• The Continuing Attempt To Educate A Montreal Expos Fan About D.C. Baseball History:
When "The Old Fox" Clark Griffith died on October 27, 1955, the Washington Senators team he had owned a part of since 1919 was taken over by his son Calvin Griffith who wrote an article in the Washington Post (as recounted by Washington Post writer William Gidea in an article entitled "Leaving for the Last Time" upon Calvin's death) about how he was determined to keep the Senators in D.C., which had been his home for over three decades:
Calvin Griffith: "'I have lived in Washington, D.C. for about 35 years. I attended school here and established many roots here. The city has been good to my family and me. This is my home. I intend that it shall remain my home for the rest of my life. As long as I have any say in the matter, and I expect that I shall for a long, long time, the Washington Senators will stay here, too. Next year. The year after. Forever.'"
"Forever" turned out to be about five years. The Old Fox's son made a deal with the city of Minnesota and after the 1960 season, moved a soon-to-be-competitive Senators team to the Twin Cities. The American League, under pressure from Congress, and the threat of a new league starting out of NY, expanded in 1960, adding two teams; a new Washington Senators team and new club in Los Angeles called the Angels. Since the younger Griffith (who was Clark Griffith's nephew not his son) took the entire roster of the first Senators with him to Minnesota where they became the Twins, the second Senators' roster was filled by way of an expansion draft in which each MLB team made seven players from their "Active Roster" and eight players from the 40-Man roster available to the Angels and Senators.
With their 14th selection, the 27th overall pick of the 1960 Expansion Draft, the Los Angeles Angels selected Detroit infielder Orville Inman "Coot" Veal, a then-27-year-old, three-year vet out of Sandersville, GA and Auburn University, who'd put up a .247/.313/.311 slash line in 177 games and 611 at bats with the Tigers. Washington, who'd picked Cleveland Indians' infielder Ken Aspromonte (who'd played in Washington from '58-60) 26th overall, then traded the former Senator to LA for the slick-fielding Veal, (who'd finish his career with a .976 fld%). Veal would end up being the second-Senators' Opening Day shortstop the following season. On April 10, 1961, Coot Veal led off for the Senators in Griffith Park, singling by third base off one-time Original Senators' starter Early Wynn, (a future Hall of Fame pitcher) who was less formally known as "Gus". Veal moved to second on a one-out single by right fielder Marty Keough and scored the second-Senators' first run on a two-out triple off Wynn by Senators' left fielder Gene Woodling.
Veal would play just one season in the nation's capital, appearing in 69 games under manager Mickey Vernon, while splitting time at short with Bob Johnson who would take over the role for Washington the next fall. Veal hit in just 44 of 218 at bats as a Senator, then on November 21, 1961 the Pittsburgh Pirates purchased Coot Veal's contract from Washington ending his time with the Senators, but he goes down in D.C. Baseball history as the owner of the first hit in the history of the District's second of three major league teams.