Harry Perry Chappas (born October 26, 1957 in Mount Rainier, Maryland) was a shortstop with the Chicago White Sox from 1978 until 1980. Though he appeared in only 72 career games, he became a cult hero on the South Side due primarily to his stature. Chappas was measured by Harry Caray and publicly declared to be 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m), an inch or two shorter than established star Freddie Patek. He was one of the shortest players in Major League history, although Chappas stated in an interview in Sports Illustrated that he was closer to 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m), and implied that team owner Bill Veeck exaggerated his short stature for publicity reasons.
Chappas signed with the White Sox in 1976 as a 6th round draft pick. He impressed Veeck with good performances for the Appleton Foxes in 1978, a team which was named one of the top 100 minor league teams in 2001. This earned him a September callup, where he hit an effective .267 in 20 games.
Primarily due to his height, he gained more and more national interest, highlighted by an appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated during spring training in 1979. In spring training that year, he unseated veteran Don Kessinger and became the opening day shortstop. He lost his job after 2 weeks after missing a sign as a baserunner, only returning in September. He made the opening day roster the following year as well, but only as a reserve player, and he was subsequently sent to the minors after hitting .160 in 50 at bats.
Overall, Chappas hit .245 in the majors and hit a single home run, off the Brewers' Bill Travers, in 1979.
- ^ Larry Keith (1979-03-19). "It's Not Only A Game Of Inches". Sports Illustrated.
- ^ a b Wertheim, Jon (1997-07-29). "Catching Up With... Harry Chappas". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2007-05-22.
- ^ Weiss, Bill; Marshall Wright (2001). "Minor League Baseball: Top 100 teams". Minor League Baseball.com. Retrieved 2007-05-22.
- ^ "Retrosheet Boxscore: Milwaukee Brewers 5, Chicago White Sox 3". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2007-05-22.
By Dean Hanley
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