Thursday, July 25, 2013

Eddie Gaedel's bat, used in MLB's most famous stunt, readies for sale at Heritage Auctions

Consigned by Gaedel's nephew, Chicago-area resident Bob Gaedele; Used by "little person" Gaedel on Aug. 19, 1951, as MLB owner and showman Bill Veeck's St. Louis Browns played the Detroit Tigers; Gaedel batted once, with the number 1/8 on his jersey, walking on four pitches; Offered for the first time ever at auction.    
It is, to this day, likely the most famous stunt in Major League Baseball history: On Aug. 19, 1951, as the anemic St. Louis Browns limped toward the fall of another failed season against the Detroit Tigers, owner Bill Veeck — a Hall of Fame owner and the greatest showman in the history of the game — sent 3' 7" tall Eddie Gaedel to the plate, with the number "1/8" on his jersey and to the hysterical laughter of fans.

It was the bottom of the first inning of the second game of a doubleheader and Gaedel took four straight balls and headed to first base and into baseball history.

On Aug. 1, as part of Heritage Auctions' Platinum Night Sports Auction in Rosemont, IL, taking place in conjunction with The National Sports Collector's Convention, the bat that sat perched atop Gaedel's shoulder for those four pitches will appear for the very first time at auction. It is expected to bring $100,000+.

"Veeck was behind some of the most famous, and infamous, ballpark stunts in the history of America's pastime," said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports at Heritage Auctions, "including Cleveland Municpal Stadium's disastrous 10 cent beer night in 1974. It was his 1951 stunt with Gaedel as the smallest batter in league history, however, that he is most remembered for."

The bat has been consigned to auction by Gaedel's nephew, Bob Gaedele, a Chicago-area resident who was given the bat by his father when he was around 10 years old. Bob's father, Eddie's younger brother, received the bat from Eddie after the game.

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