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Bill Veeck’s prosthetic leg now used in fantasy league.

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This, folks, is not a joke.

Among the comments centering around the possibility of an Oil Can Boyd return to the big leagues, one poster at Baseball Think Factory casually mentioned this amazing piece of trivia:

Bill Veeck's leg.The former-White Sox, Browns, and Indian’s owner, Veeck lost much of his leg during World War II when a piece of artillery shrapnel crushed his foot. Complications led to amputation of most of the leg and the limb eventually required a prosthetic.

That seems simple enough.

But this is Bill Veeck we’re talking about: the guy who sent Eddie Gaedel, a midget, to the plate during a regular season game; the guy who inked Satchel Paige to a one-year deal when he was somewhere in his mid-40’s; the guy who was unapologetically loyal to the “Clown Prince of Baseball,” Max Patkin.

So when it came time for Veeck to design a prosthetic, he did it his way. A to-the-death smoker, Veeck carved holes into his wooden prosthetic so he could ash out his cigarette butts. The leg became the penultimate symbol of Veeck’s non-traditional thinking, the epitome of his grand ideas.

Veeck died at age 71 after he had a cancerous lung removed.

That, too, seems simple enough.

Creepy.But his smoky, smelly prosthetic wasn’t much of keepsake for family members.

So naturally, it went up for auction.

Bob Colleary, a television writer, beat out the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not crew for its possession in 1999. He paid $8,500.

And since then, the leg has been the centerpiece of a fantasy baseball league aptly called, “Bill Veeck’s Leg.”

The league mates lug the leg to their chosen draft location and base their draft order on the order they draw paper slips out of Veeck’s leg. The league’s champion earns the “honor” of bringing the leg home, which has got to be the world’s most ridiculous championship trophy.

It’s an appropriate tribute to Veeck, to say the least.

Mike Veeck, Bill’s son, is a Mount Pleasant, SC resident and owner of the Charleston Riverdogs, the Yankee’s Single-A affiliate. My efforts to reach him have not been successful, but I’m still trying and will have an interview with him in the coming months.

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  1. tracking back Bill Veeck’s prosthetic leg now used in fantasy league…. tracking back Bill Veeck’s prosthetic leg now used in fantasy league….

    August 7, 2009 at 8:04 pm

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