May 31, 2009 |
Pat Venditte, minor league baseball's switch-pitcher, hears it all too often. Fans, friends, even people with his parent club, the New York Yankees, all want to know: "How much longer will they let you pitch with both arms?" The reliever for the Class-A Charleston RiverDogs smiles for a few knowing seconds, his six-fingered black Mizuno pitcher's mitt on his knees. "The way I understand it, it's my job to prove to them that I can't do it," he said. So far, professional baseball's only righty-lefty reliever has done nothing but improve his chances of eventually becoming the Yankees' ambidextrous answer out of the bullpen.
August 19, 2001 |
Jay Edson remembers one of baseball's greatest gags as if it were yesterday. In fact, it was 50 years ago, on Aug. 19, 1951, that the late Bill Veeck, the maverick impresario of owners, sent 3-foot-7, 65-pound Eddie Gaedel to bat as a pinch-hitter for his St. Louis Browns at Sportsman's Park. That anniversary was marked by a reenactment Saturday at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Edson, 77, of Naples, Fla.
March 1, 2001 |
Mike Veeck, son of legendary baseball impresario Bill Veeck, has been named a creative consultant for the Florida Marlins. And, like his father, he'll try anything. He told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that his favorite promotion in the minors while running the St. Paul (Minn.) Saints was Mime-O-Vision Night. Instead of using instant replay, mimes stood on the dugout and re-created plays for the crowd. "Fans were stunned by the stupidity of it," he said.
November 21, 1999 |
Rebecca Veeck, 8, went to Cooperstown to see her grandfather. Looking at a photograph of Bill Veeck with Larry Doby, she took off her sunglasses and asked, "Which one is Grandpa?" Mike Veeck knew it was a matter of light and shadow. His daughter is losing her sight. Her eyes were slow to adjust to the room's brightness. Black was white, and white was black. And if for only a moment, the colors were the same--Which one is Grandpa? Mike Veeck recognized that moment. "A lovely thought," he said.
August 20, 1997 |
Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of the Chicago White Sox, has been severely criticized for saying, "Anyone who thinks we can catch the Indians is crazy," but old-timers point out that he isn't the first White Sox owner to make such a statement. "We don't have enough power to beat the Yankees," Bill Veeck said of the 1959 team at the time he bought it. That White Sox team won its first American League pennant in 40 years. But then, everybody always thought Veeck was crazy.
June 18, 1996 |
Mike Veeck, president and co-owner of the St. Paul Saints of the independent Northern League, is painting a picket fence in front of Midway Stadium. He's wearing gray sweatpants and no shirt on a warm afternoon. Libby, his wife, has a brush, as does anybody who passes by and asks. Veeck's plan for the grassy tree-shaded area enclosed by the fence is to have celebrities periodically conduct reading sessions with children during the season. "Another marketing breakthrough," he says, laughing.