“Eddie Gaedel Day” in South Pasadena

Brownie brand painting by Ben Sakoguchi

From STAFF REPORTS

6:12 am | August 18, 2015


In celebration of the 64th anniversary of Eddie Gaedel’s historic appearance as a pinch-hitter for the St. Louis Browns, the Eddie Gaedel Society, Los Angeles Chapter #3, and the Baseball Reliquary observed “Eddie Gaedel Day” on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at Griffins of Kinsale, a traditional Irish pub in South Pasadena.

Eddie Gaedel (1925-1961), who at 3’7” and weighing 65 pounds was the shortest and lightest player ever to step to the plate in the major leagues, was inserted into the St. Louis Browns lineup as a pinch-hitter on August 19, 1951 in a game against the Detroit Tigers at Sportsman’s Park, St. Louis, Missouri. Wearing jersey number 1/8, he walked on four pitches in one of the most legendary at-bats in the history of baseball. The Eddie Gaedel Society was founded by Tom Keefe in Spokane, Washington in 2011 to annually honor the man whose one trip to the plate and whose perfect 1.000 lifetime on-base percentage remain a source of inspiration to all those who dream of following this diminutive star in making it to the big leagues.

The inaugural “Eddie Gaedel Day” festivities in South Pasadena on August 19 adhered Eddie Gaedel Society’s motto: “Small talk, short speeches, and half-pint beers!” The fun-filled festivities will include introductory remarks by filmmaker Jon Leonoudakis, president of the Eddie Gaedel Society, Los Angeles Chapter #3, and a $2 Eddie Gaedel Trivia Contest.

A special guest speaker was Bill Christine, who was a 13-year-old St. Louis Browns knothole gang member when he attended the Gaedel game on August 19, 1951. Christine, who has belonged to the Baseball Writers Association of America since 1960 and has voted in the annual Baseball Hall of Fame election since 1970, will recall his memories of Gaedel’s historic pinch-hitting appearance. Christine has written a biography about Roberto Clemente, and his biography of jockey Bill Hartack will be published next year. From 1982 to 2006, he was a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times. All attendees will also receive a special pin courtesy of the Eddie Gaedel Society, Spokane Chapter #1.

For further information on “Eddie Gaedel Day,” contact Jon Leonoudakis, president of the Eddie Gaedel Society, Los Angeles Chapter #3, by phone at (818) 886-2998 or by e-mail at jbgreek@earthlink.net; or Terry Cannon, executive director of the Baseball Reliquary, by phone at (626) 791-7647 or by e-mail at terymar@earthlink.net.