Former Chicago White Sox General Manager Roland Hemond Honors Hall Of Famer Bill Veeck

The Charleston River Dogs minor
league team gave the first 1,000
fans at their 7/19 game this
amazing bobblehead. Credit son
(and team president) Mike Veeck
for the creation, marking the year his
dad would be 100 years old!

Roland Hemond should write the Hall of Fame plaques. I asked him about his one-time boss, Chicago White Sox team owner Bill Veeck. I’m moved by his tribute that he was so kind to share with a fan.

“Bill Veeck was the most incredible person I have met,” he wrote. “Bill suffered war-time injuries that led him to 36 operations over his lifetime. Yet, he never complained. But I’m sure he was in pain on a day-to-day basis.

“He was highly intelligent, creative, extremely well read, a visionary, daring, creative, loved people of all races, and awaked the others that baseball is a great game. But, on-field promotions could enhance the popularity of the game with joy for people of all ages and draw them to the parks and to return whenever possible.

“I cannot do him justice in a short letter.”

Nor I for you, Mr. Hemond!

Mike Veeck Goes Beyond Disco Demolition

Yes, it’s tempting. But it’s been done.

Who doesn’t want to ask one MORE “Shot Heard Round The World” question of Bobby Thomson? The same holds true for Mike Veeck and Disco Demolition.

Mike has discussed his day of infamy from July, 1979. He’s a good sport who relives the promotion in countless interviews. One enterprising collector even hit the TTM jackpot, getting Veeck to autograph a baseball in which he recounted the highlights and lowlights of the idea gone haywire.

But Veeck worked as director of marketing for the team and his Hall of Fame father Bill Veeck for more than one game. Read Veeck–As In Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck or The Hustler’s Handbook to fully appreciate the passionate creativity of this baseball-loving maverick.

What else does Mike remember about the “Veeck and Veeck” days of the 1970s White Sox?

Mike Veeck replied:

“We invented suites on the South Side. Harry (Caray) started singing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame.’

“Both have their pluses and minuses.

Thanks for making me think.

See you in the bleachers.

Mike Veeck”

Mike Veeck, Baseball’s King of Fun, Reveals His Inspirational Teammate

Whenever I get a letter from a former Browns, Indians or White Sox player, they mention two Veecks: team owner Bill and his wife Mary Frances. Appreciating players and fans became a Veeck family affair.

I wrote to Mike Veeck, sharing this insight. I feel that the plaque in the Hall of Fame was earned by two people, not one. Did he find the same sources of inspiration in his leadership of the St. Paul Saints and three other minor league teams? Does his wife Libby offer the same support? Could you find Mike in the stands, just like his father?

Mike Veeck wrote:

Thank you for the kind note and the opportunity to talk about my favorite person…Libby. She collects art, and as a result, all of the decorations at Midway (and the other parks) have been influenced by her love of the visual. I even write commercials that are visibly different from my “pre-Lib” days. If she doesn’t laugh, we don’t use it.

I spend a lot of time in the stands and at the gate. If you make EVERY decision with the people who come to your parks’ best interest, you can’t go wrong. Fans know much more about your product than you do — or in this case, than I do.”

I believe in Mike Veeck. I think his upbeat philosophy, captured in the delightful book Fun is Good, could transform Major League Baseball and other stodgy, sluggish sectors of society.

Tomorrow: go beyond Disco Demolition, and find out any other White Sox highlights Veeck savors from working for his Dad.

Not All Heroes Are on Scorecards

How do I choose the personalities to write to as I collect baseball memories? I don’t limit myself to 25-man rosters or official entries in any encyclopedia. If someone has a life and career that speaks to me as a fan, I want more of their story.

As I maintain my goal of sending a letter a day, here’s the people my next sheet of FOREVER stamps are reserved for…

RANDY WEHOFER (pictured above): Iowa Cubs team announcer who played a, yes, team announcer, in the movie Sugar.

NANCY FAUST: White Sox team organist retiring in 2010, her 41st season. She got crowds to sing —

“Na, na, na, na. Na, na, na, na. Hey, hey, hey. Goodbye”

MIKE VEECK: Minor league baseball visionary, son of Hall of Fame team owner Bill Veeck.

SISTER MARY ASSUMPTA: Cleveland Indians super-fan who has baked cookies to give to her “boys” for 25 years. Featured on a 1997 Upper Deck promo card.

KADIR NELSON: Gifted illustrator and creator of the stunning book We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball.

DAVE RAYMOND: The first Phillies Phanatic.

DENNIS RIMA: One of the “Ghost Players” who’ve performed at Iowa’s Field of Dreams and around the world.

Stay tuned!

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