As a Jeff Malmberg and Morgan Neville-directed documentary movie living up to its title in every way imaginable, Netflix’s ‘The Saint of Second Chances’ can only be described as sentimental. That’s because it delves into the tale of Michael “Mike” Veeck as he opens up regarding not just his career and family but also the innate connection between the two in a way like never before. It thus comes as no surprise his daughter Rebecca Matthews Veeck was extensively mentioned too — so now, if you simply wish to learn more about her, we’ve got the essential details for you.
Who Was Rebecca Veeck?
Born on December 12, 1991, to Mike and his supportive second wife Elizabeth “Libby” Veeck as their only child, Rebecca was admittedly the apple of their eyes in a way neither ever expected. The truth is she came into this world just as the wheels were turning for her father’s return to baseball as a legacy following his long, infamous 1979 Disco Demolition Night-stemming exile. Therefore, she quickly became his motivation and even followed in his, her grandfather’s, and her great-grandfather’s footsteps by getting involved in the sporting business at the tender age of 2.
According to reports, Rebecca’s parents favored keeping her around their St. Paul Saints independent league club rather than placing her in daycare, only for her to soon pick up their ways. In fact, she became their greeter at 2 in 1994 — she used to jump up and sweetly go ‘hi!’ every time the stadium doors opened, shortly following which fans began considering her their mascot. “[She] was so much of that team,” per the original production. “They rallied around her… Mascoting of any flavor, costumes, just her,” meaning she truly was wanted in every sense of the term.
However, the joy for the Veecks crumbled apart a little when Rebecca was initially diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at the age of 7 in 1998; it is a disease that gradually takes away one’s eyesight. “Hearing the diagnosis destroyed us as a family,” Mike once candidly revealed. “But then we saw all these heroes — parents and the children — who were going through this and had gotten support.” They hence told themselves everything would be okay since the ailment wasn’t life-threatening, yet the loving father still spent most of 1999 traveling with his little girl to show her the real world.
The family eventually settled in Charleston, South Carolina, where Rebecca continued to be a part of the baseball industry alongside her dad while also starting to dabble in other creative worlds. But alas, things changed once she turned 20 as she suddenly suffered a seizure, and it came to light she actually had Batten’s Disease, a class of fatal genetic disorders affecting the nervous system. In other words, they were told this youngster was gradually losing not only her eyesight but also her ability to think, speak, move, or do anything at all — in short, she was slowly dying.
How Did Rebecca Veeck Die?
It was on September 30, 2019, that 27-year-old Rebecca lost her battle with Batten’s Disease, yet she’d ostensibly remained passionate about baseball, ceramics, painting, and pottery to her dying day. In fact, despite her condition, this travel enthusiast, horseback rider, promotions specialist, as well as creative thinker had dreams of running her own club one day — she was her father’s daughter. Libby expressed in the film, “She was initially diagnosed for going blind. Truthfully, it’s only an act of God that we- – that she was misdiagnosed because had we known for that 11-year period, we never would have survived it.”
We should mention that her father Mike believes the same, and he also added in the documentary that “Rebecca was fearless. She just laughed it out… We [laughed] our way through the pain. She hated her cane. She hated being referred to as ‘visually impaired.’ Unless it was a show she really wanted to see, at which point she could do the ‘Pardon me sir, do you have some seats for the visually impaired? There would be three of us; my mom and dad would bring me.’ And just when she had them, because of her background around the ballpark, she’d go, ‘and parking?'”