Today in Tribe History: January 2, 1986
Bob Toth | On 02, Jan 2020
Legendary baseball owner Bill Veeck passes away at the age of 71 after a battle with cancer.
Veeck changed the baseball landscape for good with his unique approach and unconventional ideas that helped to elicit social change, not just within the game of baseball, but across the country.
He began his involvement in baseball following in the footsteps of his father, who was president of the Chicago Cubs. The younger Veeck worked odds jobs with the club, including planting ivy on the walls at Wrigley Field, while never graduating high school. He purchased the minor league Milwaukee Brewers in 1941 before joining the Marines during World War II, where he lost part of his foot and later his entire leg as a result of an injury there.
Veeck purchased the Indians in 1946 and would own the club through the 1949 season, when he sold his shares of the club to finalize his divorce from his first wife. He later had ownership stakes in the St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox organizations and penned three different autobiographical books (with Ed Linn) – Veeck As In Wreck, The Hustler’s Handbook, and Thirty Tons A Day.
Five years after his death, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.