In 1935, while Veeck was with the Cubs, the club handed out promotional mirrors to fans in the bleachers, who then reflected sunlight at opposing batters.
In Milwaukee, Veeck installed a sliding outfield wall addition that could be rolled out when opponents came to the plate.
Of his 1948 Cleveland Indians, he said, "We went on to win the pennant by resorting to gamesmanship -- the art of winning without really cheating -- as never before in the long and sometimes devious history of baseball."
The club's groundskeepers manipulated the height of the mound (fireballer Bob Feller liked it tall) the thickness of infield grass at various positions (shortstop Lou Boudreau liked it dense to slow the ball down) and the slope of the baselines (toward the field to help the team's bunters).
Crowed Veeck, "We had in Cleveland the Michelangelo of the groundskeepers, Emil Bossard." Bossard's son, Marshall, was the team's spy in the scoreboard.
Veeck's heirs persisted in finding new methods to the craft.
In the late 1980s, opponents suspected Minnesota of manipulating vents in the Metrodome to produce tailwinds when the Twins were batting and headwinds when opponents reached the plate. The 1987 team, coincidentally or not, maintained one of the great home-field advantages in history, winning the World Series despite having a losing record on the road and being outscored for the season.
Dick Ericson, the former Metrodome superintendent, confirmed the vent manipulation to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in 2003.
Basketball and football have endured their share of shenanigans as well.
In 1982, a driving New England blizzard rendered the Miami Dolphins' and Patriots' offenses useless ... until Mark Henderson, a convict on work release, used a John Deere tractor to clear a patch for the Patriots' John Smith to kick the winning field goal.
"I figured, `What's the most they could do? Put me in jail?'" Henderson quipped to reporters.
In more recent years, opposing players have accused the New York Giants of opening and closing stadium doors to create unfavorable wind currents for opposing field-goal kickers.
Can't stand the cheat?
In the NBA, Red Auerbach holds dual reputations as history's greatest coach and its greatest creator of home-court legs up. On hot days, Auerbach's equipment manager cranked temperatures in the visitors' dressing area to hellish extremes. On cold days, he left windows propped open, turned the heat down and distributed already-wet towels to the visitors.
Celtics players learned the dead spots on Boston Garden's parquet floor (the result of cracks in the cement beneath created by passing trains) so they could steer opponents into game-changing turnovers.
Boston was hardly alone in the NBA of the 1950s, when fans in cities such as St. Louis, Syracuse and Philadelphia created truly hostile environments for opponents, pelting players and coaches with coins, eggs and harsh words.
Crowds have grown less belligerent, but Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made headlines last season when he urged fans to distract opposing free-throw shooters by waving their white ThunderStix in unison rather than chaotically. Cuban made the suggestion on advice from Daniel Engber, a fan with a master's degree in neuroscience who claimed the unified action would make opponents feel that the whole arena was moving.
In the college game, Duke's crowds at cramped Cameron Indoor Stadium carry the torch for creative hostility.
When Maryland's Herman Veal was accused of sexual abuse in the 1980s, the Cameron Crazies showered the court with panties and held up signs reading "Hey Herm, Did You Send Her Flowers?" When North Carolina guard Steve Hale returned after a punctured lung, he was greeted by chants of "In-Hale, Ex-Hale."
Of course, home-field advantage isn't limited to the major sports.
Earlier this year, water-skier Jim Michaels, hosting a tournament at his home lake, rigged a system of underwater cables that changed the positions of buoys as he made his slalom runs. "My competitive zeal got the better of me and clouded my judgment," said Michaels, a Wisconsin dentist, upon admitting his crime.
His reward for such ingenuity? A six-year suspension and the striking of all his records. Perhaps he'd have fared better in baseball.