A Favorite “Under 6′ in Height” Batting Order

“Hit ‘Em Where They Ain’t!”
– Wee Willie Keeler

One of the refreshing sidebar notes that fell from the lips of broadcasters more often than once during the 2017 World Series was the fact that a talented player did not have to be a physical behemoth to succeed quite wildly in the game of baseball. It kept coming up because the dynamic, but diminutive  Jose Altuve kept producing reasons on the field for reminding the world of this fact about the game that also plays out more like great theater and literature than any other physical sport in the world.

Want to do a little analysis of Shakespeare? Research and write a dramatic review of Games Two and Five and watch what falls into your awareness. No one else can seriously do this for us. We have to do it for ourselves to reap the harvest, but you already know the pitch and flow of really great baseball when so much is on the line. If you are an Astros fan, this 2017 World Series probably was a first for you under these states of tension. I know, there was that previous white-out by the White Sox in 2005, but that Series contained about as much suspense as a game in Alaska that plays out between the Seals and the Eskimos every winter.

The Houston-LA encounter contained every element of great drama. The pre-game jitters, the moments of fright, the turning points of momentum, the sudden game-bursting stopper and starter plays, the bombs of the bat that evened and settled all, and the rival of hope in a team that simply would not give up until both the battle and the war was won. And that club was “Houston Strong.”

At any rate, this morning I went searching my memory and Baseball Almanac for the stats of little guys that could fill out an AL starting lineup with Jose Altuve. My only requirement was that they each had to be “six feet under” – that is, for the sake of greater clarity – “under six feet in height” – just the kind of guys that the  talking sports heads are now promoting by Altuve’s incredible example in 2017 on baseball’s biggest field of dreams.

Here’s what I came up with through a very light mental swat at the cobwebs hiding the faces of a few hundred baseball cards that still exist in my mind:

A FAVORITE “SIX FEET UNDER” (In Height) LINEUP

POS PLAYER HEIGHT CLUB YEAR BA HR
DH Hack Wilson 5’06” Cubs 1930 .356 56
C Yogi Berra 5’08” Yankees 1950 .322 28
1B George Sisler 5’11” Browns 1920 .407 19
2B Jose Altuve 5”06” Astros 2017 .346 24
3B George Kell 5’09” Tigers 1850 .340 08
SS Phil Rizzuto 5’06” Yankees 1950 .324 07
LF Wee Willie Keeler 5’04 Orioles 1897 .407 00
CF Jimmy Wynn 5’09” Astros 1969 .269 33
RF Mel Ott 5’09” Giants 1929 .328 42
PITCHER HEIGHT CLUB YEAR W L
LHP Bobby Shantz 5’6” Athletics 1952 24 07

OUR PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP

  • Wee Willie Keeler, LF
  • George Sisler, 1B
  • Jose Altuve, 2B
  • Hack Wilson, DH
  • Mel Ott, RF
  • Jimmy Wynn, CF
  • Yogi Berra, C
  • George Kell, 3B
  • Phil Rizzuto, SS

Wow! If Jose Altuve keeps playing at his current rate of progress – and we can find a way to resurrect and/or rehab the rest of these core players to their career-best levels, I’m willing to bet that Mssrs. Luhnow and Hinch could find a way to work most of them onto the roster of the 2018 Astros. What a bang-up kind of year next season could also turn out to be, if that were possible. And it would be interesting to see if any of the old timers could fight their way into the starting Astros lineup too. I don’t see Carlos Correa yielding to Phil Rizzuto at shortstop, but I do think Hack Wilson could wrestle the “DH” job away from Evan Gattis.

Love to hear your own thoughts on how many of these “six feet under” team guys could make the roster or starting lineup of the 2018 Houston Astros. And don’t forget lefty pitcher Bobby Shantz. We could use a “good” lefty – and Shantz just happens to be the same guy who threw the first pitch in Houston franchise history back in the maiden big league season opener of 1962. If you care to add the 5’11” Craig Biggio and the 5’07” Joe Morgan to the “Under Six Feet”roster too, that will be more than all right with me.

Have a great evening.

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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4 Responses to “A Favorite “Under 6′ in Height” Batting Order”

  1. Rick B. Says:

    How about 5′ 8″ righty Elroy Face coming into games in relief (8-7, 28 saves, 1.88 ERA for the Pirates in 1962)?

    Coming off the bench, the team could have 5′ 9″ 2B Davey Lopes (.265 BA, .372 OBP, 28 HR, 73 RBI, 44 SB for the Dodgers in 1979) and 5′ 5″ SS Freddie Patek (.267, 21 2B, 11 3B, 49 SB, and 86 R for the Royals in 1971).

    Also, although he’s close to the height limit, I’d take 5′ 11″ Ozzie Smith as the starter at SS, but that may be a generational thing. Rizzuto’s career BA is 5 points higher, but Smith’s fielding percentage is 10 points better (& he was a great base stealer). Ozzie’s best season with the bat came with the Cardinals in 1987: .303, 104 R, 40 2B, 75 RBI & 43 SB.

    I might also take 5′ 11″ Pete Rose over Kell at 3B, although Rose only started at 3B for three seasons. His best year as a 3B was with the Reds in 1976: .323 BA, .404 OBP, 130 R, 215 H, 42 2B, 10 HR, & 63 RBI.

  2. Al Doyle Says:

    What about 5’10” Ned Garver (20 wins, 1951) as your righty starter? I also vote fo Ozzie at SS, although 5’7″ Luis Aparicio keeps the team height down.

  3. Alan Munger Says:

    I’d like to see 5’9″ Enos Slaughter; 5’10” Joe Morgan; 5’5″ Freddie Patek (from Seguin, TX) on the roster and Pete Rose or Ron Cey at 3B. 5′ 8″ Marcus Stroman could eat up some innings as a RHP and do alright as a PH or PR on his off-days.

  4. Mark W Says:

    Albie Pearson, 5’5″; Tony Kemp, 5’6″; Billy Wagner, 5’10”; Clark Griffith, 5’6″; Bobby Mathews, 5’5″.

    Also, whenever directly asked, Jose Altuve always answers that he is 5’5″, and he is so listed on his earliest baseball cards. Bill Brown also reports Altuve’s self-declared height as 5’5″ in his book, “Breathing Orange Fire”. In a recent interview on Jimmy Kimmel, Carlos Correa stated that Altuve is 5’5″.

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