I have to admit, up until a few days ago I couldn’t tell you who Veale was. But just one look at his card from the ’69 set made me realize that he’s my new favorite player and perhaps my favorite Pittsburgh-related sports hero ever (narrowly beating out the fish that saved it and most of the non-numbers-running Crawfords). Why Bob Veale?
It’s very simple. Actually, the real answer is many-layered, but I will try to keep it as quick as I can. It’s not anything to do with his statistics, though his 2.06 ERA while posting a losing record (as a starting pitcher) in 1968 is amazing. It’s because, if there ever were a world where the nerd got the girl (without the help of a predominantly emo-influenced mainstream culture), Bob Veale would be that nerd. He was 6’6”. He was left-handed. He had a ridiculously bland crew-cut fade to hide what looks like premature balding. He wore thick hornrims… And yet here he is in his lettermen’s sweater, cocksure and set with his place in the world. Are you kidding? How can he not instantly become your favorite player? All he needs is some middle-Seventies Chuck Muncie facial hair and he could star in a bizarro-world version of the James Coburn franchise In Like Flint.
If someone had come to me to ask for money to help fund a film such as that, I definitely would’ve. No question.
Bob Veale as a suave, ladykiller-spy?
Where do I send the check?