Gaedel Rocks Spokane! Fiers Lights Houston!

Commissioned by the Eddie Gaedel Society,

Commissioned by the Eddie Gaedel Society, “Take A Walk Eddie” is the inspired work af Vancouver, BC artist and devoted Blue Jays fan Jennifer Ettinger – and it was presented August 19th to the roaring approval of the crowd at O’Doherty’s Irish Pub and Grille in Spokane, WA..

Friday night, August 21, 2015, was a night in which everything landed at once at The Pecan Park Eagle. – Beautiful news of the Eddie Gaedel Society annual meeting in Spokane on August 19th came soaring home in droves from Society President Tom Keefe – and at just about the same time all of us in Houston were sitting through, sweating out, and finally celebrating Astros pitcher Mike Fiers, 3-0, no-hit shut out of the Los Angeles Dodgers to handle, At one point, the two stories even crossed paths with each other here for me at home, but we will get to that.

First, to a brief but luminously beautiful report from Spokane about the party in Spokane I had to miss because of the damn shingles that I am still trying to shake. I am no longer totally reptilian in facial appearance, and I’m not contagious, but I am still having trouble opening my right lid as a 1.5 eyed-cat with occasional sensations of ants crawling on my face, just beneath the surface of the skin. My doctor explained that shingles is basically a neurologically attacking virus that causes the brain to misunderstand some of the data it receives – and, as result – I get to live briefly with the same kind of misread brain reports that earned the notorious Bugsy Siegel his nickname on the way to a bitter violent end. I am hopeful of skipping the last part.

At one point late Friday, I broke away from the televised version of the drama at MMP here in Houston to e-mail Tom Keefe with a question about the August 19th meeting. Without either of us saying a prior word about it, Tom shot back this response to my question: “ONE OUT AWAY! Stay tuned!”

Simpatico! Tom just knew what I had been watching in real time!

One windmill swinging strikeout later, I replied to Keene’s Houston/no-hitter supportive urging:

“Destiny Done Pumped our tires,

 Flying in as Michael Fiers,

 Houston Couldn’t Get Much Higher,

 C’mon, Astros, Light Our Fires!”

Once the game was over and the Astros 11th no-hitter in history was in the bag. Keefe responded to my question about the first performance of “The Ballad of Eddie Gaedel” as the Eddie Gaedel’s new Anthem for the Ages:

“The Ballad of Eddie Gaedel was a big hit. The crowd went wild, much like tonight’s crowd in Houston!”

The digital video of the August 19th performance of the Anthem is still being prepped for distribution. Once we receive our copy from Tom Keefe, we will all be able to watch it here together for the first time. I’m just pleased to hear that it was so well received.

Artist Jennifer and Gaedel Society President Mike Keene unveiling

Artist Jennifer and Gaedel Society President Tom Keefe unveiling “Take A Walk Eddie” on August 19, 2015 at O’Doherty’s Irish Pub and Grille in Spokane at the 4th Annual Meeting of The Eddie Gaedel Society.

Here’s a link to how the Spokane Spokesman-Review covered the story of The Gaedel Society meeting:

There are now four chapter sites for The Eddie Gaedel Society: Chapter # 1 is located in Spokane, WA; Chapter # 2 is at the Eddie Gaedel Pub in Elburn, IL;  Chapter # 3 in LA held its first annual meeting at Griffin of Kinsale’s in Pasadena; and  Chapter # 4 was only recently designated in Evergreen Park, IL, where Eddie Gaedel is buried, and it operates under the stewardship of Rich Bird.

Broadly stated, the goal of The Eddie Gaedel Society’s is getting Eddie Gaedel inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The first two problems are these: (1) There currently are no provisions for inducting anyone into the Baseball Hall Fame whose only official connection to organized baseball has been one time at bat in the big leagues; and (2) The Baseball Hall of Fame doesn’t respond very well to battering ram approaches at the front door.

As an invited member of The Eddie Gaedel Society, I certainly do not presume to speak for the organization, but I do think that there is a step that the Society should consider, and maybe they already have. I am new, however, – and too far removed from Spokane to presently know the Society’s plan, but I will offer this notion as a suggestion.

The Case for a Unique Case Induction or Honors Qualification

There are some people who have made exceptional unique contributions to the history and lore of baseball that we think are deserving of the Hall of Fame’s honor – and no one deserves to be at the top of that list more than Eddie Gaedel.

This is a time to establish a dialogue path with the Hall of Fame that begins with broad thinking about the unique candidates category. What hopefully follows from amicable talk, in which people give each other the broad right to disagree, is some kind of sane plan for making sure that people like Eddie Gaedel are duly honored with the Hall’s official commitment to their perpetual memory.

It’s a place to start. And it takes into account that there presently is no path for unique contributors like Gaedel – and that he is not alone in this regard. And obviously, as The Eddie Gaedel Society grows, the more the chance grows that the Hall of Fame will listen to our “cries from the wilderness” and consider a forum for substantive discussion – one that, without which, nothing will ever happen.

We have to work for the possible over a plan of action that is dedicated to the long haul of substantive change at the Hall itself.

If we are not willing to do that, than any kind of lighted torch approach at the gate will only lighten the sky – and not enlighten the minds of those we may be trying to reach.

All I know from my brief long-range exposure to Tom Keefe is that he is a man of great passion and caring for the game, a fellow of action who kicks up the dust of baseball history for the sake of bringing a higher level of equity to those he feels have been ignored far too long by the game’s hallowed institution of honor, the Hall of Fame.

Maybe it’s the populist lawyer in him, maybe it’s part of being the son of a judge, maybe it’s growing up in the west, or maybe it’s just the basic decency that exudes from him – even by electronic long distance – that makes him convey a certain Lone Ranger archetype searcher quality about his efforts. Whatever it is, Tom Keefe’s got it, and he is not going to give up on his pursuit of justice for Eddie Gaedel until equity prevails.

Stay tuned!

As for Mike Fiers, I can’t say much that already hasn’t been covered beautifully by this morning’s Houston Chronicle, but I will close with one more note to the man himself:

 “Dear Mike – Congratulations on becoming the 5th MLB no-hit pitcher in 2015; thanks for throwing the 11th no-hit game performance in franchise history; great job on your first career complete game, and, wow, what a way to land your first official win as an Astro. – Everyone in the Houston baseball family is both proud of you and happy for you. Thank you for bringing your great talents to the side of our good guys!” – The Pecan Park Eagle

When I signed off with Tom Keefe last night, I left him this note about our wonderful Houston Friday night:

“Yes, Tom, the stars tonight – are big and bright,

Deep in the Heart of Houston!”

 Hail, Eddie!

 Hail, Astros!


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4 Responses to “Gaedel Rocks Spokane! Fiers Lights Houston!”

  1. Bill Christine Says:

    Thanks, Bill, for the update. Fiers’ no-hitter brought back memories. My wife and I were at Yankee Stadium the night six Astros’ pitchers no-hit the Yankees. A semi-tumbling catch by Lance Berkman in left field midway through the game was the only thing close to a hit. We rode the subway into Manhattan afterwards, and on our car were a couple, obviously from Houston, with their two young sons. They were walking on air. Hard to believe that was 12 years ago. My wife had the shingles several years ago, so she can relate. We sang your song Wednesday night in South Pasadena, of course, but I’m sure there are better renditions. Get well, and best regards.

  2. Tom Hunter Says:

    Bill, you began this column by writing that “everything landed at once.” For me, Friday’s joy began with my hometown of Pearland’s win over Oregon in the Little League World Series, followed that night by the Astros’ Mike Fiers’ no-hitter against the Dodgers. A Red Letter Day.

    I’ll be working the “Previous” button on my remote today as the ‘Stros go for the sweep against Kershaw and Pearland plays Bonita, California in the LLWS on ABC.

  3. emmettmcauliffe Says:

    Celebrations in St. Louis on Eddie’s annivesary:

  4. Bill McCurdy Says:

    Thank you. Tom Keefe, for the correction couplet on my erroneous identification of you as “Mike Keene” in the photo above of you and Jennifer with the Gaedel art piece.

    “My brain in pain – does stuff – I can’t – ex-plain!”

    Tom let me know of the shingles-inspired (my call) error in this four line e-mail, but still had to later tell me where the error was located:

    “In all the years that I have been
    And all the places I have seen
    Sometimes fat and sometimes lean
    Never have I been Mike Keene!”

    – Tom Keefe

    Forgive me, Tom!

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