- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 19, 2001

The Sunday Column might run a little short this morning in honor of Eddie Gaedel, the midget who pinch hit for the St. Louis Browns 50 years ago today.

Little-known fact: After Gaedel walked on four pitches against the Tigers' Bob Cain, he was replaced by pinch runner Jim Delsing. Delsing is the father of pro golfer Jay Delsing, who contended in the '93 Kemper before fading to 18th the final day.

Browns owner Bill Veeck, the brains behind the stunt, always said Gaedel was "the best darn midget who ever played big league ball."

After Eddie was announced as the batter, Cain reminisces in Danny Peary's book, "We Played the Game," "I didn't know whether to throw underhanded or overhanded to him. I just wanted to be careful not to hit him. Dizzy Trout told me later that if he'd been the pitcher, he'd have thrown the ball right between his eyes… . The crowd was howling with laughter. There was a lot of yelling back and forth between the two dugouts. I laughed a little bit but was a little angry. I'd have given my right arm just to have gotten one strike on him."

Cain and his wife were the only baseball people at Gaedel's funeral a decade later. "When we got out of the car," he says, "Mrs. Gaedel, who was not a midget, ran over and hugged and kissed me. It meant something to her to see us there. And it meant something to us to be there. I remember how small the coffin was …"

Idle thought: Jay Delsing played golf at UCLA with Corey Pavin. Pavin is buddies with David Robinson (who has caddied for him). Therefore, there are only three degrees of separation between 3-foot-7 Eddie Gaedel and 7-foot-1 David Robinson.

Marty Schottenheimer's strategy in his first year as Redskins coach seems clear: play so atrociously in the preseason that none of your opponents will take you seriously.

There was an interesting exchange up in Carlisle last week. Schottenheimer asked the seemingly rhetorical question, "Other than Brett Favre, who's ever traded for a quarterback who's a top player?" And WUSA sportscaster Ken Mease immediately piped up, "Sonny Jurgensen." (To which the coach replied, "In those days, that didn't count" whatever that means.)
OK, Marty, let's just limit it to these days. How about Mark Brunell? How about Chris Chandler? Heck, how about Brad Johnson? All three of those quarterbacks made the Pro Bowl with the teams that traded for them.

And while we're on the subject … didn't the Chiefs, coached by one Martin Edward Schottenheimer, acquire Joe Montana from the 49ers in '93? And didn't Montana take them to the AFC title game and get voted to the Pro Bowl?
Just thought I'd throw that in.

ESPN oracle Mel Kiper says Texas has "the best wide receiver corps in the history of college football" this year. Hmmm. Better than the Michael Irvin-Brett Perriman-Brian Blades triumvirate at Miami in 1987? Each of those guys caught more than 500 passes as a pro (after being taken in the first or second round of the NFL Draft). The Longhorns' contingent, led by sophomore Roy Williams, must be awfully good.

Another terrific wide receiver corps was the one at Tennessee in '81. It featured future first-round picks Anthony Hancock, Willie Gault and Clyde Duncan (from Oxon Hill), future second-rounder Darryal Wilson and future fourth-rounder Mike Miller. The group tends to be forgotten, though, because only Gault had much of a career in the NFL.

Trivia question: What well-known Redskin, now retired, was at Tennessee with the aforementioned receivers? (Answer below.)

Maybe the Legg Mason Tennis Classic could get Pete Sampras to come to Washington if it let him play all his matches on grass.

If Colgate hadn't dropped the Red from Red Raiders out of consideration for American Indians, it probably would have done it, sooner or later, out of consideration for the colorblind.

Did you see that the World Wildlife Fund won its legal battle with the World Wrestling Federation over the WWF abbreviation? Any day now, I expect the National Board of Antiquities to be awarded the rights to "NBA."

Associated Press typo of the week: "[Barry] Bonds' [52nd] homer also broke the [National League] record for homers by a left-handed batter. Larry Mize hit 51 homers for the New York Giants in 1947."
Even more impressively, Mize won the Masters 40 years later.
(The error, thankfully, was later corrected.)

News item: Red Sox fire manager Jimy Williams with 43 games left and replace him with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan.
Comment: Too bad Terry Robiskie wasn't available or even Pepper Rodgers.

From the How Quickly They Forget Dept.: Yes, Roger Clemens is the first pitcher with a 16-1 record since the Orioles' Dave McNally 32 years ago. But here's the thing: When Rick Sutcliffe won the National League Cy Young Award in 1984, he posted a 16-1 record for the Cubs. (He was 4-5 in the American League, however, before the Indians traded him to Chicago.)

If you're the general manager of a struggling major league club, how do you explain not signing free agent Jose Canseco earlier this summer when he was oh-so-available (and languishing in the minors with an independent team)? All Canseco has done since being rescued by the White Sox is hit 11 homers and drive in 29 runs in 153 at-bats (through Friday). (Yeah, he has some issues first and foremost his injury history but the man is closing in on 500 dingers.)

Answer to trivia question: Raleigh McKenzie was on the '81 Tennessee team that was blessed with all those wideouts.

And finally … once again, the Seattle SuperSonics have thrown millions at a former Wizards center first Jim McIlvaine (seven years, $33 million) and now Calvin Booth (six years, $34 million). Wes Unseld should start working out with Michael Jordan. The Sonics might want to make him an offer, too.

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