A tall prospect with a small name
March, 14, 2011
By Keith Law | ESPN.com
Most fans of baseball history are aware of the story of Eddie Gaedel, the only little person to appear in a major league game. At 3-foot-7, Gaedel was the subject of a publicity stunt by baseball's master of publicity stunts, Bill Veeck, who was then the owner of the sad-sack St. Louis Browns. Gaedel pinch-hit in the first inning of the back end of a doubleheader, drew a walk on four pitches -- the pitcher, Bob Cain, apparently laughing too hard to throw a strike -- and was removed for a pinch-runner. The next day, American League president Will Harridge voided Gaedel's contract, although by that point Veeck had already achieved his objective.
The story may have another chapter, however. Gaedel's great-nephew, Kyle Gaedele, is a 6-foot-4 outfielder for Valparaiso and was drafted late in 2008 by the Tampa Bay Rays. He's draft-eligible again this year and is interesting but unpolished, a top 200 talent but probably not a top 100 talent, or roughly a fourth- to sixth-rounder.