National Press Club

NPC's own 'Mr. Baseball' Paul Dickson hits home run at Book Rap

April 25, 2012 | By Joseph Luchok |

National Press Club member Paul Dickson spoke about his new book, Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick, to a very appreciative audience at the Press Club on April 24. Like Veeck, he is doing everything he can with his clothes on to sell the book, Dickson said.

This is Dickson's first biography and writing it was very different from other types of books because getting too far into the person can destroy the person, he said. Veeck is a fascinating person and Dickson had to deconstruct him to write about him, he added.

Veeck was a master of innovation and a fountain of ideas, some of which worked and some of which failed, Dickson said.

Although best known for promotions like giving away livestock, Disco Demolition Night, or having a nylon giveaway night right after World War II, when nylons were scarce, Veeck also made lasting impact on baseball. Veeck integrated the American League when he signed Larry Doby. He was asked by the National League to prepare the West Coast for baseball. His work was a key element enabling the National League to place teams in Los Angeles and San Francisco before the American League could get teams to the coast.

The audience was very engaged in the question and answer session, all available copies of the book were purchased, and discussion among audience members continued after the event. Joe Luchok, member of the Book and Author Committee, introduced Dickson.