The Star: Eddie Gaedel, a 3’7″ midget.
The Headline: “Small Man in Big Leagues: A Veeck Stunt.”
What Happened: It was a Sunday doubleheader with the Detroit Tigers on
August 19, 1951, and the St. Louis Browns were celebrating the 50th
anniversary of the American League. Between games, Brown owner Bill Veeck
wheeled a huge cake out onto the field, and out popped Eddie Gaedel,
wearing a Browns uniform with the number 1/8 on it. During the first
inning of the next game, Gaedel popped out of the dugout and informed the
umpire he was pitch hitting.
Challenged, Veeck produced a valid contract. Pitching is difficult as it
is, but a 3’7″ person has a strike zone of about 18 inches. Gaedel walked
on four straight pitches. He then left for a pitch runner.
Aftermath: Gaedel made a quick 100 dollars for his appearance, and
American League president Will Harridge issued a solemn declaration
barring midgets from baseball, and warning Veeck not to try any similar