If history had twisted and turned in another direction, maybe the Raiders would be moving from Guaranteed Rate Field to Las Vegas.
Or, maybe the Raiders wouldn’t be moving at all.
National Football League owners voted 31-1 Monday to approve the Raiders move from Oakland to Las Vegas. The Raiders aren’t expected to play in “Sin City” until 2020, according to reports. The franchise is hoping to eventually play in a $1.9 billion stadium.
In Monday reports, it was Mark Davis, the son of longtime Raiders’ owner Al Davis, being quoted.
Could that have been Bill Veeck’s son, Mike Veeck, instead?
For a fleeting moment, it appeared White Sox owner Bill Veeck had purchased the Oakland Raiders.
The Jan. 14, 1961, Tribune aggressively reported that Veeck had bought the American Football League team for $175,000. The purpose, of course, was to get Comiskey Park to generate some revenue in the winter.
The next day, the Raiders, Veeck and the AFL denied the report.
“We would like to have a tenant for Comiskey Park in the offseason, but I wouldn’t go as far as buying Oakland to get one,” Veeck said in the Tribune.
The Tribune reported that Tommy King, a the public relations director at the Merchandise Mart, was one of Veeck’s “associates” in the deal.
Like Veeck, King said there was nothing to the report.
“I know nothing about any deal to buy Oakland,” he said in the Tribune. “However, I am interested in getting another football team into Chicago and feel there definitely a market for one.”
That was the sentiment 37 years later when the Sox, Comiskey Park and the Raiders were linked again.
In a prominent Dec. 12, 1998 story in the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said he would “love” to bring the Raiders to Chicago and that the city could support two teams.
Daley even went so far to as to suggest Comiskey Park, which had just completed its eighth season of baseball, could be remodeled for football.
Like Veeck 1961 story, there was nothing to this.
Daley said he hadn’t contacted the Raiders and a Raider executive said he was not aware of any contact between the team and Chicago.
At the time, the Bears at the time were looking at suburban stadium sites, which may have prompted Daley’s comments.
The strongest connection between the Sox and the Raiders is Bo Jackson.
On Jan. 13, 1991, Jackson suffered a football career-ending hip injury in an AFC playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
The injury, which occurred in a Raider loss, led to Jackson’s release by the Kansas City Royals, his other employer, on March 18, 1991, paving the way for his signing with the Sox on April 3, 1991.
With the White Sox, Jackson would make history by becoming the first man to play with an artificial hip.
He left the team after the 1993 A.L. West Division championship team as one of the more popular players in team history, a distinction he still holds.
Billy Joe Hobert, who spent one season in the Sox system after being drafted by the club, went 0-5 as the Raiders starting quarterback in 1995 and 1996.
Hobert, an outfielder, was the White Sox 16th round pick in the June 1993 draft out of the University of Washington despite never playing college baseball.
Hobert, a left-handed hitter, batted .256 with four RBIs in 15 games at the Sox Rookie League affiliate at Sarasota in 1993.
That, however, was the extent of his professional baseball career.
Hobert went on to quarterback 29 games in the NFL for Oakland, Buffalo and New Orleans between 1995 and 1998.
Hobert gained some “fame” for admitting he didn’t thoroughly prepare for a 1997 Bills’ game against New England in which two of his first three passes were intercepted. He was quickly cut.
References: http://archives.chicagotribune.com/ …. http://m.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/1998/12/14/Franchises/OAKLAND-TO-RAID-THE-BEARS-CAVE-DALEY-FLOATS-TRIAL-BALLOON.aspx?printandclose=true … https://goo.gl/images/HPNhwn … https://www.google.com/search?q=bill+veeck+topps&rlz=1CDGOYI_enUS645US645&hl=en-US&prmd=sniv&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZvbOpmfjSAhUQ32MKHavCAYEQ_AUICSgD&biw=375&bih=591#imgrc=yBJ0zyepX5LF5M: