VEECK AS IN WRECK. Nick gave me Bill Veeck’s autobiography VEECK AS IN WRECK with the story of Eddie Gaedel. At the end of the first chapter, Veeck lists some of his accomplishments in baseball. For example, from 1947 to 1964, the New York Yankees won the American League pennant every year with three exceptions. Two of the teams that interrupted the Yankee streak were owned by Bill Veeck: the 1948 Cleveland Indians and the 1959 Chicago White Sox. Veeck also invented the exploding scoreboard. After listing his accomplishments, Veeck concludes that he is remembered for one thing: “I’m Bill Veeck, the guy who sent the midget up to bat? Fair enough.”
Veeck’s account stresses that Eddie Gaedel was a showman who loved to perform. Veeck had taught Gaedel a crouch for a batting stance which created a strike zone one and a half inches high. When Gaedel got up to bat, he abandoned the crouch and stood straight up. Veeck was terrified that Gaedel was going to swing at a pitch rather than take his four balls and a walk. But Gaedel went to first base, greeted his pinch runner in a professional way, and waved repeatedly to the crowd as he left the field.