Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Name is Almost the Same: Gaedele or Gaedel

Living history was played out this past summer at Warner Park in Madison, Wisconsin. The Mallards right fielder is Kyle Gaedele, the great-nephew of Eddie Gaedel. He changed the spelling of his last name to have it pronounced correctly.

On August 19, 1951, Gaedel became the shortest player to bat in a major league game, taking four pitches in a Bill Veeck stunt for the St. Louis Browns. Gaedel was 3 foot seven and wore number 1/8.

Kyle Gaedele is 6 foot 4 inches and wears the number 48. And he finished second in the North Woods League All-Star home run derby.

I don’t get tired of talking about my great uncle,” Gaedele said during a clubhouse interview recently. “I’m proud of it. I knew about him ever since I can remember. In 2001, we went to the national baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown when they did a re-enactment of the whole situation. I was 11 years old. It was awesome.”

Gaedele’s off-season home is Arlington Heights, where his parents live. His father owns the historic bat. It’s likely he will bring the bat back to Madison before the regular season ends. “It’s smaller than a miniature bat you can get at a professional baseball game,” Gaedele said.

Kyle Gaedele is a Chicago native who attends Valparaiso University. He brought the Gaedele bat to college for a show and tell. His coach is former major leaguer, Tracy Woodson. He isn’t sure about where he got his height. He also weighs 225 pounds. “My dad is about 5’ 11”, my mom is 5’ 7”, my older brother is about 5’ 10” and here I am at 6’ 4” Gaedele said.

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