How Close Were the Phillies to Integrating Baseball?

billveeckFlamboyant owner Bill Veeck would be turning 96 today if he were still alive. While doing a little reading on him today I made an interesting discovery…that he claimed to have almost bought the Philadelphia Phillies in 1942 and loading up the roster on Negro League stars such as Satchel Paige and Roy Campanella. However, according to this terrific 1998 article, Veeck’s claims, made in his autobiography, simply do not check out. Veeck could have certainly bought the Phillies in 1942, but he almost certainly did not have any serious negotiations with Phils owner Gerry Nugent, despite his claims that the deal was all but done. And even if he had, the prospect of integrating the team in what was a very racist city (look at what happened to Dick Allen 20+ years later) would have been almost unthinkable. Nonetheless, this is a pretty fascinating story, and I thought you guys might dig it.



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