Legendary White Sox owner Bill Veeck was born his date (Feb. 9) in 1914.
He became a hero to me about 62 years later.
In late June of 1976, I received a personalized letter from Veeck dutifully answering the questions I had mailed to him a week or two earlier.
I have preserved the letter, pictured above accompanied by a shot of “Barnum Bill” I clipped from a Sox media guide, in a scrapbook that has followed me throughout my life.
I love this letter.
As a 10-year-old without any resources at my fingertips, I asked Veeck to fill in the blank spaces of Jim Spencer’s career. In addition, I wanted Bill to hear me out on hot prospect of the day Nyls Nyman.
I obviously complimented the Sox on the new uniforms Veeck had brought on board for 1976 — which was the first season of his second ownership stint with the Sox.
I can also deduce from this letter that my handwriting heading into my middle school career wasn’t great. My late name is Marran, not Marvan as it says on the letter. I chalk that up to my “iffy” penmanship.
I recently came across a Sox Facebook group which had a couple of letters like these and anecdotes about how Veeck was so fan friendly he would get on the telephone and answer fans questions.
It’s no wonder he endures as one of the most popular figures in White Sox history.