Perhaps the best book written about baseball in 2012 was written in 1962.
The title of this article isn’t completely true. In fact, it’s mostly false: I learned a lot of things I needed to know about baseball before I’d ever heard of Bill Veeck. But if one wanted to learn about baseball, and if one were to start from scratch, reading a book about Bill Veeck—or even better, a book by Bill Veeck—wouldn’t be a bad way to begin.
Bill Veeck, I think, would have been a BP subscriber. Not just because he had an instinctive urge to read everything he came across, though that wouldn’t have hurt. Mostly because he liked to take on tradition. “Thinking about it,” he wrote, “it seems to me that all of my life I have been fighting against the status quo, against the tyranny of the fossilized majority rule.” In a way, BP was fighting the same fight 15 years ago. What people remember most about the Hall of Fame owner of the Indians, Browns, and White Sox are his promotions—Eddie Gaedel, the exploding scoreboard, Disco Demolition Night. But while Veeck enjoyed thumbing his nose in the face of authority, he usually had a more cerebral motive for his more adventurous experiments. He was a visionary and an innovator, and he wasn’t bound by old ways. He championed integration, westward expansion, interleague play, and a whole host of other important advances long before the other Lords of Baseball fell in line. And he frequently paid a price for his forward thinking.
How Yu Darvish escaped the fate of Gene Bearden and learned to love the rematch.
Through his first eight starts of the season, Yu Darvish had a 2.60 ERA and had struck out 10 batters per nine innings. That was the kind of production the Rangers had paid his posting fee for, but it came with a considerable caveat: through his first eight starts of the season, Darvish had yet to face a team for the second time.
Kenley Jansen isn't the first player to pitch with a heart condition, as Bill Veeck reminds us.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen hasn’t pitched since August 27th, when he suffered a recurrence of the irregular heartbeat that put him in the hospital last season. Jansen is taking blood thinners, though he may undergo a procedure called cardiac ablation over the offseason, which would allow him to go without the medication. He hopes to pitch again this month.
A treasure trove of archived video fosters appreciation for the wit and wisdom of the late, great Bill Veeck.
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Some big-league themes deserve big-screen treatment.
So, last night was Oscar time, and no doubt many of you watched intently. Maybe it's because we're in the opening weeks of spring training, and maybe it's because we've come up short on the great baseball movie front for several years now, but my mind immediately turned to the films we'd like to see, not the ones that are getting made.
We already know that the concept of doing a movie about Mike Kekich, Fritz Peterson, and baseball's most infamous challenge trade is a concept already associated with names like Affleck and Damon—not Johnny—in an attempt to try and beat the story into shape. Somehow, I expect there won't be a lot of baseball in what's supposed to be a baseball movie—not least because Kekich's career didn't have a lot longer to go by the time the two men swapped wives and lives. To my way of thinking, that's exactly what I don't want from a sports movie—a film short on actual sports, because without that, why shoot it?
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Like the Mafia, or bandits like the Dillinger Gang, baseball is organized into loosely affiliated families and crews. Buddy Bell was an old associate of the Hart caporegime, so when he was out of work, he could fall in with some of his old partners in crime in Cleveland.