Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the world. It has produced many great players over the years, ranging from Babe Ruth to Hank Aaron. But among all the great players, there is one person who stands out from the rest—the smallest person in baseball history. This person is Eddie Gaedel, who was just 3’7″ tall and weighed 65 pounds. He played one game for the St. Louis Browns in 1951, becoming the smallest professional baseball player in history.
Eddie Gaedel was born in 1925 in Chicago, Illinois. He was the youngest of six children in his family and was always the shortest. His parents were German immigrants, and Eddie was named after his father. He attended Lane Technical High School in Chicago and later joined the United States Army in 1943.
Gaedel’s baseball career began in 1951 when he was signed by Bill Veeck, the owner of the St. Louis Browns. Veeck was known for his creative promotions, and he saw Gaedel as a promotional opportunity. On August 19, 1951, Gaedel entered the game as a pinch hitter in the second inning against the Detroit Tigers. He wore a Browns uniform with the number “1/8” on the back, and he was walked on four pitches.
Gaedel’s brief appearance in the major leagues is still remembered today, and he has become an iconic figure in baseball history. His story has been featured in movies, books, and television shows, and he has become a symbol of the absurdity and ingenuity of baseball.
The Rules Change
Gaedel’s appearance in the major leagues prompted the Major League Baseball (MLB) to change its rules. The MLB quickly placed a rule that prohibited players from wearing numbers smaller than 0 and larger than 99, and the rule is still in place today.
Career After Baseball
After his brief appearance in the major leagues, Gaedel returned to Chicago and worked as a nightclub performer. He was often seen at the El Morocco Club, where he would entertain guests by playing the accordion. He continued to perform until his death in 1961.
Legacy in Popular Culture
Gaedel’s story has been featured in many popular works, including the movie “The Natural” (1984) and the television show “The Simpsons” (1997). He has also been featured in books such as “The Baseball Encyclopedia” (1996) and “The One and Only Eddie Gaedel” (2011).
The Eddie Gaedel Society
The Eddie Gaedel Society was established in 2002 to honor the memory of Gaedel and to preserve his legacy. The society holds an annual celebration in St. Louis, Missouri, and they also host an online forum where fans can discuss Gaedel’s life and career.
The Eddie Gaedel Award
The Eddie Gaedel Award is an annual award given out by the Eddie Gaedel Society. The award is presented to individuals who embody Gaedel’s spirit of innovation, creativity, and determination. Past recipients of the award include Bill Veeck and Bob Feller.
Eddie Gaedel was a unique figure in baseball history, and his legacy lives on today. He was the smallest professional baseball player in history and played one game for the St. Louis Browns in 1951. His appearance prompted a change in the rules of Major League Baseball, and his story has been featured in movies, books, and television shows. He is remembered today through the Eddie Gaedel Society and the Eddie Gaedel Award.
Eddie Gaedel is undoubtedly the smallest person in baseball history. At just 3’7″ tall and 65 pounds, he was significantly smaller than any other professional baseball player. His brief appearance in the major leagues prompted a rule change in the MLB, and his legacy lives on today through the Eddie Gaedel Society and the Eddie Gaedel Award. His story is one of innovation, creativity, and determination, and it serves as an inspiration to many.