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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Veeck Family Business: Make 'Em Laugh

Illustration for article titled The Veeck Family Business: Make Em Laugh

Last month, Michael MacCambridge was good enough to include Tom Boswell's 1981 Inside Sports profile of Bill Veeck to Grantland's stellar "Director's Cut" series.

Here's Boz:

You may notice his wooden leg first, but it's his face that you remember. It's a wreck, as in Veeck. Here is a man with the gift of radiant homeliness.

"How can you be a sage if you're pretty?" rumbles Bill Veeck, with a rhinocerine laugh. "You can't get your wizard papers without wrinkles."

For thirty-five years, with various hiatuses for exile or illness, Veeck has been both baseball's most intellectual sage and its most gleefully vulgar wizard.

Though he has retired now — at sixty-seven, he no longer has the health of [sic] wealth to compete as he would wish — Veeck is still looked upon by baseball people with affectionate perplexity. The game would like to trundle him off to a safe corner as a sort of gadfly Long John Silver who built exploding scoreboards and sent a midget to bat.


And while we're talking family business, dig Pat Jordan's Garden & Gun 2012 profile of Bill's son, Mike: "The Funniest Man in Baseball."

Course if you want more on Big Poppa you must start with Veeck as in Wreck, so ably co-written by Ed Linn. Paul Dickson's recent book, Bill Veeck: Baseball's Greatest Maverick is good, too.


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