PDA

View Full Version : Something I did not know about Bill Veeck


Viva Medias B's
02-08-2010, 07:18 PM
Because this post concerns a moment of White Sox history, it is posted here in this Sox Clubhouse forum. In the "Brewers to erect statue of Selig" thread from Talking Baseball, Lip posted (http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=2425728&postcount=8) a synopsis about how Bud Selig tried to get the White Sox to Seattle. Interests in Seattle had sued Selig and associates after his group lured the Seattle Pilots to Milwaukee in 1970, and Uncle Bud felt sending the White Sox there would get that gum out of his hair. Bill Veeck's 1975 purchase of the White Sox from John Allyn, which Selig obviously opposed, kept the White Sox in Chicago.

That post by Lip prompted me to reach for my copy of In the Best Interests of Baseball? which is a not-so-flattering biography of Selig written in 2006 by Andrew Zimbalist. In Zimbalist's book, there is no reference to the 1975 Veeck purchase of the Sox, but I did make quite a find in a paragraph about Veeck's 1959 purchase that I was not aware of.

Then-MLB Commissioner Ford Frick and Bill Veeck had a strained relationship dating back to at least Veeck's days as owner of the St. Louis Browns. On page 66, Zimbalist wrote that when Bill Veeck first bought the White Sox in 1959 from Dorothy Comiskey Rigney, he hatched a plan to move the White Sox to Los Angeles. It is further noted that Veeck even had the votes of other American League owners lined up to make the move. However, Frick opposed the move. In reality, I think he did not want to let Veeck benefit from the White Sox being in L.A. Officially, Frick opposed the move becasue he wanted the Los Angeles Dodgers and owner Walter O'Malley to enjoy exclusive rights to the L.A. market. Frick and O'Malley wanted to impose a series of stipulations upon the White Sox should they move to Southern California. Basically, as a result of this, Veeck's plan died.

While I was aware that in 1980 Bill Veeck had talks with Denver oilman Marvin Davis about selling the Sox to Davis who would move the White Sox to Denver, I had no idea that Veeck had a plan to transport the White Sox to L.A. At the same time, Chicago Cardinals managing director Walter Wolfner was doing everyting he could to cause the Big Red to fall off the Chicago cliff until George Halas shoved the Cardinals over the cliff. Had this White Sox-to-Los Angeles move taken place, coupled with the Big Red's move to St. Louis in 1960, it would have been the ultimate 1-2 punch killing our South Side heritage.

WhiteSox5187
02-08-2010, 07:52 PM
In "Veeck as in Wreck" Bill said he wanted to move the Browns to LA and then tried to move another team to LA before the Angels came in.

Viva Medias B's
02-08-2010, 07:58 PM
In "Veeck as in Wreck" Bill said he wanted to move the Browns to LA and then tried to move another team to LA before the Angels came in.

I do not have a copy of Veeck as in Wreck; was this reference to another team the White Sox?

Lip Man 1
02-08-2010, 09:22 PM
Viva:

I will forward this along to Rich Lindberg for his analysis and comment.

I have never heard this before myself and don't know how reliable the author is so I can't comment one way or another.

Lip

SI1020
02-08-2010, 09:31 PM
Viva:

I will forward this along to Rich Lindberg for his analysis and comment.

I have never heard this before myself and don't know how reliable the author is so I can't comment one way or another.

Lip Me either. I was under the impression that Veeck wanted to move the Browns to LA, not the White Sox. In the late 50s the Sox were in the middle of a long era of winning seasons and were one of the stronger franchises in the game.

Brian26
02-08-2010, 09:45 PM
I'm in the process of re-reading "Veeck As In Wreck. Veeck spends a couple of chapters talking about trying to move the Browns to LA, and his second option was to move them to Baltimore before the Orioles came into the league. I don't recall any mention of the Sox going to LA.

DumpJerry
02-08-2010, 10:26 PM
I'm in the process of re-reading "Veeck As In Wreck. Veeck spends a couple of chapters talking about trying to move the Browns to LA, and his second option was to move them to Baltimore before the Orioles came into the league. I don't recall any mention of the Sox going to LA.
The Orioles are the St. Louis Browns (http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BAL/).

Brian26
02-08-2010, 10:44 PM
The Orioles are the St. Louis Browns (http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BAL/).

The great trajedy was that Veeck was forced out by the other owners are part of the deal that he fought so hard for. I think the stadium was already in place.

ewokpelts
02-08-2010, 11:04 PM
I'm in the process of re-reading "Veeck As In Wreck. Veeck spends a couple of chapters talking about trying to move the Browns to LA, and his second option was to move them to Baltimore before the Orioles came into the league. I don't recall any mention of the Sox going to LA.
the st. louis browns ARE the baltimore orioles

Viva Medias B's
02-09-2010, 07:16 AM
Viva:

I will forward this along to Rich Lindberg for his analysis and comment.

I have never heard this before myself and don't know how reliable the author is so I can't comment one way or another.

Lip

I do not know how reliable Zimbalist is either given that I am surprised as you are at this. It was right there on page 66. Considering that this book about Bud Selig came out in 2006, I figured this White Sox-to-Los Angeles story would have been at least discovered and discussed in this forum back then. Surely, I am not the only WSIer to possess the In the Best Interests of Baseball? bio of Selig.

LITTLE NELL
02-09-2010, 07:58 AM
I feel like I have followed the White Sox history as much as anyone except for Lindberg, Lip and a few others and this is the first time I have ever heard of Veeck wanting to move the Sox to LA.
First of all the White Sox at that time was a very strong franchise consistantly drawing over 1,000,000 fans every year which at the time was the holy grail. You youngsters probably don't realize how many teams failed to hit the million mark back in those days with the team 8 miles north being one of them, the Flubs failed to draw 1,000,000 fans for 14 straight seasons from 1953 to 1967. There was talk at the time of them fleeing Chicago, they even thought of playing some night games in Soldier Field. The New Yorks Giants in the largest market in the country with Willie Mays did not draw well. The Red Sox in the early 60s up to the 67 season also drew poorly. The Senators, Phillies, A's and the Pirates hardly ever hit the magic mark.

2nd point is that the American League had its headquarters in Chicago on Michigan Ave and would never let the Sox move.

Viva Medias B's
02-09-2010, 08:28 AM
I feel like I have followed the White Sox history as much as anyone except for Lindberg, Lip and a few others and this is the first time I have ever heard of Veeck wanting to move the Sox to LA.
First of all the White Sox at that time was a very strong franchise consistantly drawing over 1,000,000 fans every year which at the time was the holy grail. You youngsters probably don't realize how many teams failed to hit the million mark back in those days with the team 8 miles north being one of them, the Flubs failed to draw 1,000,000 fans for 14 straight seasons from 1953 to 1967. There was talk at the time of them fleeing Chicago, they even thought of playing some night games in Soldier Field. The New Yorks Giants in the largest market in the country with Willie Mays did not draw well. The Red Sox in the early 60s up to the 67 season also drew poorly. The Senators, Phillies, A's and the Pirates hardly ever hit the magic mark.

2nd point is that the American League had its headquarters in Chicago on Michigan Ave and would never let the Sox move.

That is why Zimbalist's story about this does not make sense. What I don't understand is why this didn't surface and got refuted back in 2006 when he wrote it.

HomeFish
02-09-2010, 08:29 AM
How many other teams have moved west to east like the Browns/Orioles?

LITTLE NELL
02-09-2010, 08:50 AM
How many other teams have moved west to east like the Browns/Orioles?
I can't think of any others in MLB.
In the NFL, the Browns to Balt as the Ravens, LA Rams to St. Louis, Oilers to Tennesee.
NHL, KC Scouts to Colorado then to NJ as the Devils, California (Oakland) Seals to Cleveland as the Barons who merged with the North Stars.
NBA, Chicago Packers to Baltimore (whats with Baltimore getting all these teams from the west). Seattle to OK City.
I'm sure I missed a few but these are the ones I can remember as I have 1 year to go to Medicare.

SI1020
02-09-2010, 08:58 AM
How many other teams have moved west to east like the Browns/Orioles? I suppose the Braves from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966 would be considered more of a north to south move.

LITTLE NELL
02-09-2010, 09:13 AM
I suppose the Braves from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966 would be considered more of a north to south move.

I would classify it as a west-east move since they went from the Central time zone to the Eastern.

Viva Medias B's
02-09-2010, 10:22 AM
I suppose the Braves from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966 would be considered more of a north to south move.

I would classify it as a west-east move since they went from the Central time zone to the Eastern.

Say what you will about Uncle Bud, and I continue to say plenty myself, but one could never question his devotion to his beloved Milwaukee. That Braves move was one Selig, then a minority owner of the team, desperately tried to stop. It led to his neverending desire to bring baseball back to Milwaukee. As was noted before, he tried to lure the White Sox there in 1968-69 but failed when John Allyn refused to sell his 50 share of the stock to Selig's group, MBI Partners.

DonnieDarko
02-09-2010, 11:03 AM
And then he got the Pilots to move to Milwaukee in '70, right?

How did Seattle get a baseball team back in the Mariners?

Viva Medias B's
02-09-2010, 11:15 AM
And then he got the Pilots to move to Milwaukee in '70, right?

How did Seattle get a baseball team back in the Mariners?

The M's were a 1977 expansion team along with the Blue Jays.

white sox bill
02-09-2010, 11:18 AM
Don't recall much about the Pilots, they were a one year wonder right? I do have Don Mincher's card though.

DonnieDarko
02-09-2010, 11:31 AM
Outta curiosity, what was the idea behind the expansion teams, and how many of them were there? I mean, this was before there were three divisions, right?

Daver
02-09-2010, 11:39 AM
Outta curiosity, what was the idea behind the expansion teams, and how many of them were there? I mean, this was before there were three divisions, right?

They generated revenue for the league through the franchise fees.

DumpJerry
02-09-2010, 12:06 PM
Outta curiosity, what was the idea behind the expansion teams, and how many of them were there? I mean, this was before there were three divisions, right?

They generated revenue for the league through the franchise fees.
The franshise fees as well as an expanded customer base for the overall MLB product since they were adding new fans with each expansion. Expanded customer (fan) base=more sales of MLB products like game tickets, licensed products, radio/television, etc.....

tacosalbarojas
02-09-2010, 12:20 PM
Don't recall much about the Pilots, they were a one year wonder right? I do have Don Mincher's card though.
Read "Ball Four". Probably the only one year franchise to have a diary devoted to its lone season.

TommyJohn
02-09-2010, 12:32 PM
One other thing that doesn't make sense about the story-Veeck only owned 54% of the team in 1959. The other 46% was owned by Charlie Comiskey. You mean to tell me that Comiskey would have supported this move to LA from the city where his grandfather established the team? Money talks, I guess but I can't picture him doing that, nor do I think he ever mentioned it.

Paulwny
02-09-2010, 01:07 PM
He wanted to move the Browns to LA.
After selling his share of the Sox in 1961 Veeck joined a group led by Hank Greenberg. This group was looking for an AL team to relocate to LA.

Nellie_Fox
02-09-2010, 01:18 PM
One other thing that doesn't make sense about the story-Veeck only owned 54% of the team in 1959. The other 46% was owned by Charlie Comiskey. You mean to tell me that Comiskey would have supported this move to LA from the city where his grandfather established the team? Money talks, I guess but I can't picture him doing that, nor do I think he ever mentioned it.
Owning 46% does not give you veto power. If anyone owns 51% or more, they control the vote and can do pretty much whatever they please.

"Okay, then let's vote on it. There's 54 votes in favor, 46 against. The ayes have it."

fram40
02-09-2010, 04:55 PM
I feel like I have followed the White Sox history as much as anyone except for Lindberg, Lip and a few others and this is the first time I have ever heard of Veeck wanting to move the Sox to LA.
First of all the White Sox at that time was a very strong franchise consistantly drawing over 1,000,000 fans every year which at the time was the holy grail. You youngsters probably don't realize how many teams failed to hit the million mark back in those days with the team 8 miles north being one of them, the Flubs failed to draw 1,000,000 fans for 14 straight seasons from 1953 to 1967. There was talk at the time of them fleeing Chicago, they even thought of playing some night games in Soldier Field. The New Yorks Giants in the largest market in the country with Willie Mays did not draw well. The Red Sox in the early 60s up to the 67 season also drew poorly. The Senators, Phillies, A's and the Pirates hardly ever hit the magic mark.

2nd point is that the American League had its headquarters in Chicago on Michigan Ave and would never let the Sox move.

Just because the Sox were a very strong franchise at the time does not mean they would not have moved or the league would not have allowed it.
The Brooklyn Dodgers moved - and they were drawing a million+ throughout the post-war years. Granted they had a stadium issue as well. The LA market was an untapped gold mine at the time. It would have been very lucrative to have been the AL team in that market.

LITTLE NELL
02-09-2010, 07:05 PM
Just because the Sox were a very strong franchise at the time does not mean they would not have moved or the league would not have allowed it.
The Brooklyn Dodgers moved - and they were drawing a million+ throughout the post-war years. Granted they had a stadium issue as well. The LA market was an untapped gold mine at the time. It would have been very lucrative to have been the AL team in that market.

Checking Baseball reference the Angels were not exactly a smash hit in their early years in LA
1961..... 603,000 in Wrigley Field LA
1962.....1,144,000 in Chavez Ravine (Dodger Syadium)
1963.....821,000
1964.....760,000
1965.....566,000
Finally moved to Anahiem Stadium in 1966 and drew 1,400,000, by 1969 they were barely over or under a million for quite a few years.

Brian26
02-09-2010, 07:42 PM
Checking Baseball reference the Angels were not exactly a smash hit in their early years in LA
1961..... 603,000 in Wrigley Field LA
1962.....1,144,000 in Chavez Ravine (Dodger Syadium)
1963.....821,000
1964.....760,000
1965.....566,000
Finally moved to Anahiem Stadium in 1966 and drew 1,400,000, by 1969 they were barely over or under a million for quite a few years.

The capacity of Wrigley Field in LA was very small (22,000). The problem was that there was nowhere else to play in LA. At the same time, the Dodgers were playing at the Coliseum, which was an awful place for baseball.

ewokpelts
02-09-2010, 07:59 PM
Checking Baseball reference the Angels were not exactly a smash hit in their early years in LA
1961..... 603,000 in Wrigley Field LA
1962.....1,144,000 in Chavez Ravine (Dodger Syadium)
1963.....821,000
1964.....760,000
1965.....566,000
Finally moved to Anahiem Stadium in 1966 and drew 1,400,000, by 1969 they were barely over or under a million for quite a few years.those numbers back there were pretty solid. and dont forget the angles were an expansion team, so they were probably not a good team those early years.

LITTLE NELL
02-09-2010, 08:08 PM
The capacity of Wrigley Field in LA was very small (22,000). The problem was that there was nowhere else to play in LA. At the same time, the Dodgers were playing at the Coliseum, which was an awful place for baseball.

Angels only played 1 year in Wrigley West, then shared Dodger Stadium with the Dodgers until 1966. The Angels refused to call it Dodger Stadium instead calling it Chavez Ravine Stadium.The Dodgers drew very well in the Coliseum and of course even better in Dodger Stadium.
Bottom line is that LA for the Angels was not the promised land until the late 70s.

BubblingCalderon
02-09-2010, 09:04 PM
How did Seattle get a baseball team back in the Mariners?


Seattle actually kind of got screwed by Kansas City. They entered the American League along with the Royals as part of a hasty round of expansion triggered by the Kansas City A's move to Oakland. Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri threatened to have baseball's antitrust exemption revoked unless Kansas City was promptly granted another team. They were originally slated to begin play in 1971, but Symington would not accept the prospect of having Kansas City wait three years for another team and pressured MLB to have the Royals and their expansion partner the Pilots added in 1969.

Since Seattle wasn't ready for a team because the Kingdome was not built yet, the Pilots were forced to play at Sicks's Stadium, a Minor league park that that only sat 17,000 on opening Day 1969. The owners went bankrupt trying upgrade the park during the 1969 season.

Viva Medias B's
02-09-2010, 10:03 PM
He wanted to move the Browns to LA.
After selling his share of the Sox in 1961 Veeck joined a group led by Hank Greenberg. This group was looking for an AL team to relocate to LA.

This could actually be the correct version of the story and not Zimbalist's suggestion that Veeck wanted to move the Sox to L.A. O'Malley didn't want to compete in L.A. against an owner of Veeck's promotional mastery. As a result, Greenberg's bid to own the Angels died. I do not know why Zimbalist explicity mentioned the White Sox ─ "If the White Sox wanted to move there, they would have to indemify O'Malley" ─ as the team to move to L.A. Perhaps he did very poor research and confused the Sox for the expansion Angels.

Lip Man 1
02-09-2010, 10:30 PM
Ewok:

The Angels actually were in contention for the American League pennant in 1962 shocking everyone.

Lip

slavko
02-09-2010, 11:18 PM
I can't think of any others in MLB.
In the NFL, the Browns to Balt as the Ravens, LA Rams to St. Louis, Oilers to Tennesee.
NHL, KC Scouts to Colorado then to NJ as the Devils, California (Oakland) Seals to Cleveland as the Barons who merged with the North Stars.
NBA, Chicago Packers to Baltimore (whats with Baltimore getting all these teams from the west). Seattle to OK City.
I'm sure I missed a few but these are the ones I can remember as I have 1 year to go to Medicare.

Zephyrs actually. They changed names when they were kicked out of the Amphitheater to the Coliseum after the McCormick Place fire.

Why would have Veeck moved a successful team? Because he thought he could. Except he couldn't.

LITTLE NELL
02-10-2010, 05:25 AM
Zephyrs actually. They changed names when they were kicked out of the Amphitheater to the Coliseum after the McCormick Place fire.

Why would have Veeck moved a successful team? Because he thought he could. Except he couldn't.

Packers their 1st year.
Zephyrs their 2nd year.
They moved to Balt in 1963
The McCormick Place fire was not until 1-16-67
I think they moved to the Coliseum because of lower rent.

slavko
02-10-2010, 11:00 AM
Packers their 1st year.
Zephyrs their 2nd year.
They moved to Balt in 1963
The McCormick Place fire was not until 1-16-67
I think they moved to the Coliseum because of lower rent.

I misremembered. Medicare does this to you. Enjoy it. (still seems like the city needed the Amphitheater for something) The name change, at any rate, was because they were no longer in Stockyards territory.

Aha! It was the Bulls who moved from the Amphitheater to the Stadium after the fire. My bad.

Brian26
02-10-2010, 11:54 AM
the st. louis browns ARE the baltimore orioles

Correct. As I already elaborated, Veeck wanted to move his team to Baltimore, but he never saw that to fruition. He was forced out with the sale of the team.

LITTLE NELL
02-10-2010, 01:36 PM
I misremembered. Medicare does this to you. Enjoy it. (still seems like the city needed the Amphitheater for something) The name change, at any rate, was because they were no longer in Stockyards territory.

Aha! It was the Bulls who moved from the Amphitheater to the Stadium after the fire. My bad.

You are forgiven, I will be joining you on Medicare 1 year from this Friday. Save some for me.

soxinem1
02-10-2010, 02:04 PM
Just because the Sox were a very strong franchise at the time does not mean they would not have moved or the league would not have allowed it.
The Brooklyn Dodgers moved - and they were drawing a million+ throughout the post-war years. Granted they had a stadium issue as well. The LA market was an untapped gold mine at the time. It would have been very lucrative to have been the AL team in that market.

Wow, just think.

We could have been The Los Angeles White Sox of Chavez Ravine'!!!!!

Yikes!!

SI1020
02-10-2010, 02:08 PM
I hope this thread doesn't result in a misreading of history. The White Sox were quite safely established on the south side in the late 50s. Troubles of various types and threats to move were to come later.

LITTLE NELL
02-10-2010, 02:15 PM
I hope this thread doesn't result in a misreading of history. The White Sox were quite safely established on the south side in the late 50s. Troubles of various types and threats to move were to come later.

Exactly.

Hitmen77
02-12-2010, 03:04 PM
Outta curiosity, what was the idea behind the expansion teams, and how many of them were there?

MLB had 16 "original" teams and now has 30 teams.....meaning there have been 14 expansion teams since expansion started in 1961. Here are the expansion teams:

1961: Angels
1961: Washington Senators (they replaced the original Senators who moved to Minnesota to become the Twins for '61. Also, this expansion Senators moved to Texas in '72 and became the Rangers)
1962: NY Mets
1962: Houston Astros (called the Colt .45s before '65)

1969: Kansas City
1969: Seattle Pilots (became the Milwaukee Brewers in '70)
1969: San Diego
1969: Montreal (became the Wash. Nationals in '05)

1977: Toronto
1977: Seattle

1993: Colorado
1993: Florida

1998: Arizona
1998: Tampa Bay

I mean, this was before there were three divisions, right?

There were no divisions at all up through 1968. Then baseball had 2 divisions per league from 1969-1993. The current 3 divisions began in 1994.

LITTLE NELL
02-13-2010, 06:23 AM
MLB had 16 "original" teams and now has 30 teams.....meaning there have been 14 expansion teams since expansion started in 1961. Here are the expansion teams:

1961: Angels
1961: Washington Senators (they replaced the original Senators who moved to Minnesota to become the Twins for '61. Also, this expansion Senators moved to Texas in '72 and became the Rangers)
1962: NY Mets
1962: Houston Astros (called the Colt .45s before '65)

1969: Kansas City
1969: Seattle Pilots (became the Milwaukee Brewers in '70)
1969: San Diego
1969: Montreal (became the Wash. Nationals in '05)

1977: Toronto
1977: Seattle

1993: Colorado
1993: Florida

1998: Arizona
1998: Tampa Bay



There were no divisions at all up through 1968. Then baseball had 2 divisions per league from 1969-1993. The current 3 divisions began in 1994.

How MLB has changed, back in the 50s when an East coast team was going on a western trip it meant they were going to Chicago and St. Louis.

Same can be said for the NHL and NBA. The NFL had already expanded west to LA in 1946 and to SF in 1950

DonnieDarko
02-13-2010, 08:42 AM
I certainly did not know any of that before. Thanks for the history lesson, guys. :smile:

Hitmen77
02-17-2010, 11:04 AM
I certainly did not know any of that before. Thanks for the history lesson, guys. :smile:

No problem. :tiphat:

...and by the way that makes the following 16 franchises the "original" MLB teams:

AL:
White Sox
Yankees
Red Sox
Tigers
Indians
A's (played in Kansas City 1955-67 and in Philadelphia up to 1954)
Orioles (St. Louis Browns until 1953)
Twins (Washington Senators until 1960)

NL:
Phillies
Pirates
Reds
Cardinals
Cubs
Dodgers (Brooklyn Dodgers until 1957)
Giants (New York Giants until 1957)
Braves (played in Milwaukee 1953-1965 and in Boston up to 1952)

SI1020
02-17-2010, 11:15 AM
No problem. :tiphat:

...and by the way that makes the following 16 franchises the "original" MLB teams:

AL:
White Sox
Yankees
Red Sox
Tigers
Indians
A's (played in Kansas City 1955-67 and in Philadelphia up to 1954)
Orioles (St. Louis Browns until 1953)
Twins (Washington Senators until 1960)

NL:
Phillies
Pirates
Reds
Cardinals
Cubs
Dodgers (Brooklyn Dodgers until 1957)
Giants (New York Giants until 1957)
Braves (played in Milwaukee 1953-1965 and in Boston up to 1952) NY Yankees were based in Baltimore and called the Orioles in 1901-02. They moved to NY in 03 and were known as the Highlanders until 1913 when they adopted the Yankees name. The St. Louis Browns started out in Milwaukee and were called the Brewers in 1901. They moved to St. Louis in 1902.

Lip Man 1
02-17-2010, 01:34 PM
Just heard back from Rich Lindberg on this Veeck - L.A. matter. He said he's never heard anything about this before and will look into it.

Rich also added that his feelings about Bill are well known and that it wouldn't surprise him in the least, if this in fact, turned out to be true.

Lip

TommyJohn
02-17-2010, 03:45 PM
Just heard back from Rich Lindberg on this Veeck - L.A. matter. He said he's never heard anything about this before and will look into it.

Rich also added that his feelings about Bill are well known and that it wouldn't surprise him in the least, if this in fact, turned out to be true.

LipI had a feeling he would say something like this.

My feeling is, if it does prove true, this should finish Veeck as a "Man of the People" especially where Sox fans were concerned. It would mean he tried to move the team not once, but twice. Sure, he bought the team in 1975 to save them from Seattle, but was going to abandon the city five years later. He was always out for Number 1. Now he made no secret of that, but he somehow convinced people he was all for the fan. But that is what being a hustler is all about.

SI1020
02-17-2010, 06:19 PM
I do not have an insider's status and I am not a big fan of Bill Veeck. Actually I have mixed feelings about him, but as far as revisionist history like this is concerned I have no use for it. Just like Kirby Puckett died young because of steriod use and Gary Gaeitti's occasional acne was also a sign of the same. The era of "gotcha" journalism born in the Watergate era, is alive and well on the internet. Nobody documents anything, nobody edits anything and **** sells. I would suggest reading or rereading the SI article in a late 75 or early 76 issue documenting the hoops Veeck jumped through to keep the Sox in Chicago. Believe me, the team was as good as gone, and I for one don't believe for a minute that Charley Finley's A's would have replaced them in old Comiskey. Finley managed to make just about everyone hate him. My apologies to those more connected than me but the 1959 White Sox weren't going anywhere. Believe what you want.

Viva Medias B's
02-17-2010, 07:32 PM
Just heard back from Rich Lindberg on this Veeck - L.A. matter. He said he's never heard anything about this before and will look into it.

Rich also added that his feelings about Bill are well known and that it wouldn't surprise him in the least, if this in fact, turned out to be true.

Lip

What I cannot understand is how it took four years for Zimbalist's White Sox-to-L.A. story to bubble to the surface. Surely, someone would have spotted it back then and dealt with the issue at that time. Somehow, it must have fallen through the cracks.

TommyJohn
02-17-2010, 08:16 PM
I do not have an insider's status and I am not a big fan of Bill Veeck. Actually I have mixed feelings about him, but as far as revisionist history like this is concerned I have no use for it. Just like Kirby Puckett died young because of steriod use and Gary Gaeitti's occasional acne was also a sign of the same. The era of "gotcha" journalism born in the Watergate era, is alive and well on the internet. Nobody documents anything, nobody edits anything and **** sells. I would suggest reading or rereading the SI article in a late 75 or early 76 issue documenting the hoops Veeck jumped through to keep the Sox in Chicago. Believe me, the team was as good as gone, and I for one don't believe for a minute that Charley Finley's A's would have replaced them in old Comiskey. Finley managed to make just about everyone hate him. My apologies to those more connected than me but the 1959 White Sox weren't going anywhere. Believe what you want.
I'm not saying the story is true, as I do not ever recall it being written anywhere else. The story that he planned to sell part of the franchise to Marvin Davis and be partners with him with the Denver White Sox has been out there for a long time, first reported by Davis himself. Yes, Veeck saved the team in 1975, but he would not have hesitated to move it in 1980 had the votes been there.

TommyJohn
02-17-2010, 09:40 PM
In "Veeck as in Wreck" Bill said he wanted to move the Browns to LA and then tried to move another team to LA before the Angels came in.

Me either. I was under the impression that Veeck wanted to move the Browns to LA, not the White Sox. In the late 50s the Sox were in the middle of a long era of winning seasons and were one of the stronger franchises in the game.

I'm in the process of re-reading "Veeck As In Wreck. Veeck spends a couple of chapters talking about trying to move the Browns to LA, and his second option was to move them to Baltimore before the Orioles came into the league. I don't recall any mention of the Sox going to LA.I am reading "The Hustler's Handbook" written by Veeck in 1965. In it, he writes of wanting to buy the Philadelphia A's from Connie Mack and move them to Los Angeles. Bob Vanderberg also mentioned it in his interview with Veeck in Sox. I wonder if Zimbalist got mixed up and thought that it was the White Sox he wanted to move? After all, this would have been in the mid 50s, after his sale of the Browns but before O'Malley moved the Dodgers.

SI1020
02-18-2010, 09:18 AM
I am reading "The Hustler's Handbook" written by Veeck in 1965. In it, he writes of wanting to buy the Philadelphia A's from Connie Mack and move them to Los Angeles. Bob Vanderberg also mentioned it in his interview with Veeck in Sox. I wonder if Zimbalist got mixed up and thought that it was the White Sox he wanted to move? After all, this would have been in the mid 50s, after his sale of the Browns but before O'Malley moved the Dodgers. Yes this story I think is a cacophony of confusion and crossed wires. I do believe Veeck wanted to move a team to LA, just not the White Sox and not in the late 50s.

I'm not saying the story is true, as I do not ever recall it being written anywhere else. The story that he planned to sell part of the franchise to Marvin Davis and be partners with him with the Denver White Sox has been out there for a long time, first reported by Davis himself. Yes, Veeck saved the team in 1975, but he would not have hesitated to move it in 1980 had the votes been there. I agree that Veeck wouldn't have hesitated to move the team at that point. Veeck bought the Sox for the second time just as the rules of the business side of the game changed radically. He couldn't compete, and to us Sox fans the great exciting year of 1977 turned out to be a big mirage. I can say with a good degree of confidence that he eventually decided on selling to DeBartolo Sr. and was extrememly bitter about the way that turned out.

Fenway
02-18-2010, 03:58 PM
When I was in college I was an intern at Suffolk Downs on their closed circuit TV operation and got to know Bill well.

Never once did he say he was trying to move the White Sox to LA it was the Browns.

He first wanted to move the Browns to Milwaukee in 1953 but the AL owners who despised him said he would have to wait a year. Remember he was pushing for shared TV revenue as he argued the Browns were 50 percent of a game. To punish Veeck teams would not schedule night games with St Louis so the gate for the visiting team would be smaller

Back in those days each league acted on its own and a week after the AL told Veeck no to Milwaukee suddenly in the middle of spring training the Braves made the jump from Boston.

He said he then looked at LA but understood it was impossible as to make it work you would need a team in San Francisco as well and nobody else was looking to move so he focused on Baltimore which had the problem of being 40 miles from DC and 90 from Philadelphia. He honestly thought Wrigley was going to move the Cubs to LA as he owned the LA rights and spent more time in California than Illinois.

The AL signed off on Baltimore with one condition...Veeck could not be involved.

The big mystery to this day is why did the Braves suddenly jump with no warning. I have looked at the Boston papers from March, 1953 on microfilm and there was no warning at all from the writers in Florida for ST. In fact Tom Yawkey had decided the Braves could play at Fenway in 1954 as the Braves had a huge offer to sell Braves Field to Boston University. Braves Field was only a mile from Fenway but it had problems as it was next to a huge railroad freight yard and smoke just poured into the stands.

Irony is had the Braves stayed in Boston and at Fenway they may have driven the Red Sox out given what happened in 57 and 58.

LITTLE NELL
02-18-2010, 06:52 PM
All this Veeck talk has me wondering why Veeck pulled out of running the Indians in the late 40s, the 48 team for years held the single season attendance record at somewhere over 2.5 million.
Anyone know why he left Cleveland?

Fenway
02-18-2010, 06:59 PM
All this Veeck talk has me wondering why Veeck pulled out of running the Indians in the late 40s, the 48 team for years held the single season attendance record at somewhere over 2.5 million.
Anyone know why he left Cleveland?

In Cleveland Veeck was just the front man for a syndicate that included people like Bob Hope. Veeck had very little of his own money involved and built 'sweat equity' by running the team.

The Browns gave him a chance to be a real owner as they were worthless.

TommyJohn
02-18-2010, 07:01 PM
All this Veeck talk has me wondering why Veeck pulled out of running the Indians in the late 40s, the 48 team for years held the single season attendance record at somewhere over 2.5 million.
Anyone know why he left Cleveland?Because he was a businessman-buy low, sell high. Cleveland was in a rut when he bought them, he won the World Series, which increased the team value, and he got out for another challenge. It has been a while since I read "Veeck As In Wreck" but I am pretty sure that was his intent in buying baseball teams.

TommyJohn
02-18-2010, 07:04 PM
He said he then looked at LA but understood it was impossible as to make it work you would need a team in San Francisco as well and nobody else was looking to move so he focused on Baltimore which had the problem of being 40 miles from DC and 90 from Philadelphia. He honestly thought Wrigley was going to move the Cubs to LA as he owned the LA rights and spent more time in California than Illinois.


Was there ever talk of the Cubs moving to LA? Serious talk? It would seem like they would have been the candidate, because as you said, Wrigley had the territorial rights. He also gave them to O'Malley for basically nothing.

JNS
02-18-2010, 07:27 PM
I was a neighbor of Veeck's at that time - late 70s till he moved a few blocks away (Mary Francis still lives in that house).

I shot the bull with him many, many times and the topic of a move to LA - or Denver for that matter - never ever ever came up. The only sale he wanted to make but wasn't allowed to was to the DeBartolo family - the other owners nixed the deal because the family had interests in race tracks - the implication was that they were "connected." Pretty bigoted stuff. The NFL had no beef with the DeBartolo family when the bought the 49ers - a moribund franchise at that time - and turned them into the class of the NFL. They might have done it with the Sox as well. Instead, be4caue he was desperate to sell and broke we got stuck with the numb-nuts who gave us Sportsvision, Ribbie & Rhubarb, and "a better class of fan" as Einhorn so delicately put it. And a WS a guarter-century later.

You can like Veeck or not, but he did save the Sox - the Danny Kaye group was on the verge of buying them in 1975 and they certain;y were going to move them to Seattle - and he did his best to produce a winning team under very difficult circumstances. Dick Daley called up Veeck in Maryland where he was living in semi-retirement at the time, having owned a race track there. He also put Veeck in touch with Andy McKenna (the father of the GOP pol and Cubs shareholder) and others to put the group that bought the team together. Which brings up another point. Veeck was a managing partner but was not the majority stock holder. The rest of his ownership group were from Chicago, He could NOT just up and sell the team and move it - he needed a vote from the other shareholders all of whom were from here. It wasn't just a matter of selling - he had to get the votes from his partners, not a sure thing if there was a move planned. The other MLB owners hated him and did everything they could to block anything he wanted to do.

Veeck was born into Chicago baseball (on the North side). There is absolutely no indication that he was planning any of this stuff.