Bill Veeck Was No Baseball Midget

Bill Veeck, asked once for his views on religion, said: "I believe in God, but I'm not too clear on the other details."

Following are some more quotes from the maverick owner, who died Thursday at the age of 71:

On whether free agents lean toward playing in big cities: "Not really. They lean toward cash."

On fans: "I have discovered, in 30 years of moving around a ballpark, that the knowledge of the game is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats."

On why he made so many trades as the owner of the St. Louis Browns: "I always felt the more Browns I could place on the other teams, the better off we would be."

On Walter O'Malley: "He's the kind of guy Dale Carnegie would like to punch in the mouth."

On Hall of Fame shortstop Rabbit Maranville, who was known to take a drink or two: "He picked a fight with a cabbie and lost. He fought three more of them, and they all beat the hell out of him. So, I asked him what he was doing. He said, 'I'm trying to find one I can whip.' "

Add Veeck: He said, "My epitaph is inescapable. It will read: 'He sent a midget up to bat.' "

Funny thing is, he was a brilliant owner. When Cleveland won in 1948, it was the first pennant for the Indians in 28 years. When the Chicago White Sox won in 1959, it was their first pennant in 40 years. The Indians drew 2,620,627 fans in 1948, an American League record that stood until 1980, when the New York Yankees broke it.

Trivia Time: UCLA has had two undefeated football teams in its history. What did they do in the Rose Bowl? (Answer in column 2.)

John Robinson, on owner Georgia Frontiere's purchase of the remaining tickets at Anaheim to lift the TV blackout for today's game: "If we're playing lousy, can she take the tickets back and take it off TV?"

Wait a Minute: The UCLA football team wound up sixth and seventh in the final wire service polls, but in the New York Times computer ratings, the Bruins were ranked 15th. Rated 14th was Fresno State.

C'mon, gang, get serious.

Is Adrian Dantley as bad on defense as the critics say?

The Utah forward says, "If I'm supposed to be so bad, what does that say about the guy who's supposed to be guarding me ."

From UCLA quarterback David Norrie: "Maybe my greatest achievement this year was keeping a player the caliber of Matt Stevens on the bench."

Said Times columnist Jim Murray, when a fellow reporter asked him at halftime Wednesday what he thought of Iowa's Ronnie Harmon, who had just lost four fumbles: "Well, he sure doesn't remind me much of Tommy."

Trivia Answer: Neither played. In 1939, UCLA (6-0-4) and USC, both undefeated, played to a 0-0 tie, and the Trojans got the Rose Bowl bid because they had only two ties that season, while the Bruins had four.

In 1954, UCLA (9-0) couldn't go because of the no-repeat rule then in effect. Runner-up USC went to the Rose Bowl and lost to Ohio State, 20-7. The Buckeyes were voted national champions by the Associated Press, while the Bruins won the United Press International poll. That season, UCLA beat USC, 34-0.

Quotebook

Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears, on teammate William (The Refrigerator) Perry: "He can run the ball, he can catch the ball and he can pass the ball. And if he gets mad, poof, the ball is gone."

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