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VEECK AS IN BROKE?
Reports from Chicago indicate that Bill Veeck and the White Sox may be in fairly deep trouble. Before Veeck and his syndicate bought the club in December of 1975, the Sox were on the verge of moving to Seattle. Veeck's purchase saved the team for Chicago, but, if you recall the maneuvering before the sale was consummated, he and his partners stretched themselves financially in buying the Sox. They were then blindsided by the astonishing surge in salaries brought on by the free-agent draft. The White Sox were not at all competitive in going after free agents, and they have had trouble signing players they do have. Veeck invoked the renewal clause with several players who refused to sign, which automatically extends their contracts for one more season at a 20% reduction in salary (this could save the Sox nearly half a million dollars this year, no small amount when you consider the club's net loss in 1976 was $667,100), but after that they become free agents, too. Further, the Sox reportedly have shied away from possibly advantageous trades that would have brought high-salaried players to Chicago. In sum, the team seems badly undercapitalized, and rumors that it will move—possibly to Washington, D.C.—have revived.
"I don't know where these stories get started," Veeck said last week. "I presume it's because our bidding for free agents was not comparable to that of some other teams. But I felt it was simply unwise to spend that kind of money on those players. Cleveland gave Wayne Garland $300,000 out front, plus $200,000 for 10 years. I wouldn't gamble like that on anybody. We haven't signed all our players, and that creates the impression that we haven't got any money. We have money. The real reason we haven't signed everybody is that we try not to spend it foolishly. I think we'll do better with our theory in the long run. What we are trying to do is stay in business, which means conserving."
Asked about the possibility of losing those players who have decided to play out their options, Veeck says, "They're mine this year. I'll worry about next year when it comes."
CATCH A WAVE?
Fans browsing through the program during the opening round of the Eastern College Athletic Conference basketball championships in Syracuse, N.Y. were startled to read that "St. Bonaventure University was founded 750 years ago by St. Francis of Assisi." But Tom McElroy, public-relations director for the Bonnies, was delighted. He gleefully points out that the ECAC program note makes St. Bonaventure the oldest university in the country. "Before Harvard," he says, "before the Pilgrims, before Columbus, there was St. Bonaventure, out in the wilds of western New York."
McElroy concedes that some people continue to believe that the school was founded in 1856 by a group of Franciscan friars, 630 years after the death of St. Francis, founder of their order. To these doubters McElroy says, read the program. Would the ECAC lie?
Maury Wills' son Bump (page 24) is only one of several youngsters coming up in baseball whose fathers played in the major leagues. Dale Berra, Yogi's 20-year-old, was in the Pittsburgh Pirates' training camp this spring—"I'll play Dale nine innings against the Yankees and see who Yogi [now a Yankee coach] roots for," said Pirate Manager Chuck Tanner—but will spend another summer in the minors. Tim Murtaugh, whose father Danny was the Pirate manager, manages the Pirate farm in Columbus, Ohio. Another Pittsburgh farm hand is Pitcher Rick Peterson, whose father Hardy caught for the Pirates in the '50s.