Eddie Gaedel Handwritten Questionnaire to Baseball Historian (PSA/DNA)
This collection of handwritten questionnaires commemorates the brief Major League career of Eddie Gaedel, who will forever be immortalized in the annals of baseball history for his one and only at bat in 1951. Gaedel was a "little person" hired by St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck to take part in his greatest publicity stunt. Gaedel, who stood three feet, seven inches and weighed 65 pounds, appeared as a pinch-hitter for the St. Louis Browns in the first inning of the second game of a doubleheader against Detroit at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis on August 19, 1951. After walking on four pitches Gaedel was immediately replaced by a pinch-runner, thereby ending his brief Major League career. (The rules of baseball were immediately revised to forbid players of such small stature.)
The highlight of the collection is a handwritten questionnaire filled out entirely by Gaedel himself, just two weeks after his historic Major League at-bat. As most collectors are aware, Gaedel's signature is exceedingly rare, with fewer than 10 examples known. (Gaedel had a surley disposition and was not very accommodating to fans; he died of a heart attack in 1961 at the age of 35.) As such, this questionnaire, bearing his printed middle name and other personal information, remains the next best alternative for anyone wishing to obtain Gaedel's autograph. The questionnaire was sent to Gaedel by Karl Wingler, who was a renowned early baseball historian and statistician. The one-page questionnaire, dated August 27, 1951, already lists much of Gaedel's personal information in typewritten form. However, Wingler has requested Gaedel to complete the form so that he can have all of Gaedel's complete records. Surprisingly, Gaedel took to the time to fill out the questionnaire and mail it back to Wingler. All of Gaedel's responses were printed in pencil and are composed of the following: "Carl" (his middle name); "June 8" (day of his birth); "Polish-Lithuaninian" [sic] (nationality); "Brown"( hair color); "Brown (eye color); and "Spalding High School, 1944" (college or school attended). There is a line at the bottom of the form labeled "Authograph" but Gaedel either overlooked it, or decided not to provide it. The questionnaire (8.5 x 10.75 inches) displays two horizontal folds, light toning, and staple holes along both the top and bottom borders. In Excellent condition overall.
Included with the Gaedel questionnaire are three additional Wingler questionnaires, filled out and signed, respectively, by Bob Cain (pitcher who faced Gaedel), Bob Swift (catcher during the Gaedel at bat), and Ed Hurley (plate umpire during the Gaedel at bat), as well as a carbon copy for both the Gaedel and Hurley questionnaires. Each questionnaire is in Excellent condition overall, and is accompanied by the original return envelope addressed to Wingler.
The Gaedel page has been certified by PSA/DNA and comes with a full LOA.