Veeck -- As in Wreck

The autobiography of Bill Veeck with Ed Linn

New York: G.P. Putnam's Son's, 1962
Anyone interested in the history of baseball should get ahold of Veeck as in Wreck, the autobiography of Bill Veeck, who owned the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox in good times and bad. (People remember Eddie Gaedel's Browns, but Veeck owned the last World Champion in Cleveland and the last pennant winner in Chicago.)

The most interesting part, for me, was about Veeck's first team, the minor league Milwaukee Brewers (June 1941). The franchise was almost defunct when he got there, and the story of how Veeck pumped life back into it is enlightening. His first act as owner was to hire 100 cleaning women, turn on the ballpark lights, and spend all night scrubbing the place. By morning he had attracted a curious crowd and a bunch of newspaper photographers. Free publicity! Veeck on the art of presenting trophies:

...Rudie dug up a big four-foot cup, a gorgeous thing, to present to Charlie Grimm while we were honoring him for something or other shortly after we took over. Charlie was quite pleased with it until we needed a cup to honor Mickey Heath, our radio announcer... Rudie had a new plate attached, with suitable inscription, and we gave the cup to Mickey. He didn't keep it long either. Every time we felt the need to honor a player, Rudie would change the inscription plate. -- DN

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