Veeck brought fun back to baseball
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“My epitaph is inescapable,” Veeck predicted. “It will read: ‘He sent a midget up to bat.’”
But Veeck was unable to revitalize the Browns on the field. After failing in his attempt to drive the Cardinals from St. Louis, Veeck – with pressure from the AL owners – sold his interests in the club to a group from Baltimore, where the Browns moved in 1954 to become the Orioles.
Veeck, however, returned to the AL again in 1959 when he bought the White Sox – and the Go-Go Sox quickly responded to Veeck’s enthusiastic leadership by winning the AL flag – their first pennant in 40 years.
Veeck was forced to sell the White Sox in 1961 due to declining health, but recovered in the mid-1960s and eventually purchased the White Sox again in 1975. After approving trades that pushed the White Sox to 90 wins in 1977, Veeck found himself unable to compete financially in the new free agency era and sold the Sox again 1981. He spent his last years as a fan, often watching games from the bleachers in Wrigley Field just above the ivy he once planted.
Veeck was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum