The Hustler’s Handbook

What is the difference between a promoter and a hustler?” Bill Veeck asks. “Well, let’s look at it this way. Neither one of them is an advertiser. An advertiser pays for his space. A promoter works out a quid pro quo . A hustler gets a free ride and makes it seem as if he’s doing you a favor.”

William Louis Veeck Jr.

(February 9, 1914 – January 2, 1986), also known as “Sport Shirt”, was an American Major League Baseball franchise owner and promoter.

After marrying Mary Frances Ackerman, Veeck bought an 80% stake in the St. Louis Browns in 1951. Hoping to force the NL’s St. Louis Cardinals out of town, Veeck hired Cardinal greats Rogers Hornsby and Marty Marion as managers, and Dizzy Dean as an announcer; and he decorated their shared home park, Sportsman’s Park, exclusively with Browns memorabilia. Ironically the Cardinals had been the Browns’ tenants since 1920, even though they had long since passed the Browns as St. Louis’ favorite team. Nonetheless, Veeck made a concerted effort to drive the Cardinals out of town.

Some of Veeck’s most memorable publicity stunts occurred during his tenure with the Browns, including the appearance on August 19, 1951, by Eddie Gaedel, who stood 3 feet 7 inches tall and is the shortest person to appear in a Major League Baseball game. Veeck sent Gaedel to pinch hit in the bottom of the first of the game. Wearing elf like shoes and “1/8” as his uniform number, Gaedel was walked on four straight pitches and then was pulled for a pinch runner.

He was the man who brought a midget to home plate and explosives to the outfield of Comiskey Park. But beyond the flash, legendary owner Bill Veeck’s open-minded approach brought positive changes to the game of baseball.

On Aug. 19, 1951, a 3 foot 7 inch man named Eddie Gaedel walked to the plate as a pinch hitter for the Browns. Wearing the uniform number “1/8,” Gaedel used his miniscule strike zone to draw a walk on four pitches. He was promptly replaced for a pinch runner at first base, completing his day as the shortest man to ever play in the major leagues.

Veeck was just four years old when his father, sportswriter William Veeck, Sr., was named president of the Chicago Cubs. As a teenager, the younger Veeck learned about team management while he worked multiple jobs as a vendor, ticket salesman and junior groundskeeper.

In 1941, Veeck partnered with former Cubs star Charlie Grimm to buy the Triple-A Milwaukee Brewers. Arriving in Milwaukee with just 11 dollars in his pocket, Veeck put his creative mind to work. He gave away live animals during Brewers games, scheduled morning games for night-shift workers and staged weddings at home plate. Five years and three American Association pennants later, Veeck sold the Brewers for a $275,000 profit.

After a stint in World War II, during which he lost his right leg, Veeck sought a path into the major leagues. Devising a debenture-stock group that enabled financial backers to put the majority of their money into loans for the team, Veeck was able to become a minority owner of the Cleveland Indians for only $268,000 in 1946. Read more

After the 1952 season, Veeck suggested that the American League clubs share radio and television revenue with visiting clubs. Outvoted, he refused to allow the Browns’ opponents to broadcast games played against his team on the road. The league responded by eliminating the lucrative Friday night games in St. Louis. A year later, Cardinals owner Fred Saigh was convicted of tax evasion. Facing certain banishment from baseball, he was forced to put the Cardinals up for sale. Most of the bids came from out-of-town interests, and it appeared that Veeck would succeed in driving the Cardinals out of town. However, just as Saigh was about to sell the Cardinals to interests who would have moved them to Houston, Texas, he instead accepted a much lower bid from St. Louis-based brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, who entered the picture with the specific intent of keeping the Cardinals in town. Veeck quickly realized that the Cardinals now had more resources than he could even begin to match, especially since he had no other source of income. Reluctantly, he decided to leave St. Louis and find another place to play. As a preliminary step, he sold Sportsman’s Park to the Cardinals.

At first Veeck considered moving the Browns back to Milwaukee (where they had played their inaugural season in 1901). Milwaukee used recently-built Milwaukee County Stadium in an attempt to entice the Browns. However, the decision was in the hands of the Boston Braves, the parent team of the Brewers. Under major league rules of the time, the Braves held the major league rights to Milwaukee. The Braves wanted another team with the same talent if the Brewers were shut down, and an agreement was not made in time for opening day. Ironically, a few weeks later, the Braves themselves moved to Milwaukee. St. Louis was known to want the team to stay, so some in St. Louis campaigned for the removal of Veeck.

He got in touch with a group that was looking to bring a Major League franchise to Baltimore, Maryland. After the 1953 season, Veeck agreed in principle to sell half his stock to Baltimore attorney Clarence Miles, the leader of the Baltimore group, and his other partners. He would have remained the principal owner, with approximately a 40% interest. Even though league president Will Harridge told him approval was certain, only four owners—two short of the necessary six for passage—supported it. Realizing the other owners simply wanted him out of the picture (indeed, he was facing threats of having his franchise canceled), Veeck agreed to sell his entire stake to Miles’ group, who then moved the Browns to Baltimore, where they were renamed as the Orioles, which has been their name ever since. Read more

 


Edward Carl Gaedel (June 8, 1925 – June 18, 1961) was an American with dwarfism who became famous for participating in a Major League Baseball game.

Gaedel (some sources say the family name may actually have been Gaedele, which is the name seen on his gravestone) gained recognition in the second game of a St. Louis Brownsdoubleheader on August 19, 1951.Weighing 65 pounds (29 kg) and standing 3 feet 7 inches (1.09 m) tall, he became the shortest player in the history of the Major Leagues. Gaedel made a single plate appearance and was walked with four consecutive balls before being replaced by a pinch-runnerat first base. His jersey, bearing the uniform number “​1⁄8”, is displayed in the St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck, in his 1962 autobiography Veeck – As in Wreck, said of Gaedel, “He was, by golly, the best darn midget who ever played big-league ball. He was also the only one.”

Appearance
Due to his size, Gaedel had worked as a riveter during World War II, and was able to crawl inside the wings of airplanes. He was a professional performer, belonging to the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). After the war, Gaedel was hired in 1946 by Mercury Records as a mascot to portray the “Mercury Man.” He sported a winged hat similar to the record label’s logo, to promote Mercury recordings. Some early Mercury recordings featured a caricature of him as its logo.

Browns’ owner Bill Veeck, a showman who enjoyed staging publicity stunts, found Gaedel through a booking agency. Secretly signed by the Browns, he was added to the team roster and put in uniform (with the number “1/8” on the back). The uniform was that of current St. Louis Cardinals managing partner and chairman William DeWitt, Jr. who was a 9-year-old batboy for the Browns at the time.

Gaedel came out of a papier-machecake between games of a doubleheader at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis to celebrate the American League’s 50th anniversary. The stunt was also billed as a Falstaff Brewerypromotion. Falstaff, and the fans, had been promised a “festival of surprises” by Veeck. Before the second game got underway, the press agreed that the “midget-in-a-cake” appearance had not been up to Veeck’s usual promotional standard. Falstaff personnel, who had been promised national publicity for their participation, were particularly dissatisfied. Keeping the surprise he had in store for the second game to himself, Veeck just meekly apologized.

Although Veeck denied the stunt was directly inspired by it, the appearance of Gaedel was unmistakably similar to the plot of “You Could Look It Up,” a 1941 short story by James Thurber. Veeck later insisted he got the idea from listening to the conversations of Giants manager John McGraw decades earlier when Veeck was a child.

At the plate
Gaedel entered the second half of the doubleheader between the Browns and Detroit Tigers in the bottom of the first inning as a pinch-hitter for leadoffbatter Frank Saucier. Immediately, umpire Ed Hurley called for Browns manager Zack Taylor. Veeck and Taylor had the foresight to have a copy of Gaedel’s contract on hand, as well as a copy of the Browns’ active roster, which had room for Gaedel’s addition.

The contract had been filed late in the day on Friday, August 17. Veeck knew the league office would summarily approve the contract upon receipt, and that it would not be scrutinized until Monday, August 20. Upon reading the contract, Hurley motioned for Gaedel to take his place in the batter’s box. (As a result of Gaedel’s appearance, all contracts must now be approved by the Commissioner of Baseball before a player can appear in a game.) The change to that day’s St. Louis Browns scorecard, listing Gaedel and his uniform number, had gone unnoticed by everyone except Harry Mitauer, a writer for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.The Browns’ publicity man shunted Mitauer’s inquiry aside.

Gaedel was under strict orders not to attempt to move the bat off his shoulder. When Veeck got the impression that Gaedel might be tempted to swing at a pitch, the owner warned Gaedel that he had taken out a $1 million insurance policy on his life, and that he would be standing on the roof of the stadium with a rifle prepared to kill Gaedel if he even looked like he was going to swing. Veeck had carefully trained Gaedel to assume a tight crouch at the plate; he had measured Gaedel’s strike zone in that stance and claimed it was just one and a half inches high. However, when Gaedel came to the plate, he abandoned the crouch he had been taught for a pose that Veeck described as “a fair approximation of Joe DiMaggio’s classic style,” leading Veeck to fear he was going to swing. (In the Thurber story, the player with dwarfism cannot resist swinging at a 3-0 pitch, grounds out, and the team loses the game.)

With Bob Cain on the mound—laughing at the absurdity that he actually had to pitch to Gaedel—and catcher Bob Swift catching on his knees, Gaedel took his stance. The Tigers catcher offered his pitcher a piece of strategy: “Keep it low.” Cain delivered four consecutive balls, all high (the first two pitches were legitimate attempts at strikes; the last two were half-speed tosses). Gaedel took his base (stopping twice during his trot to bow to the crowd) and was replaced by pinch-runner Jim Delsing. The 18,369 fans gave Gaedel a standing ovation.

Baseball reaction
Veeck had hoped that Delsing would go on to score in a one-run Browns victory, but he ended up stranded at third base and the Tigers went on to win the game 6–2. American League president Will Harridge, saying Veeck was making a mockery of the game, voided Gaedel’s contract the next day. In response, Veeck threatened to request an official ruling on whether Yankees shortstop and reigning American League MVP Phil Rizzuto, who stood 5’6″, was a short ballplayer or a tall dwarf.

Initially, Major League Baseball struck Gaedel from its record book, as if he had not been in the game. He was relisted a year later, as a right-handed batter and left-handed thrower (although he did not play the field).Eddie Gaedel finished his major league career with an on-base percentage of 1.000. His total earnings as a pro athlete were $100, the scale price for an AGVA appearance. However, he was able to parlay his baseball fame into more than $17,000 by appearing on several television shows.

Read more

$$$

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Gaedel?wprov=sft

Every game is game seven.

Blaze-Pilots Semi-Finals ScorecardGame seven is the final game of a best of seven series. This game can occur in the postseasons for Major League Baseball (League Championship Series and World Series), the National Basketball Association (all rounds of the NBA playoffs), and the National Hockey League (all rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs). Read more

Last year, the Blaze finished the regular season in last place (0-14).  There is something to be said for coming back from a large deficit.  But what about turning around your entire life?  Take Rollie Hemsley for example.  Nevertheless, we finished the 2016 season with 9 wins, 2 loses and 2 ties which was good enough for the #3 seed going into the Playoffs.

Game of the Century

Blaze-Pilots Semi-Finals Scorecard

What is particularly interesting is the fact that our team really came on strong after May 16 disappointing loss to the Bears.  We fault hard against the Royals a few days later and tied.  But, best of all, going into the playoffs we had a 4 game winning streak.

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”-Vince Lombardi

IMG_8273_1024

Final Four: Game Summary

  • Blaze took an early lead 3-1 after the 1st inning.
  • However, we gave up 7 runs in the 2nd inning and 4 runs in the 3rd inning.
  • At the end of three, we were losing 12-4 (down 8 runs).
  • Next thing you know, the Blaze came alive in the bottom of the 4th inning with 9 runs batted in during a 2 out rally.
  • In particular, Amelia smashed a 3 RBI homerun out of the park, followed by another 2 RBI homerun by Blake.  This was enough to regain the lead.
  • Blake had 3 Ks in the top of the 5th inning and Henry struck out the final batter to get the save in the top of the 6th inning.
  • Blaze win 13-12. On to the World Series Championships!
  • Arguably, the most thrilling game of the century.  At least the ONLY one that I was ever involved with that had such an amazing come from behind victory.

As a matter of fact, my very first Blog was about Victory and Defeat which I published back on April 17, 2016.  Having attended Boys Latin High School, our slogan was Esse Quam Videri.  Later in life, my favorite Latin expression became Carpe Diem after watching the movie “Dead Poet Society”.

Robin Williams, was another hero of mind.  In this scene above, he concludes by  saying,

“Thank you boys”

Keep in mind, we were one of the few teams with a girl.  And to make it more interesting, she won the MVP twice during the regular season.

So, when I sat down to write this blog, I struggled for the best title.  I love the expression, “Every game is game seven” because it remind me of the famous “One Day at a Time” proverb.  But then I thought about the Roland Park Baseball League Mission “Little League, BIG FUN! The purpose of Roland Park Baseball is to instill sportsmanship and to provide a nurturing environment, which will allow the children to mature physically, mentally, and emotionally. Further, the league strives to work with parents to develop realistic expectations of their children.”

I love U2

I continued to wrestle for a title and thought about naming it “Never forget!” If this game doesn’t build a child’s memory, I don’t know what does.  In fact, I believe that everyone that was at that game witnessed a miracle.  Speaking of miracles, listen to the following song…

Have you ever looked up the lyrics of a song?  I love U2.  They are by far, my favorite band for a lot of reasons.  Mostly because of the spiritual words in their songs.

“As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”
John 9:5  (fast forward 4 minutes and 15 seconds)

When my wife and I dated for about 10 years, she always used to say, “I love you”.  I was not ready to commit and often jokingly said, “I love U2”!

Getting back to the game, rather than clutter this blog with a bunch of images, I’ll let readers browse “Final Four” photos on their own by Clicking Here. These are some amazing candid shots by one of our parents.

Another title for this blog indicative of the drama we went through is “And now the end is near. And so I face the final curtain.”  When we started the top of the 4th inning, I started to prepare our Coaches game summary “Defeat speech”.  I told the team afterwards that I honestly thought there was no way we could come back and they all booed and hissed me, and even started throwing grass at me.

See if you can get some hidden messages in this classic…

Another possible title is “Repetition is the mother of skill.”  I am a firm believer that if you practice fielding ground balls and swinging a bat, eventually you’ll become a master.  Obviously, I love quotations and started compiling a list of my favorites about 20 years ago (Click Here).

“You can spend all your love making time”

I was listening to this song immediately following our “emotional roller-coaster”.  Do you notice the resemblance? Here are the lyrics:

“All alone at the end of the evening
And the bright lights have faded to blue.
I was thinking ’bout a woman who might have loved me
I never knew.
You know I’ve always been a dreamer
Spent my life runnin’ ’round

And it’s so hard to change
Can’t seem to settle down
But the dreams I’ve seen lately keep on turning out
And burning out and turning out the same.
So put me on a highway and show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time.
You can spend all your time making money,
You can spend all your love making time…

Take it to the limit, take it to the limit
Take it to the limit one more time.”

Check out the Wiki facts

Finally, you may be wondering what’s the point?  It’s simple.  Success is much more than just a trophy. If you play every game like it’s the last game of the World Series, field every ball like the game is on the line, get in the batter’s box with all the confidence in the world that you are going to hit a hard line drive, then you are well on your way to enjoying the purpose of life.