Opening with the answer to a trivia question—Eddie Gaedel was the 3’7” player who took exactly one at-bat for the St. Louis Browns in the second game of a 1951 doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers (the pitcher, unable to locate the strike zone, gave up a base on balls)—this sports classic finds the subject providing color commentary to his own colorful career as a daring, innovative team owner and promoter in major league baseball. Though his most notorious years were still to come (where, with the Chicago White Sox, he introduced the exploding scoreboard, added names to the uniforms, enticed Harry Caray to sing the seventh-inning stretch, and presided over radio-jock Steve Dahl’s disastrous Disco Demolition Night, events mentioned in cowriter Linn’s afterword), there’s still more than enough inspired lunacy to keep readers’ attention. Linn captures the flavor of his subject’s speech in a first-person narrative that makes the reader feel as though he or she is sitting in Veeck’s office, where the door was always open, enjoying a strong beverage while the raconteur calls the tune. A fine portrait of days long past, when a strong-willed, one-legged showman could make a lasting impression on what has today become a much more corporate pastime. --Keir Graff
From the Inside Flap
Bill Veeck was an inspired team builder, a consummate showman, and one of the greatest baseball men ever involved in the game. His autobiography, written with the talented sportswriter Ed Linn, is an uproarious book packed with baseball history and some of the most entertaining stories in all of sports literature.