with him-and passion endeared him to fans, while his feel for the game led him to propose innovations way ahead of their time, and his deep sense of morality not only integrated the sport but helped usher in the free agency that broke the stranglehold owners had on players. (Veeck was the only owner to testify in support of Curt Flood during his landmark free agency case). Bill Veeck: Baseballs Greatest Maverick is a deeply insightful, powerful biography of a fascinating figure. It will take its place beside the recent bestselling biographies of Satchel Paige and Mickey Mantle, and will be the baseball book of the season in Spring 2012.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
…lively and informative…Dickson deftly captures this complex character…
—Steven V. Roberts
Kirkus Reviews
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 six decades, from the 1930s to the '80s, wherever baseball was played, talked about or voted on, Veeck was there. Born into baseball--his father had been president of the Chicago Cubs--Veeck would go on to own and run four baseball teams. In each case, he turned moribund franchises into fan favorites through promotions ranging from ingenious to silly, from exploding scoreboards to having a little person (a midget) take an at-bat--and much, much more. But he also had a keen eye for talent and produced winning teams--his Cleveland Indians won the World Series in 1948. Color was no barrier to Veeck, as he signed the first black player in the American League, Larry Doby, who would later become the second black manager in the big leagues. Off the field, he was a lifelong champion of civil rights and of political causes he thought right; he opposed the Vietnam War. All of this brought him fan adulation but fellow owners' enmity, as his irreverent insistence that baseball might be fun seemed to threaten the sanctity of the game. Dickson suggests his progressive stance on race might have been the greater irritant: In 1950, the only black players in the American League were on Veeck's Indians. Ever fast with a quip, Veeck returned the fire, once saying, "I've always felt that when most owners stick their heads in the sand, their brains are still showing." Dickson expertly evokes Veeck's populist, garrulous public persona, while at the same time showing the private pain he endured as a World War II injury caused him to have countless amputations of portions of his right leg, leading to deterioration and ruin of the rest of his body, but not his spirit. Veeck is not as well remembered as he should be. Dickson's book is a skillful corrective.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802778314
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
04/24/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
485,431
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Paul Dickson is the author of several classic baseball books, including The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, The Unwritten Rules of Baseball, The Hidden Language of Baseball, and The Joy of Keeping Score. He is also the author of the classic narrative history Sputnik: The Shock of the Century, and the co-author of the acclaimed The Bonus Army: An American Epic. He lives in Garrett Park, Maryland.
Paul Dickson is the author of more than forty books, including The Joy of Keeping Score, The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, Baseballs Greatest Quotations, and Baseball: The Presidents Game. In addition to baseball, his specialties include Americana and language. He lives in Garrett Park, Maryland.

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The Bill Veeck: Baseball's Greatest Maverick 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great bio of a true innovator and renaissance man!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book, but my Nook had no photos. Im not sure if this is a Nook issue or a publisher issue. If this is a Nook issue I am going to consider another ereader. Any suggestions?? Amazing read for those looking for a good baseball book
galadad More than 1 year ago
Dickson does an excellent job of capturing Veeck in all his flavors, including an empathic view of the wizard from behind the curtain, the man we never knew. Not only is it a great story, but a fascinating look at a significant chunk of baseball history. It sheds new light on the era that saw the end of baseball's racial barriers. It should be required reading for suffering Cleveland sports fans who, like me, are too young to have been there the last time the Tribe won the series, that's not to take anything away from the insight fans in Milwaukee, St. Louis and Chicago will gain. More generally, if you are a fan of great biographies, read this book!
EdgewoodFK More than 1 year ago
enjoyed the book very much. outstanding. buy it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago