Cold Case: Who Killed Eddie Gaedel?

August 19, 1951: St. Louis Browns Manager Zack Taylor Ties Eddie Gaedel's Right Baseball Shoe..

The story of Eddie Gaedel’s one-time at bat as the only midget pinch hitter in big league history back on August 19, 1951 is one of baseball’s biggest travelers. We talked about it here yesterday.

A much less popular subject is the death of Eddie Gaedel nearly ten years later on June 18, 1961 in Chicago. Eddie’s mom found him dead in bed in his apartment on that date. He had a bruise and cuts near his left eye and bruises and cuts on his knees. The coroner’s report concluded that Eddie had died of a heart attack, probably caused by the trauma of physical assault upon his body in physical combat with an unknown other or others. The only fact ascertained by the police in their brief look at the case was that Eddie Gaedel may have gone to a nearby bowling alley the previous evening where he may have had too much to drink and may have either gotten into an argument at the alley or encountered an assailant on his walk home. From what I can tell, there was no real evaluation performed on Eddie’s blood contents in the sketchy post-mortem that followed. Almost everything about his death had been concluded by the Chicago police from Eddie Gaedel’s reputation as a heavy drinker and combative personality.

Since money was missing, the CPD concluded that Eddie Gaedel had been attacked and robbed, but that he was able to make it home before collapsing and dying. The “evidence” of missing money is not spelled out as a missing wallet, nor do the CPD reports jump out and say how they knew how much cash Eddie had on him in the first place.

Because of his “reputation,” the Chicago Police Department declined to investigate the death of Eddie Gaedel any further.

What? …. What?

Since when is “reputation” grounds for letting someone go off to eternity without justice while some other guilty person gets off Scott-Free of murder? Eddie Gaedel died 49 years ago this summer. It’s wholly conceivable that his murderer is still out there in the bleachers during a White Sox or Cubs games in 2010. He or she wouldn’t be particularly conscious by this late time in life, but how alert do you need to be to keep going to baseball games as a Chicago fan on either side of town in 2010?

The point here is simple: Someone got away with murder in the Case of Eddie Gaedel and that’s too bad.

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4 Responses to “Cold Case: Who Killed Eddie Gaedel?”

  1. Tom Keefe Says:

    As founder and president of the Eddie Gaedel Society, Spokane Chapter #1, I read this entrywith considerable interest. Eddie Gaedel will live forever in the hearts of baseball fans who appreciate his historic role, standing at the intersection of a great prank and the then stodgy rules of baseball. It was once said, “How you die is less important than how you live.” Eddie Gaedel lived out every American kid’s dream: a trip to the plate in the major leagues!

  2. Brian of Nazareth Says:

    Whoever did it, I’ve got a feeling that Bill Veeck was at the bottom of it.

  3. Michael Murphy Says:

    I was told Eddie suffocated to death in a South Side whorehouse.

  4. Charles Garland Says:

    Someone needs to open this cold case and investigate until his killers are brought to justice. Shame on the Chicago city and police.
    C garland

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