A shot is what all of them always wanted, but not all of them got. "Sometimes a player gets lost inside an organization." Veeck explains, "but even I'm surprised by some of the players we have here. Their minor league records are very impressive." Among the hopefuls are In-fielder Mike Eden, who has hit better than .300 in five of six minor league seasons but got only eight at bats in the majors with Atlanta; Outfielder Henry Cruz, who was waived by Los Angeles last season after batting .353 at Albuquerque; and First Baseman Frank Ortenzio, who was sold to the White Sox by Montreal despite hitting .311, with 40 homers and 126 runs driven in, at Denver.
The man the players want to impress most, Lemon, was not about to make any firm judgments last week. "You can't fall in love on the basis of batting practice," he said. "The jobs don't really go on the line until the exhibition schedule starts on March 10. You can't convince me by what you do in an intrasquad game."
The biggest test of all does not come until Opening Day on April 7. That is when Veeck will start to find out just how well his innovations have worked. "Two years ago we were just looking to put a team on the field," he says, "and then last season we proved we could be competitive. Now you hope that some strange discovery, some piece of luck, can take us from third to first."
For Veeck, strange discoveries are a regular part of the game.