The circus is back into town
DECEMBER 16, 1975
– Baseball showman Bill Veeck got the keys to the Chicago White Sox back on this date in 1975. Veeck’s group bought the team for $10-million (which wouldn’t pay Paul Konerko’s salary today).
This was Veeck’s second tour as owner of the team. He purchased the Sox in 1959, which turned out to be good timing because they won their first American League pennant in 40 years that season.
William Louis Veeck left his mark on major league baseball with all kinds of attention-grabbing stunts, some appreciated by his fellow owners, some not. One that drew the ire of many was while owner of the St. Louis Browns he had a midget pinch-hit. But other “gimmicks” have become standard baseball attractions. He introduced the exploding scoreboard, fireworks displays, Fan Appreciation Day, and player's names on uniforms. And there is one baseball attraction Veeck had a hand in – literally – that has become an endearing highlight of one of baseball’s great ballparks.
As a teenager he helped plant the ivy on the outfield wall of Wrigley Field when his father, William Sr. was president of the Cubs. Many say the ivy was young Bill’s idea.
Wrigley Field, Chicago
, December 17, 1975
Bill Grimes is a member of SABR (The Society for American Baseball Research)