The last time you looked in on BillVeeck, bless his entertainment-loving soul, the ebullient president of the Chicago White Sox might easily have been holding a milking contest for baseball players in the middle of Comiskey Park or conducting a descent of midgets, via helicopter, as if to signify what might happen to baseball if the men from Mars, or some other outriders of a fourth major league, should suddenly arrive on this planet. But, if you will remember, Veeck has usually kept his fundamental principles crisp. "A ball park should be run for the fans," says Veeck, defending a consumer-first philosophy as open as his shirt collar.
The news is that Bill Veeck has been thinking about the World Series, which opens in his ball park in a few days, and he has thought up a ticket procedure which entitles him to call the Chicago phase of the Series "The World Series of the Common Fan."
The custom, of course, has been for pennant-winning teams to sell Series tickets in blocks on a first-come-first-served basis. This is administratively easy, says Veeck, but unfair to the average fan because it turns the Series too much into a sporting event for the corporations that get to the windows fastest with the mostest in behalf of customer-guests whose entertainment can be written off on expense accounts. And what about the fellow who has boiled in the bleachers through the summer and would like to get just one ticket? Veeck mourns for him and promises that things will be different in Chicago. Here is what he has done.
First Veeck has limited each ticket order to a maximum of two seats for one game only. Then, using a survey taken during the regular season of where Sox fans come from, he is allocating a percentage of tickets to each area of White Sox fandom (South Side Chicago, North Side, suburbs, etc.) based on this-season attendance. Ticket applications (more than 300,000 so far) are being classified by area and will next be drawn from baskets, lottery fashion, by an 11-man, Veeck-selected citizens' committee which includes in its membership Richard A. Aishton, president of the Continental Illinois Bank and Trust Co., Ben Amsterdam, a retired streetcar conductor, and, it says here, William V. Kahler, president of the University of Chicago. South Side fans make up 65% of White Sox fandom, Veeck figures; so the South Side gets 65% of the tickets.
What about VIPs? Says Veeck, and we cheer: "The vvvvips, the very, very, very, very important persons, are the ones who supported the team all season."