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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Midget Gaedel walks in only MLB appearance
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com
Aug. 19, 1951
In perhaps his most outrageous stunt, St. Louis Browns president Bill Veeck sends a midget to bat. Eddie Gaedel, all of 3-foot-7, pops out of a giant-sized cake and a few minutes later is sent up to pinch-hit for the Browns' leadoff hitter in the home first inning in the second game of a doubleheader against Detroit.
When "No. 1/8, Eddie Gaedel, batting for Saucier" is announced over the loudspeaker, home-plate umpire Ed Hurley points to the Browns dugout. Manager Zack Taylor hands Hurley the official American League contract for the 26-year-old stuntman from Chicago.
Tigers left-hander Bob Cain walks Gaedel on four pitches (all high, naturally). Replaced by a pinch-runner, Gaedel bows and doffs his cap repeatedly, to the delight of a paid crowd of 18,369.
"For a minute, I felt like Babe Ruth," Gaedel says after the game.
Veeck is prepared for Gaedel thinking he was the Babe and taking some swings. Before the game he tells Gaedel, who has never played baseball in his life, not to swing. He warns him that he has placed sharpshooters on the roof who are ready to fire if he takes a cut.
Gaedel never appears in another game. Major League Baseball will bar the midget from playing again.
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