Over at Baseball Prospectus today, Tim Marchman writes a piece about Bill Veeck that isn’t like any piece you’ve read about Bill Veeck. It’s partially about Chicago (where Marchman lives and Veeck lived) but mostly about Veeck’s forays into way ahead-of-its-time baseball television.
One of the things he did was a pilot for a show called “Bill Veeck’s Front Office,” which was filmed in 1951. The premise: Veeck talking about baseball. That’s pretty much it. Here’s the transcript of Veeck’s introduction:
“I suppose I should introduce myself,” he says. “My name’s Veeck, Bill Veeck, and I’m figuring on being here every evening to run over the ball scores and to give you a little information that you may or may not have noticed during the ballgame, something possibly that the papers have missed, or your radio commentator. Of course I, being very egotistical, believe I’m eminently qualified to do this thing, because I’ve been in baseball all my life.
Except for the phrase “because I’ve been around baseball all my life,” it pretty much describes my And That Happened features. Although I’d bet anything that Veeck’s version would be way better. If I had some sort of affiliation with a sports broadcast network looking to expand its content base, I’d propose that they do something like that, complete with Veeck’s idea of having an open bar going while the baseball chatter ensues. Oh well, what can you do?
Marchman goes on to describe that and other media ventures by Veeck, with links to various clips of them over at mediaburn.org, where they live. But really, you should read Marchman’s piece before simply watching the clips, because he gives it the background and flavor that’ll make it way more worthwhile.
People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.
That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”
The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.
In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?
The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.
My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.
If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.
Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.
So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?