The Saint Of Second Chances: The Fascinating Story of Mike Veeck and His Impact on Minor League Baseball

The Saint Of Second Chances: The Fascinating Story of Mike Veeck and His Impact on Minor League Baseball


Directed Jeff Malmberg and Morgan Neville, and narrated Jeff Daniels, The Saint Of Second Chances tells the story of Mike Veeck, the son of Hall Of Fame baseball owner Bill Veeck. The film explores how Mike Veeck turned his second chance in baseball into a successful empire in the minor leagues, revolutionizing the presentation of games at that level.

The film begins in 1975 when Bill Veeck approached Mike with the opportunity to work with him to reacquire the Chicago White Sox, a team that Bill had previously owned. Despite their distant relationship, Mike seized the chance to prove himself and took on various roles, including helping his father with promotions and stunts, which Bill Veeck was famous for.

During his time with the underfunded White Sox, Mike came up with the idea for Disco Demolition Night in 1979, a promotion where disco records collected from the crowd were blown up during a doubleheader. The event quickly spiraled out of control as a quarter of the sellout crowd stormed the field, leading to the second game being forfeited.

After Bill Veeck sold the team in 1981, Mike experienced a period of personal struggles, including a divorce, drug and alcohol addiction, and various career attempts. However, in the early ’90s, an investor approached Mike with the idea of starting an independent minor league, and Mike jumped at the opportunity. He became the principal owner of the St. Paul Saints and used the tricks he had learned from his father to create a fun and entertaining environment for fans and players.

The film also delves into the story of Mike Veeck’s daughter Rebecca, who slowly went blind due to Retinitis Pigmentosa. Despite her visual impairment, Rebecca remained a constant presence at the ballpark and shared her father’s passion for promotion. Together, they embarked on a months-long trip across the US and abroad before Rebecca passed away in 2019 after battling Batten’s Disease.

“The Saint Of Second Chances” bears similarities to the 2014 film “The Battered Bastards Of Baseball,” which also explores the world of scrappy minor league teams.

While the extensive use of reenactments can sometimes be distracting, they work well in this film, adding to the fun and energetic atmosphere that Bill and Mike Veeck fostered during their games. Charlie Day’s portrayal of Mike Veeck and Mike Veeck’s own portrayal of his father Bill are particularly enjoyable to watch, especially in their scenes together.

Overall, the film strikes a balance between lightheartedness and heartfelt moments, portraying Mike Veeck’s larger-than-life personality and his father’s bombastic presence. It also addresses the impact of Disco Demolition Night, acknowledging its unintended implications as a repudiation of Black and gay culture at the time. The film allows Mike Veeck to reflect on this and express his regret over the incident 44 years later.

“The Saint Of Second Chances” is a captivating and enjoyable film that sheds light on an influential figure in the history of baseball and how his second chances in life and baseball became opportunities for others. It is a must-watch for any baseball fan or those interested in the impact of promotions and innovation in sports.

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