On February 18, 1943; New York businessman William Cox bought the Philadelphia Phillies Major League franchise for $46,850 from the National League. However, what is said to be the real story behind the purchase was the attempt of Bill Veeck to buy the team and stock it with African American players from Negro League baseball.Veeck believed he had negotiated a deal to purchase the financially ailing franchise from former Phillies owner William Nugent. Planning to use the team to integrate the Major Leagues and win the National League pennant, Veeck supposedly lined up Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, Ray Dandridge, Willie Wells, and others to play for his team.
To get ahead of any premature leak of what he thought was a closely guarded plan; Veeck explained it to Major League Baseball’s Commissioner Landis in New York and then took either an overnight train to Chicago or went back to Philadelphia depending on different versions of the story. However; wherever he was the next day, Veeck was shocked to discovered the Phillies had been sold to the National League! The team was then sold to Cox for half of the purchase price Veeck had offered. The sale killed Veeck’s reported plan. It would be another four years, 1947, before the Major Leagues are finally integrated.
What Major League franchises did Bill Veeck own in the 1940’s – 1980’s?