Edward Carl Gaedel (June 8, 1925 – June 18, 1961) was an American with dwarfism who became famous for participating in a Major League Baseball game.
Gaedel (some sources say the family name may actually have been Gaedele) gained recognition in the second game of a St. Louis Browns doubleheader on August 19, 1951. Weighing 65 pounds (29.5 kg), and standing 3 feet 7 inches tall, Gaedel became the shortest player in the history of the Major Leagues. He made a single plate appearance and was walked with four consecutive balls before being replaced by a pinch-runner at first base. His jersey, bearing the uniform number "1⁄8", is displayed in the St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
St. Louis Brown's owner Bill Veeck, in his 1962 autobiography Veeck – As in Wreck, said of Gaedel, "He was, by golly, the best darn midget who ever played big-league ball. He was also the only one."
Gaedel was a professional performer, belonging to the American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA). Before his appearance as baseball's most-famous pinch-hitter, Gaedel's most notable gig arguably was when he was hired in 1946 by Mercury Records to portray the "Mercury man." He sported a winged hat similar to the record label's logo, to promote Mercury recordings. Some early Mercury recordings featured a caricature of him as its logo.
By Dean Hanley
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