Right-handers still fighting height stigma

Updated: June 5, 2006, 5:07 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | Baseball America
Even after 18 major league seasons, more than 750 appearances and two All-Star Game berths, Tom Gordon can't shake the slights he endured as a high school player in Florida. Enough scouts followed Gordon to the restrooms and concession stands to confirm that he had a future in professional ball. But Gordon also heard enough whispers and condescending remarks to understand the stigma he would have to overcome.

Chris Short, Aaron Small and former Twins reliever Jeff Little were undersized in name only. Gordon, at 5-foot-9, is the quintessential little man with a big arm. Where talent evaluators are concerned, that combination cries out for ambivalence.

Tom Gordon
Howard Smith/US PresswireGordon, listed at 5-10 in the Phillies' media guide, has 129 wins and 131 saves in 18 seasons.
"I heard it all the time -- I'm too short," Gordon says. "To this day, I still hear it. Major league baseball either needs to can the stereotype or get rid of some of these guys making the decisions. A lot of kids out there strive and push themselves to be just as good as the bigger athletes, but they're not getting the breaks."

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer