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BASEBALL-4

FILE PHOTO AUGUST 19, 1951 -- Eddie Gaedel, a 3-foot-7 inch person, takes his famous at-bat on Aug. 19, 1951 for Bill Veeck's St. Louis Browns. The catcher is Detroit's Bob Swift, and the umpire is Ed Hurley. This photo was taken by Jack January / Post-Dispatch

Even the hapless St. Louis Browns had a few big baseball moments - and one of the biggest stood only 3-foot-7.

He was, of course, Eddie Gaedel, a midget sent in to bat leadoff at Sportsman's Park in the nightcap of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 19, 1951. Gaedel drew a walk on four pitches from Bob Cain and was promptly lifted for a pinch runner. Although he never set foot in another baseball game, he became instant legend.

The pinch-hitting midget was the brainchild of owner Bill Veeck, who tried to make up in showmanship what his team lacked in talent. This was different from Veeck's other stunts because, potentially, it could have affected the outcome of a game. As a result Veeck received criticism from some sportswriters.

The night before Gaedel's game, Veeck tipped off Post-Dispatch sports editor Bob Broeg. In turn, Broeg made sure that Post-Dispatch photographer Jack January stuck around for the second game -- and Gaedel's appearance in the first inning.

January's photo has given Gaedel baseball immortality. In real life, Gaedel perished 10 years later in a saloon beating in his hometown, Chicago.

Oh: In the inning Gaedel started by drawing a walk, the Brownies loaded the bases. But they failed to score. In fact, they lost the doubleheader.

Eddie Gaedel & the St. Louis Browns

Eddie Goedel with other Browns baseball players in the dugout in 1951, featured in "Lost Treasures of St. Louis." Photo by Dorrill Photographers, Missouri Historical Society Photographs and Prints Collections