Eddie Gaedel Recognized in Congress, Sept. 9th

Tom Keefe, the founder and President of The Eddie Gaedel Society, sent me this note that little Eddie Gaedel, the vertically challenged hitter who drew a walk in his only time at bat for the St. Louis Browns back on August 19, 1951 has now been acknowledged in the Congressional Record. On September 9, 2016, Rep. Denny Heck of Spokane, Washington spoke eloquently in his behalf before Congress as an American icon whose accomplishment is both worthy of preservation, but also deserving of even higher honor. The transcript of those remarks follows below.

Now, wait a minute! – Who said our Congress isn’t busy tending to the critical needs of their constituencies?

____________________

Eddie Gaedel Batting For the St. Louis Browns Sportsman's Park, St. Louis August 19, 1951

Eddie Gaedel Batting
For the St. Louis Browns
Sportsman’s Park, St. Louis
August 19, 1951

 

CELEBRATING ‘‘EDDIE GAEDEL DAY’’

 HON. DENNY HECK

 OF WASHINGTON

 IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Mr. HECK of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I rise to call the attention of my House colleagues to one of the most unusual careers in our national pastime of baseball, one that began and ended with just one trip to the plate at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis on August 19, 1951. In the bottom of the first inning, during the second game of a Sunday afternoon doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers, the St. Louis Browns sent a pinch hitter to the plate, 3′ 7′′ Eddie Gaedel, whose 65 pound weight made him the shortest and lightest player in Major League Baseball history.

Wearing the uniform of the Browns nine year old batboy, Eddie drew a walk on four straight pitches from Detroit pitcher Bob Cain, and was replaced by a pinch runner. His one day professional baseball career came to an abrupt halt several days later when American League president Will Harridge voided Gaedel’s contract. Nevertheless, his place in baseball history was preserved in the record books as one of the only players to have a perfect 1.000 on base percentage for his entire career. Eddie Gaedel’s autograph is now worth more than Babe Ruth’s, and the bat he used in the game recently sold at auction for over fifty thousand dollars.

St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck promised Eddie Gaedel immortality when he signed him to a contract to play for the Browns. In Spokane, WA, an organization works annually to help Eddie achieve the immortality he was promised. Founded in 2011 at O’Doherty Irish Grille and Pub, the Eddie Gaedel Society, Spokane Chapter No. 1 has launched a national campaign to make each August 19th ‘‘Eddie Gaedel Fan Appreciation Day’’ in ballparks everywhere. The club is also seeking Eddie Gaedel’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, where his jersey bearing the number 1/8 was displayed for many years before being returned to St. Louis, where it now hangs in the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum. I am a proud honorary member of that organization.

Several years ago, Spokane Mayor David Condon declared August 19, ‘‘Eddie Gaedel Day’’ and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay did so this year, the sixty-fifth anniversary of Eddie Gaedel’s one day, four pitch baseball career. In addition, the St. Louis Cardinals have made their home game on Friday, September 9, ‘‘Eddie Gaedel Bobblehead Night,’’ and will give away thirty thousand of the miniature statues of baseball’s smallest player to fans who attend their home game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Of particular note is the fact that the St. Louis Browns batboy who literally gave Eddie Gaedel the shirt off his back in August of 1951 so he could go to bat, Bill DeWitt, Jr., is now principal owner of the St. Louis Cardinals. His son, Bill DeWitt III, is the team president. The DeWitt family’s involvement in professional baseball in both St. Louis and other cities stretches back over one hundred years. Bill DeWitt, Sr. sold the St. Louis Browns to Bill Veeck only weeks before Eddie came up to bat, and was serving as the team’s general manager at the time.

Several days after his one day career ended, Eddie Gaedel told a sportswriter ‘‘Any young fellow dreams of being a big leaguer—and that’s what I consider myself. I’ve got a Browns uniform with No. 1/8 on the back, a glove, and a contract. I’ve spent all my life in Chicago and never played ball, but I’ve always wanted to. I made up for it by becoming a red hot fan. I’ve followed the game for years.’’

Mr. Speaker, Eddie Gaedel was the one and only red hot fan who ever appeared in a Major League Baseball game, drawing a walk to first base and into the record books. On this sixty-fifth anniversary of his historic achievement, I join with his many fans in Spokane, St. Louis, and around the baseball world in a tip of the cap to the immortal Eddie Gaedel.

Take a walk, Eddie.

____________________

eagle-0range
Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

 

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3 Responses to “Eddie Gaedel Recognized in Congress, Sept. 9th”

  1. Tom Keefe Says:

    The record of this Congress certainly reflects numerous, bipartisan, examples of wasted time that far exceed this impassioned and eloquent tribute to a great American, the immortal Eddie Gaedel!

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Tom – Couldn’t agree more.. – Take a walk, Eddie – all the way to the stars of long overdue recognition. Am wondering – and don’t know the immediate answer. – Did AL President WIll Harridge ever express his reasons for voiding Eddie Gaedel’s contract in writing? And, if he did anchor the contract cancellation to the little big man’s 3’7″ height, can you imagine the viral civil rights actions that Harridge would find now raining down upon him for unfair and discriminatory executive action?

  2. don matlosz Says:

    At the other end of the spectrum stands Randy Johnson at 6’11
    .Congress has failed to recognize his stature

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