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Bill Veeck: Baseball's Greatest Maverick
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Bill Veeck: Baseball's Greatest Maverick

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  148 ratings  ·  27 reviews

Relying on primary sources, including more than a hundred interviews, Paul Dickson has crafted a richly detailed portrait of an American original: baseball impresario and innovator, independent spirit and unflinching advocate of racial equality, Bill Veeck.

Veeck (1914–1986) was born into baseball. His sportswriter father became president of the Chicago Cubs, and Bill later
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published April 24th 2012 by Walker & Company (first published March 27th 2012)
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In opening his 1962 autobiography, Veeck—as in Wreck, with a chapter on midget Eddie Gaedel, longtime baseball owner and showman Bill Veeck concedes straight off that sending the pint-size actor to the plate as a St. Louis Brown would go down as his legacy.

"I have done a few other things in baseball, you know," Veeck writes. "I've won pennants and finished dead last; I've set attendance records and been close to bankruptcy . . . But no one has to tell me that if I returned to baseball tomorrow,
Note: This book is based on a galley copy that I received via The final draft of the book will be released on April 24th.

If you take a trip to a major league ball park today or if you grab a schedule and look at the various "nights" that feature freebes for the kids or any fan, or if you listen to the game on the radio (or these days, on an iPad you might be using now to read this review); or if you are grateful for the fact that men like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson
Dave DiGrazie
Baseball lovers should have this book as part of their reference library. Paul Dickson shows how Bill Veeck's life touched so many others, including some of the biggest luminaries who played, managed, and ran the game over nearly five decades. If a maverick is a principled person who is unafraid to stand by their principles even when it means standing well outside conventional or even accepted thought, then Bill Veeck was certainly one of baseball's greatest mavericks over the years. Dickson tre ...more
Linda Nichols
Hmmm -- I think, if I'm ever asked again what person, living or dead, I would most like to meet, this guy may be the one. He sounds like a fun guy to be with, and intelligent, too. The description reminds me of my husband, a guy who can converse on any subject. He read voraciously, 50 books at a time, 6-12 pages from each, then on to another book. I can't do that; I read one at a time. And his love of baseball is probably unsurpassed by anyone. In WWII, he went to war as a private in the Marines ...more
Bill Veeck was a rarity among baseball owners. He espoused liberal politics, opposed the reserve clause, answered phone calls directly from fans, and generally thumbed his nose at the baseball establishment, sending midgets to bat, and generally being a pain in the ass toward the New York Yankees. For someone who lived not that long ago (passing away in 1985), historians already are trying to discern what is true and what is legendary about his life.

Paul Dickson, a prolific author, has tried to
Maurice J
I loved this book, the best biography of Veeck yet. He is a personal hero of mine because of what he did for baseball fans and players. The owners and their underling commissioners despised Veeck because he loved the game and made it fun. He also treated his players with respect.

Unlike Branch Rickey who signed Jackie Robinson without purchasing Robinson's contract from the owner of the Negro League's Kansas City Monarchs, Veeck bought the contract for Larry Doby, the first African-American in th
Andy Shuping
ARC provided by NetGalley

Bill Veeck. For baseball fans the name draws to mind instantly the ill fated Disco Night and Eddie Gaedel, the shortest player to ever bat in a MLB game. But there is so much more to the story and a debt that baseball fans the world over owe to Bill Veeck. He was so much more than baseball. He was an innovator, a free spirit, and an advocate for racial equality in a time when many baseball owners wanted nothing to do with it.

Relying on primary documents and more than a 1
Dec 03, 2012 Spiros rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who appreciates greatness of spirit
At Bill Veeck's induction ceremony in 1991 his widow, Mary Frances Veeck, delivered the following speech: "Life was not wasted on Bill Veeck. He was born with a great joy of living, tremendous energy, integrity. He was curious, imaginative, creative, spontaneous, stubborn, intelligent, opinionated, witty. He was such fun to be around, a pied piper. He was magic. He was a 'pro'! All of these things made him the baseball man we remember today."
From 1947 through 1964, a span of 18 years, the Yankee
Found this to be an important read about the backroom boiler operations of Baseball. Veeck was certainly a maverick in the baseball world and appeared to be a sincere human being while at the same time being a brilliant business person. These characteristics are difficult to infuse in one personality in the same lifetime.

The appreciated comment on this book is that there were a lot of statistics and stories which seemed to be boring; but these added credence to the story for someone who ate/dra
Jul 28, 2013 Linda rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: bnb
I've always said that I am not a fan of non-fiction, though in recent years I have been introduced to some non-fiction that I have actually enjoyed. This book takes me back to the "I don't like non-fiction" statement. Turns out that I like the "new" non-fiction that uses fiction techniques. Early on in the reading of this book I got the point that Veeck was an innovator, I knew he was controversial, what I didn't know was what more could possibly be said in the remainder of this book. I did enjo ...more
Tim Basuino
Bio of one of the more interesting baseball owners flows well. Obviously Dickson was a huge fan of Veeck, which works against the book five stars - it could've been at least a tiny bit critical on what didn't work.
Bill Veeck was an owner before his time. He unashamedly promoted his teams with every kind of give-a-way possible including greased pigs. He helped break teh color barrier in the Major Leagues and was a life long supporter of civil rights. He at one time owned the minor league Milwaukee Brewers. Thankfully the author avoided the usual game play by play recaps instead focusing on the every man personality of Vecck. While not exactly a page turner it nonetheless held my interest waiting to see ex ...more
Drew Zagorski
Having grown up in the shadow of Comiskey Park, Bill Veeck has been a baseball hero for me. I remember seeing him walking around the park talking to fans, always with a smile. It's that kind of guy that made baseball fun, and what it should be. This was an excellent bio, and the latter chapters in particular, for me anyway, as they covered the Sox in the 70s. If you grew up in Chicago during his time there or you just miss the type of team owners that understood what the game was about, treat yo ...more
I agree with the Goodreads reviewer who described Dickson's biography as "pedestrian," but it deserves Four Stars for being comprehensive. Bill Veeck was just what the staid world of baseball needed in the Forties and Fifties, especially the American League. Most impressive was Bill marching in M.L. King's funeral procession on a peg leg with no crutch. He was a man of convictions. Paul Dickson's book is marred by too many typographical errors and misspellings. Doesn't Walker & Company use " ...more
Michael Kramer
This is an excellent biography of a fascinating person. The book brought back memories of seeing Bill Veeck in the bleachers at Wrigley Field. After reading about how approachable he was, I regret not walking up and talking with him. I also remember sitting in Comiskey Park when he owned the White Sox and all the strange promotions. One night in particular I remember struggling between wanting to win a prize between innings and trying to decide what I would do with 98 pounds of Lake Michigan sme ...more
John Orman
Though Veeck is remembered for many oddball actions, he also hired the first Afro-American ballplayer in the American League, Larry Doby, with Cleveland in 1947. His hiring of Satchel Paige led to a Cleveland win in the 1948 World Series.
Also described are those oddball actions, such as putting the midget Eddie Gaedel up to bat in 1951.
The horror of Disco Demolition Night (7/12/79) at Comiskey Park is also detailed.
The verbal anthem for that night was a bunch of drunk people yelling "Disco Sucks
Before I read this book the only thing I knew about Bill Veeck was that he planted the ivy in Wrigley Field. I had surely been missing out on a lot of baseball history and I'm happy not to be quite so ignorant now! :) The book is well-written and researched. Veeck was certainly a controversial character and I think the author was fair in his portrayal. Lots of notes, references, and a huge bibliography add credibility.
an incredible telling of the life of a remarkable, iconoclastic man. america could stand to learn more about the life of a man like bill veeck. this is one of the best baseball books i have read in quite some time. veeck's moral compass never wavered, and he never forgot that baseball is supposed to be about entertainment. i found myself deeply entertained by this book.
Jim Blessing
This was an outstanding book on baseball owner Bill Veeck. He signed the first African-American player in the American League (Larry Doby) and also brought in the legendary Satchel Paige to help the Cleveland Indians win their latest pennant in 1948. He was an amazing human being.
Jack M
Excellent read.....enjoyed the details on "Disco Demolition" night. Always thought it was the senior Veeck's promotion, but found out otherwise. He certainly belonged in theBaseball Hall of Fame
Book fizzled out at the end, but the subject matter is fascinating. Baseball (and any sport) could use more owners like Bill Veeck.
What a fascinating character, much more than the midget batter and disco demolition night.
What a fascinating figure. Veeck left an indelible mark on baseball. A fun read.
Thoroughly fascinating. A must read for all real baseball fans
Very good read on a very interesting character.
One heck of a book.
Richard marked it as to-read
Dec 17, 2014
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Wonderful biography of an MLB owner 1 1 Aug 04, 2013 08:12PM  
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Paul Dickson is the author of more than 45 nonfiction books and hundreds of magazine articles. Although he has written on a variety of subjects from ice cream to kite flying to electronic warfare, he now concentrates on writing about the American language, baseball and 20th century history.

Dickson, born in Yonkers, NY, graduated from Wesleyan University in 1961 and was honored as a Distinguished A
More about Paul Dickson...
The Joy of Keeping Score: How Scoring the Game Has Influenced and Enhanced the History of Baseball The Unwritten Rules of Baseball: The Etiquette, Conventional Wisdom, and Axiomatic Codes of Our National Pastime The Bonus Army: An American Epic The Hidden Language of Baseball Sputnik: The Launch of the Space Race

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