Eddie Gaedel
Tribute by Jeffrey Sward
 
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Eddie Gaedel was catapulted into baseball immortality in 1951 by imaginative manager Bill Veeck of the St. Louis Browns. Veeck signed Eddie Gaedel to a major league contract for $100. In the ninth inning of a tied game, Veeck sent Gaedel in as a pinch hitter. Being just 3'7" tall, Gaedel was walked unintentionally on four pitches. Gaedel was subsequently replaced by a pinch runner.

Some interesting aspects of this event:

  • The umpire would not let Gaedel bat until Veeck showed the umpire Gaedel's contract.
  • There was no height requirement in major league baseball in 1951.
  • One day after the Eddie Gaedel event, a minimum height requirement was enacted in major league baseball.
  • Bill Veeck's reported instructions to Eddie Gaedel included: "I will be on the roof of the dugout with a rifle. If you even think about swinging, I will shoot you."
  • Several St. Louis Browns players were interviewed after the event. The consensus was that upon arriving in the dugout they noticed a dwarf in a uniform with number #1/8 and a toy souvenir bat. Since Bill Veeck was noted for creativity, the presence of a dwarf was regarded as a normal unnoteworthy Veeck occurrence.

Eddie Gaedel holds at least two all-time major league baseball records. Some statistics:

Eddie Gaedel (Edward Carl Gaedel)

Bats Right
Throws Left
Height 3' 7"***
Weight 65 lb.

Debut August 19, 1951
Final Game August 19, 1951

Games 1
At-bats 0
Base on balls 1
On Base Percentage 1.000***

*** All time professional major league baseball records.

 

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