Niagara Gazette

Columns

October 6, 2013

SINGER: The great age of baseball bosses

Niagara Gazette — Not long before his death Joe DiMaggio remarked that in the present environment of increasingly astronomical sports salaries, he’d have walked into the owner’s office and called him “partner.” And that’s not far-fetched, given today’s huge, multi-year contracts for players not only in pro baseball, but hockey, basketball, or football. The shoe is definitely on another foot now.

For bosses of yore were often tyrants resembling absolute monarchs of the Louis XIV type! Even great stars of bygone times used to worry like mad not only about getting a few more thou on one-year contracts, but whether they’d even be retained. And yet, there may be nostalgia around for the old-style bosses who manifested individual pizzazz, and were at best, enlightened despots able to create much interest in their franchises, and some good in the process.

Many of course have recently seen this on the big screen with Harrison Ford’s portrayal of Branch Rickey, springing Jackie Robinson to the Majors after World War II. But others come to mind as well.

A recent reissue of “Veeck: As in Wreck” concerns one of the most colorful baseball bosses, primarily of the ‘40s, ‘50s and early ‘60s, Bill Veeck, who also promoted Black players ahead of his time; and who related well to virtually everyone on the planet, drinking and talking it up day and night. Which helped blow a first marriage with two kids, but then came a strong Catholic woman, and six more offspring! And much innovative baseball success along the way, despite Marine service in World War II, leading to 36 painful operations and loss of an injured leg.

Veeck got to the top of the baseball mountain with his World Series-winning, enormously attended Cleveland Indians of 1948. Then he tried to buy control of other clubs like the Tigers, going up against rich-kid owners and being blackballed and mistreated. Finally he took the helm of Chicago’s White Sox and in 1959 helped bring them their first pennant in many years, with a team featuring more Black or Latino players than the era’s norm. Veeck also supported the idea of inter-league play well before it happened. And of hurrying up games – bigger plates one panacea, another, a count that went only to three balls (for walks) and two strikes (for outs)! And hey, why not some nuttiness, too, like putting 3’ 7” Eddie Gaedel up to bat in a game of 1951 ...

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • NIA Confer, Bob mug CONFER: A constitutional convention is not the answer For the past few years it has been popular for folks of the right persuasion (Republicans and neoconservatives) to call for a constitutional convention ("Con-Con") in hopes of passing a balanced budget amendment (BBA.) A lot of people have jumped on that bandwagon; no doubt your email inbox or Facebook news feeds have shown that.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Scheer, Mark mug CITY DESK: Hobel will be missed

    Lost in all the hoopla surrounding last week’s announced retirement of state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, was the loss of another well-known figure in local government and politics.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: More pastors, a new church and more of everything Before I go further back in time, I want to just go back to last week where I took my own advice and spent a couple of hours at the Como, where I enjoyed one of their traditional "parade of bowls and plates of great salads, pasta and meat dishes" and listened to longtime friends of Tom Darro roast him with humor, accolades and best wishes. And best of all no one who came to the microphone mentioned garbage totes or carts. It was a welcome relief.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Border Patrol chief examines deadly acts A former Buffalo police chief now has the formidable task of reviewing cases where border agents have used deadly force.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SINGER: Nostalgia for nostalgia: Where will it end? Not only has there been a huge nostalgia boom in America, but we're now getting to the point where there's much nostalgia for nostalgia! Maybe signifying that nostalgia will wear itself out, or, as in the old adage, that it ain't what it used to be?

    July 20, 2014

  • NIA Smith, Doug and Polly LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Driven to distraction by recent incidents For reasons best left unexplained, Doug drives home from Niagara Falls at twilight many nights, usually alone. It's about 10 miles, 15 minutes, from pressbox to driveway. He exits I-190 at the Beaver Island ramp, hugging its right edge in deference to any mainstream traffic, which would be coming downhill from the left at a 140-degree angle.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: Council, administrative hypocrisy, and that is the gospel truth If there isn't a walk-on resolution on the Niagara Falls City Council's upcoming last agenda before the August recess to change the zoning back to what it was prior to the South End Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission opening its hearts and doors, then the city council should just cease its hypocritical practice of even saying prayers before the meeting.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Glynn, Don mug 071714 GLYNN: Hochul retains a low profile as running mate If you're still not convinced that politics makes strange bedfellows, consider the report claiming Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has been keeping his running mate out of the spotlight.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Chiropractic doc wants to help area vets

    The idea came to her when she was running a half-marathon in June. Kristin Jacobsen is that type of person. The Pine Avenue chiropractor says she gets her best ideas when she runs. She also uses that time to pray.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Really good summer reading, still great after all these years I am always impressed by the power of the pen, or, in today's parlance; the keyboard. Words can bring joy; they can also bring sorrow; they can bring life, they can be deadly, and they can bring justice which can often deliver neither joy nor sorrow.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page