Mike Veeck Story

Fun. Creative. Unorthodox. Successful. Those are all words that describe businessman and sports enthusiast Mike Veeck.
Veeck came to Lindenwood University this past week to talk to a group of students about his life and career as an owner of several minor league baseball teams.
Veeck comes from a baseball family. His grandfather, William Veeck Sr., was the president of the Chicago Cubs. Veeck Sr. was also known for planting the famous ivy around the walls of Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs. Veeck’s father, William Veeck Jr., owned several major league franchises such as the St. Louis Browns, Cleveland Indians, and the Chicago White Sox.
As an owner, Veeck lives by the slogan, “Fun is Good.” He feels like his employees and co-workers respond better to something they enjoy doing.
Veeck stressed several key points that have helped him become the owner he is today. He said you must to have passion, have creativity, and have a good team around you.
“If you love it, you will be great at it. 80 percent of what we accomplish in a day, we do in 20 percent of the time,” said Veeck. Veeck stressed that whatever you do; you need to follow your heart.
Next, Veeck said that you need to have creativity. One of Veeck’s teams, the St. Paul Saints has high attendance because of some of the quirky stunts that go on during the game. Mimes giving instant replay, nuns giving massages in the stands, and a blind play-by-play announcer are just a few. Veeck’s creativity leads to an increase in attendance for his teams.
Disco Demolition was another great example of Veeck’s creativity. In July of 1979, the Chicago White Sox were scheduled to have a double header against the Detroit Tigers. Veeck’s father told him to come up with idea for between games or he was going to be fired.
With little time to think, Veeck came up with the idea that people would get discounted tickets if they brought a disco record to be destroyed on the field. “39,000 people lined up clutching their Donna Summers records,” said Veeck.
The event exploded. 68,000 people filled Comiskey Park, home of the White Sox, and the stadium only seated 49,000. The event was so insane that Veeck became responsible for only the fourth forfeit in Major League history.
Lastly, Veeck said how important it was to have a good team, and hire people you can count on. “You need to build a team you can be proud of. I hired 10 of the best people I could find, none of whom had baseball knowledge. I found a home-health care lady to revolutionize the customer service business,” said Veeck.
Veeck’s team in St. Paul, the Saints, opened in 1993. The team is located only seven miles away from where the Minnesota Twins play. “20 years later, the Saints are still doing 99 percent occupancy with five dollar tickets,” said Veeck. The Saints attract so many people because the fans have fun while they are there.
Mike Veeck is successful because he enjoys what he does. Although it may be an unorthodox way of running a baseball team, it works.

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