Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Who Ran For Eddie Gaedel? 

(Sportsman's Park, August 19, 1951)

The obituary pages in newspapers nationwide noted the passing of former major league outfielder Jim Delsing, who succumbed to cancer at his home in Chesterfield on Thursday, May 4. He was 80.

Delsing played ten seasons in the big leagues, but he made the obit orbit for an incident that occurred during a stint with the St. Louis Browns: He pinch-ran for Eddie Gaedel.

On August 19, 1951, the hapless Browns played a doubleheader against the similarly low-rent Detroit Tigers at Sportsman's Park. Browns owner Bill Veeck, an inveterate showman, hired the three-foot-seven Gaedel to pop out of a birthday cake commemorating the 50th anniversary of the American League and the Falstaff Brewing Company, radio sponsor for the Browns. Unbeknownst to all, Veeck also contracted with Gaedel to play.

In game two of the doubleheader, Browns manager Zack Taylor inserted Gaedel as a pinch hitter. When he hefted his tiny toy bat and crouched at the plate — Veeck later said he measured Gaedel's strike zone at an inch and a half — the Tigers protested, but Taylor produced a legitimate contract and Gaedel was permitted to play. Pitcher Bob Cain walked him on four straight pitches. After Gaedel ran to first, Taylor sent in Delsing.

The Browns lost the game 6-2. Gaedel was banned from baseball the next day. Delsing bounced around the American League for the rest of the decade before retiring in 1960. "Jim was a good teammate to have on your ballclub," former Browns teammate and long-time friend Don Lenhardt told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "He was a very good fielder and a good ballplayer."

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2022 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation