Bob Cain Signed Baseball with Handwritten Eddie Gaedel Story – COA JSAGo Back
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Eddie Gaedel was the smallest player to appear in a Major League Baseball game. Gaedel gained recognition in the second game of a St. Louis Browns doubleheader on August 19, 1951. Weighing 60 pounds (27 kg) and standing 3 feet 7 inches (109 cm) tall, he became the shortest player in the history of the Major Leagues. Gaedel made a single plate appearance and was walked with four consecutive balls before being replaced by a pinch-runner at first base. His jersey, bearing the uniform number “1⁄8”, is displayed in the St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck, in his 1962 autobiography Veeck – As in Wreck, said of Gaedel, “He was, by golly, the best darn midget who ever played big-league ball. He was also the only one.”
Presented is a Wilson unofficial baseball, on which pitcher Bob Cain (1924-1997) has penned in black capitalized print the story of Bill Veeck’s greatest inspiration. The narrative and inscription, placed in blue ballpoint, read in full: “Bob Cain – As you may know Eddie Gaedel stepped out of a big birthday cake wearing a brownie uniform #1/8. We all thought it was a big joke until the umpire asked for his contract which the Browns manager produced. When he was announced to bat, our catcher layed on the ground to give me a low target. The umpire made him get into his usual squat position and yelled Play Ball. Bill Veeck was on the roof of the stadium and said he would have shot Eddie if he had swung. I walked him on four pitches high. Midgets – were barred from baseball the next day. We won the game 6-2. At the time I was pitching for the Detroit Tigers. – Pitcher: Bob Cain – Catcher: Bob Swift – Umpire: Ed Hurley – Midget: Eddie Gaedel – August 19, 1951.”
Note, the Bob Cain signature on the side panel at the start of the story shows some ink saturation but is legible (“7-8”).
Authentication: JSA Auction House Letter
This ball is from one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of autographed baseballs in the world. Altogether they were easily displayable in custom shelf form and alphabetically displayed nonetheless. The choice of medium was visually easy for the encyclopedic collector who put these together. It took several decades to amass these rare autographs of the most prominent entertainers, historical figures, and sports players. It proved quite difficult to acquire autographs of non-ballplayers on such an odd object (a baseball) but diligence proved otherwise and that it’s possible. So, now with the collection complete and his shelves empty there’s only one thing left to do….bid on this item and start the challenge to see how far you can take it.