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#1
Old 08-11-2004, 02:44 PM
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Baseball: Why not use midget batters?

On August 19, 1951, midget Eddie Gaedel took the batter's box in a Browns vs. Tigers game. Tigers pitcher Bob Cain couldn't put the ball in Gaedel's strike zone, who was walked on four straight pitches. Upon reaching first, Gaedel was substituted for a pinch runner.

Why hasn't another team tried to replicate this feat? Surely it would be just as hard to pitch to a midget today as fifty years ago, right?

Ok, I found this page at ESPN which says midget batters were banned. Does anyone know whether this is at the discretion of the MLB commissioner, or if there is an actual minimum height requirement? If so, what is it?

(Forgive me if this has been asked already. I thought there might even be a column on it, but I couldn't find it.)


P.S.
The "Disgraceball" link I used above is pretty amusing.
#2
Old 08-11-2004, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neuroman
On August 19, 1951, midget Eddie Gaedel took the batter's box in a Browns vs. Tigers game. Tigers pitcher Bob Cain couldn't put the ball in Gaedel's strike zone, who was walked on four straight pitches. Upon reaching first, Gaedel was substituted for a pinch runner.

Why hasn't another team tried to replicate this feat? Surely it would be just as hard to pitch to a midget today as fifty years ago, right?

Ok, I found this page at ESPN which says midget batters were banned. Does anyone know whether this is at the discretion of the MLB commissioner, or if there is an actual minimum height requirement? If so, what is it?

(Forgive me if this has been asked already. I thought there might even be a column on it, but I couldn't find it.)




P.S.
The "Disgraceball" link I used above is pretty amusing.
I don't have the specific reference to the Rules of Baseball, but I do remember from Veeck's autobiography that a minimum-height rule was put in place almost immediately after l'affaire Gaedel and in consequence of that stunt.

So that in essence answers your question, although one of the baseball wonks among the Dopers can cite the exact rule in question.
#3
Old 08-11-2004, 03:20 PM
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There never was a formal minimum height standard in baseball. The commissioner at the time of the Gaedel incident, Happy Chandler, simply ordered Veeck not to use Gaedel again and let it be known informally that he would take a dim view of such a stunt being pulled by any other team.

I can’t imagine that the strategy would work today. Today’s pitchers are much more talented than those of 50 years ago and regularly target small areas within the strike zone, even though the zone itself has shrunk over time. I doubt that the average pitcher today would have trouble getting three out of seven batting practice fastballs within a midget’s strike zone.
#4
Old 08-11-2004, 03:44 PM
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The Commissioner's office can invalidate any contract for pretty much any halfway sensible reason. If the Commissioner thinks that a midget is making a travesty of the game, that's pretty much it. The White Sox wanted to bring back Minie Minoso to play in the 1990s at a very old age and that was refused also.
#5
Old 08-11-2004, 04:02 PM
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Plus, it takes way too long for them to walk to first base.
#6
Old 08-11-2004, 04:04 PM
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Plus, why use a roster spot on someone whose only job is to get walked?

It's a safe bet that a midget wouldn't have the range to play ANY position, and these days, utilitymen are pretty important to the game.

Besides, a situation in which you'd absolutely HAVE to have a man on first doesn't come up enough to justify the midget on the team, IMHO.
#7
Old 08-11-2004, 04:19 PM
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wouldn't you just use a midget pitcher?
#8
Old 08-11-2004, 04:25 PM
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The pitcher, Bob Cain, was apparently laughing as he pitched. Had he tried, he probably could have put a few strikes in there.

I don't think it would be worth it. I suspect a major league pitcher could get three strikes in there at least half the time, and even a player with a .500 on base percentage would be useless if he couldn't hit at all and was slower than Mama Cass and couldn't play any defensive position.
#9
Old 08-11-2004, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freddy the Pig
Today’s pitchers are much more talented than those of 50 years ago and regularly target small areas within the strike zone, even though the zone itself has shrunk over time. I doubt that the average pitcher today would have trouble getting three out of seven batting practice fastballs within a midget’s strike zone.
You could probably get a pretty good Great Debate going on that opening statement...I think the element of surprise had more to do with Gaedel's base on balls than the pitcher's control.

But the real reason you don't see this any more is as Happy Scrappy Hero Pup says: you aren't going to waste a roster spot on a player with only one skill. You'd even need to pinch run for him every time he got on base, so you'd blow two substitutions every time he came up. Not worth it.
#10
Old 08-11-2004, 04:45 PM
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A midget couldn't field or run the bases so he'd be sitting on the bench waiting for the right time to be inserted as a PH. Bottom of the 9th, tie game, bases loaded with 2 outs. Since he almost guarantees a walk, the win is nearly a gimme. Aside from joke appearances, that's the only scenario I envision where a midget batter would be worth it.
#11
Old 08-11-2004, 04:56 PM
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All jokes aside, people, midget is widely considered really really rude. I'm sure you didn't know that. Now you do.
#12
Old 08-11-2004, 05:55 PM
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AFAIK, the preferred term is little person.

Midget is as bad as nigger in some people's books. Don't use it anymore, okay?
#13
Old 08-11-2004, 05:55 PM
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AFAIK, the preferred term is little person.
#14
Old 08-11-2004, 06:03 PM
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Isn't midget a legitimate medical term? I always understood that the two "varieties" were midgets and dwarves.
#15
Old 08-11-2004, 06:08 PM
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So it sounds like there is no minimum height requirement, but teams don't use mid-, er, "little people" as batters because 1) MLB wouldn't allow it and 2) it would likely be innefective.

I'm sure #1 holds true, but I remain curious as to how well your average 4.5 ERA pitcher could hit a midget's strike zone.
#16
Old 08-11-2004, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chairman Pow
Isn't midget a legitimate medical term? I always understood that the two "varieties" were midgets and dwarves.
Everything I know on this subject is from an episode of CSI...."midget" is a carnival term. "Dwarf" or "little people" is preferred. And the two varieties you speak of are "proportional" or "non-proportional" (I think).
#17
Old 08-11-2004, 06:37 PM
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Veeck's kids are still doing stunts in minor league baseball. I'm pretty sure one of his sons owned the team that had a promotion called "Nobody Night" a few years back. They did not allow a single fan in the ballpark for the first 4 or 5 innings, they had a party in the parking lot. They opened the gates at the end of that time and let everybody who bought a ticket in to watch the rest of the game.
#18
Old 08-11-2004, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chairman Pow
Isn't midget a legitimate medical term? I always understood that the two "varieties" were midgets and dwarves.
From Dictionary.com:

Quote:
midg·et
n.
Offensive. An extremely small person who is otherwise normally proportioned.
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

midg·et (mjt)
n.
A person of extremely small stature who is otherwise normally proportioned. Now considered offensive.
Source: The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary

dwarf
n. pl. dwarfs or dwarves (dwôrvz)
An abnormally small person, often having limbs and features atypically proportioned or formed.

An animal or plant which is much below the ordinary size of its species or kind; especially, a diminutive human being.

Note: Dwarf is used adjectively in reference to anything much below the usual or normal size; as, dwarf tree; dwarf honeysuckle.
The word "midget" has offensive connotations, while it seems "dwarf" doesn't.

On preview: jsc1953 is correct about the technical difference being proportional and non-proportional.
#19
Old 08-11-2004, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neuroman
So it sounds like there is no minimum height requirement, but teams don't use mid-, er, "little people" as batters because 1) MLB wouldn't allow it and 2) it would likely be innefective.

I'm sure #1 holds true, but I remain curious as to how well your average 4.5 ERA pitcher could hit a midget's strike zone.
Well I guess batting .500 ain't bad.
#20
Old 08-12-2004, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xash
On preview: jsc1953 is correct about the technical difference being proportional and non-proportional.
Once true, but not used anymore. If nothing else, there are a lot fewer proportional people out there, due to hormone treatments. The terminology argument is ongoing but there is general agreement on midget.

Sorry about the hijack.

I do think having such a player would be at the level of a stupid publicity stunt, and since it's been done, I don't see it being done again.
#21
Old 08-12-2004, 11:59 AM
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I have wondered this myself.

It's Aug. 31st and you are about expand your roster to 40 players. Your team is in a tight playoff race. What's the smart thing to do? You pencil in a stud dwarf to ride the pine. You bring him in to games when a walk could decide the outcome.

Why no one has done this is beyond me.
#22
Old 08-12-2004, 12:10 PM
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A walk almost never decides the outcome ... the number of bases-loaded bottom-of-the-ninth situations are quite small.

And by the way, there is already a player in MLB who is virtually guaranteed to draw a walk every time he comes to the plate. His name is Barry Bonds.

And his team is 8.5 games out of first, so the presence of such a player doesn't translate into success for the team.
#23
Old 08-12-2004, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Seeker
Why no one has done this is beyond me.
Becuase the commissioner would not allow it and would void the player's contract - as he has the ability to do.

Zev Steinhardt
#24
Old 08-12-2004, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc1953
A walk almost never decides the outcome ... the number of bases-loaded bottom-of-the-ninth situations are quite small.

And by the way, there is already a player in MLB who is virtually guaranteed to draw a walk every time he comes to the plate. His name is Barry Bonds.

And his team is 8.5 games out of first, so the presence of such a player doesn't translate into success for the team.
It doesn't matter.

He is there when you need him. He doesn't have to win the game to be effective. There a lots of situations where a walk simply increases the chances of winning. How about runners on 1st and 2nd with zero or one outs. A walk moves the runners, including having a runner on third to tag up.

With 40 players on the roster, he is not a liability.


zev: We don't for sure if Bud wouldn't allow it. No one has tested him on it.
#25
Old 08-12-2004, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmGeek
AFAIK, the preferred term is little person.

Midget is as bad as nigger in some people's books. Don't use it anymore, okay?
OTOH, there is Harlan Ellison's riposte to an offended mi... ah, person of meager stature who objected to Ellison's use of "midget" (and midgets) in a couple of his short stories. He finished with "...we prefer to be called 'little people.'"

Ellison replied "I am five feet, four inches tall -- I am a little person. You, sir, are a midget."
#26
Old 08-12-2004, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc1953
A walk almost never decides the outcome ... the number of bases-loaded bottom-of-the-ninth situations are quite small.

And by the way, there is already a player in MLB who is virtually guaranteed to draw a walk every time he comes to the plate. His name is Barry Bonds.

And his team is 8.5 games out of first, so the presence of such a player doesn't translate into success for the team.
Of course, WITHOUT Bonds, the Giants would be 15-20 games out of first. They also would not have made the playoffs and won the pennant in 2002 without him, and may not have made the playoffs last year. It may not guarantee you win the pennant, but it does bring success.

The problem with our dwarf player is that he's not actually anything like Barry Bonds, who walks 40% of his times up but also gets a fair number of hits and belts a homer about one in every fourteen times to the plate, and can run okay. Bonds has driven in 69 runs; our dwarf batter would drive in maybe seven, if he was lucky.

Let's suppose our dwarf player were to play all 162 games and were to come to the plate 650 times, drawing 325 walks and either striking out or grounding out to the pitcher the other 325. (He would therefore set the dubious record of having the worst batting average in the history of baseball.) Using the runs created formula we know that such a player would, just using the walks and outs, be responsible for creating approximately 60-80 runs, depending on what formula you use.

However, it's really not that many. Our dwarf batter is a significant problem on the basepaths, where he's three times slower than anyone else. He'll be forced out at second on a lot of singles to the outfield and such. You'd have to take off - well, I'm guessing, but 20 runs, easy. In reality, he's creating 50 runs or fewer, making him a terrible player. You can pinch run for him but then you lose him the first time he gets on base, and you waste a roster spot. And he can only DH.

So could you use him as a pinch hitter just for when the bases are loaded? I don't think so. The problem with using such a one-dimensional player is that opposing teams will anticipate your move, and hold back their best control reliever to face him. If you can use a control pitcher just to face the dwarf and reduce his OBP to .350, you make him, again, a terrible player.

No way it works.
#27
Old 08-12-2004, 02:10 PM
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As I recall from Veeck's autobiography, BobT and RickJay have it right.

Veeck ordered Gaedel to crouch in the batter's box, but he stood straight up, making a small but pitchable strike zone.

The catcher got down on his knees to offer Bob Cain a target.

Cain got the first two pitches close to the strike zone, but was laughing so hard after that he couldn't pitch straight. Gaedel never swung at a pitch.

Immediately after that, the Commissioner's office announced that henceforth they had the power to review and approve any major league contract.

Today, if an athletic little person were signed as, say a DH for an American League team, I suppose the Commissioner's office would at least want to see him take batting practice to determine whether he could make a genuine effort.
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#28
Old 08-12-2004, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Seeker
With 40 players on the roster, he is not a liability.
He could indeed be a liability.

In order to be on the major league roster (whether the limit is 25 or 40 people), you must also be on your team's 40-man roster. If your 40-man roster is full (as most teams' 40-man rosters are during the season), you'd have to waive someone from the roster to make room for your little player. That could mean exposing a player to waivers that you'd rather keep, or costing some player on the major league roster an option year.

zev: We don't for sure if Bud wouldn't allow it. No one has tested him on it.[/QUOTE]

True, no one has tested him on it. Yet, I'd be willing to offer dollars-to-doughnuts that he'd void the contract. He can do it simply based on his ability to act in the best interests of the game.

(Aside: I can see a cardboard cutout of Freddie Patek* at every home plate around the league with him holding out his hand at his head and a sign saying "You Must Be This Tall To Bat.")

Zev Steinhardt

*Freddie Patek was the 5'4" shortstop for the Kansas City Royals during the late 70s.
#29
Old 08-12-2004, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunilou
Cain got the first two pitches close to the strike zone, but was laughing so hard after that he couldn't pitch straight. Gaedel never swung at a pitch.
Legend has it (unsubstantiated, of course) that Veeck told Gaedel that he had a sharpshooter on the roof with orders to shoot if he swung. Somehow, however, that just doesn't seem to be consistent with the character of Bill Veeck that I've read about over the years.

To end the story on a sad note, Gaedel was murdered in 1961. Even Bill Veeck didn't go to the funeral. The only baseball-related person at the service was Bob Cain, the pitcher he faced.

Zev Steinhardt
#30
Old 08-12-2004, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmGeek
AFAIK, the preferred term is little person.

Midget is as bad as nigger in some people's books. Don't use it anymore, okay?
I could probably get in trouble real quick for talking about Gary Coleman then couldn't I?
He'd be a vertically challenged African American, not the thing you said.

And what's the idea of y'alls assuming that all short people are slow? I did a search for (excuse me) "midget racing" and came up with a ton of cites. I've got news for ya. I didn't take time to read much on the cites but it appears to me that some of them wee folk are pretty fast.
#31
Old 08-12-2004, 03:06 PM
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PS... What about catcher? A short person with a good arm could be an advantage. Running bases doesn't take a Carl Lewis either. Stealing them is not required. I actually knew a short guy that played ball in highschool. He was like 4'2" and was damned quick around the diamond. He almost always got on base too. He wasn't a power hitter but could get base hits as well as anyone AND yes he walked quite a bit too.
He caught for his brother who pitched. No he wasn't short also. I don't know what happened to him after highschool. I kept playing ball with the local men's league he went to college.
#32
Old 08-12-2004, 03:57 PM
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I can't think of any reason why being short would be an advantage for a catcher.

And all things being equal, a tall person will run faster than a short person. Longer legs = more distance per stride = more speed.
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Old 08-12-2004, 04:27 PM
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Hijack to the basketball court.

Mugsy Bouges, at 5 ft. 3 inches short, certainly held his own among a land of giants.
#34
Old 08-12-2004, 04:56 PM
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Going from this site, a ballplayer's average 60 yard time is 6.9 seconds. The best I could find for "little people" is the results from the 2003 National Games of the DAAA (Dwarf Athletic Association of America). The best listing was the 13-15 yr olds with first place in the 60m being 10.4 seconds and a national record of 9.43 seconds.

Conveting the yards into meters gives a 60m time for a ballplayer of about 7.6 seconds, which is still much faster than the 9.4 seconds from the DAAA.
#35
Old 08-12-2004, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zev_steinhardt
Legend has it (unsubstantiated, of course) that Veeck told Gaedel that he had a sharpshooter on the roof with orders to shoot if he swung. Somehow, however, that just doesn't seem to be consistent with the character of Bill Veeck that I've read about over the years.

Zev Steinhardt
Bill Veeck, in his autobiography Veeck as in Wreck, said that he told Gaedel he (Veeck) would be on the roof of the ballpark with a high-powered rifle, and if Gaedel even looked like he was going to swing, Veeck would shoot him dead. Veeck didn't actually go up on the roof with a rifle - he was just trying to make an impression.
#36
Old 08-12-2004, 05:42 PM
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t-keela:

Quote:
I could probably get in trouble real quick for talking about Gary Coleman then couldn't I?
Apropos to this subject, Gary Coleman played for the San Diego Padres in 1979.

(link)
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#37
Old 08-12-2004, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc1953
I can't think of any reason why being short would be an advantage for a catcher.

And all things being equal, a tall person will run faster than a short person. Longer legs = more distance per stride = more speed.
But they just don't seem to be able to move nearly as fast.

Advantages being able to move better from a standing position to make the throw on base stealing attempts, bunts, pop fouls, finding a wild pitch, whatever... matter of fact I've known very FEW catchers that were really tall.

Taller people run faster? Really, I never knew that height was an accurate predictor for speed. (We're not running for distance.) Carl Lewis is what? 5' 7" I reckon most NBA players could probably smoke him in a sprint. What about NFL...running backs, most that I recall were fairly short.
BTW IIRC there have been lots of players that weren't exactly fast who were great. I bet some are even in the Hall of Fame. Think about it.
It doesn't really matter I suppose...I just don't like unconditional discrimination against people. Wasn't there an NBA player that was VERY short by NBA standards. I don't recall that he had a problem running downcourt with the BIG men.
IIRC he won a dunking contest against Jordan...but noo-ooo he's too short he can't play basketball. Spuds sounds right doesn't it? 5'4"
<swish>

You didn't have any little brothers did you. Them little shits are fast.
#38
Old 08-13-2004, 12:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc1953
And by the way, there is already a player in MLB who is virtually guaranteed to draw a walk every time he comes to the plate. His name is Barry Bonds.
EVEN if the bases are loaded, as we all discovered a few years ago in a game against the Diamondbacks. (And it worked, too, as Arizona beat the Giants.)
#39
Old 08-13-2004, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc1953
I can't think of any reason why being short would be an advantage for a catcher.

And all things being equal, a tall person will run faster than a short person. Longer legs = more distance per stride = more speed.
There does not appear to be any connection between height and speed within the normal heights of baseball players. Rickey Henderson, the greatest baserunner to ever play the game, is 5'10". Willie Mays, who was incredibly fast, is listed as 5'11" but that's a lie by at least an inch; I'd say he was more like 5'9".

Being short is an advantage for a catcher primarily because being short slightly reduces the strain on the knees in going from a standing to a crouching position. Having said that, it's apparently not a big advantage, because many of the greatest catchers were over six feet:

Johnny Bench 6'1"
Gary Carter 6'2"
Carlton Fisk 6'2"
Gabby Hartnett 6'1"
Josh Gibson 6'1"
Lance Parrish 6'3"
Elston Howard 6'2"
#40
Old 08-13-2004, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc1953
But the real reason you don't see this any more is as Happy Scrappy Hero Pup says: you aren't going to waste a roster spot on a player with only one skill. You'd even need to pinch run for him every time he got on base, so you'd blow two substitutions every time he came up. Not worth it.
The A's in 1974 had a player whose sole job was to pinch-run. As you'll see here, Herb Washington scored 33 runs and had 31 stolen bases in the major leagues without a single at bat.
#41
Old 08-13-2004, 11:08 AM
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And the Herb Washington experiment was such a disaster that there's never been another Designated Runner. 33 runs would be a pathetic season for a full-time player. And as I recall, he was picked off an inordinate number of times.

Height may not be a predictor for speed, but as I said...all things being equal, longer legs will produce more speed than short legs. A giraffe looks like he's moving really slow, but no human could catch one.

And yes, Spud Webb and Mugsy Bogues had NBA careers. Doesn't mean being short is an advantage for a basketball player.
#42
Old 08-13-2004, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t-keela
Carl Lewis is what? 5' 7"
He is 6'2." Sprinters are tall, marathoners can be short (but not dwarves).

Why limit your team to one dwarf? But in nine who croutch real low. I would think that in the first inning the vistors could draw walk after walk. They could score several times before the pitcher managed to strike out three of them. The team could then put in it's regular nine and play the remaining eight innings with a big lead. This would only work in road games, but that's 81 games.

Of course, that would take the fun out of the game. Imagine if basketball teams loaded up with really, really tall players - guys who can't even hit free-throws half the time. Who would want to watch that?
#43
Old 08-13-2004, 11:35 AM
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Just to continue the dwarf/midget hijack, an excellent resource for all things pertaining to dwarfism can be found here

Quote:
Q: What is a midget?

A: In some circles, a midget is the term used for a proportionate dwarf. However, the term has fallen into disfavor and is considered offensive by most people of short stature. The term dates back to 1865, the height of the "freak show" era, and was generally applied only to short-statured persons who were displayed for public amusement, which is why it is considered so unacceptable today.

Such terms as dwarf, little person, LP, and person of short stature are all acceptable, but most people would rather be referred to by their name than by a label.
#44
Old 08-13-2004, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc1953
And the Herb Washington experiment was such a disaster that there's never been another Designated Runner. 33 runs would be a pathetic season for a full-time player. And as I recall, he was picked off an inordinate number of times.
I hope I wasn't trying to imply that it wasn't a disaster. It was, like many of Charlie O.'s ideas, interesting and unrealistic. Washington's SB/CS wasn't horrible, not great, but not horrible: 29/16 in 74 (92 games), 2/1 in the month of 75 that he lasted before they gave up on it, but that's certainly not want you want from someone who's only job is to score a run. He never batted, never fielded, which is why your comment about needing two players for a small batter reminded me of him.
#45
Old 08-13-2004, 12:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Lance Murdoch
I would think that in the first inning the vistors could draw walk after walk. They could score several times before the pitcher managed to strike out three of them.
I think the entire premise of this thread totally minimizes the skill of major league pitchers. With a full-sized batter, these guys can hit the optimal area of the strike zone (not just the entire strike) zone with a breaking ball (not just a fastball), more than 50% of the time -- and that's with knowing that the margin for error is so small, that missing by a few inches will result in a base hit.

A dwarf batter is going to have a strike zone about 18" tall and 17" wide, 6-8" above the ground. If a MLB pitcher knows he can throw a fastball through that zone with impunity--that the batter has no chance of doing any damage with the bat -- he will nail that strike zone 90% of the time. Any dwarf batter is going down on strikes in 4, 5 pitches max.
#46
Old 08-13-2004, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Lance Murdoch
He is 6'2." Sprinters are tall, marathoners can be short (but not dwarves).

Why limit your team to one dwarf? But in nine who croutch real low. I would think that in the first inning the vistors could draw walk after walk. They could score several times before the pitcher managed to strike out three of them. The team could then put in it's regular nine and play the remaining eight innings with a big lead. This would only work in road games, but that's 81 games.
If you plan to replace nine players, you're going to have to carry 17 position players, at least. (You could leave the DH in.) That means you can only carry eight pitchers, as opposed to the usual ten or eleven, thereby hurting your pitching staff, and removing any player replacement options for the rest of the game.

And frankly, I'd be shocked if you averaged more than one run per first inning. Pitchers have better control than you're giving them credit for. Remember that you can walk three guys and still not allow a run, so unless your expected on base percentage was way, way above .500, it's not going to work.

Same with designated runners. Herb Washington wasn't a good enough baserunner to help the A's; he was 31 for 48 as a basestealer over two seasons, plus 0 for 2 in the playoffs, which has a net effect of approximately nothing - if anything, he hurt the team. (Stealing a base is worth less than the negative value of getting caught stealing.) Even if he'd been 48 for 48, the impact on the A's fortunes would have been - oh, maybe eight, ten runs. Stealing bases just doesn't help so much that you can afford to waste a roster spot on Herb.
#47
Old 08-13-2004, 03:41 PM
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A satisfyingly complete discussion of the effects of dwarfism on batters and pitchers is integral to the Philip Roth's "The Great American Novel", my favorite baseball book of all time and one of the most hilarious books ever written. Synopsis.

Do the words "O.K. Ockatur" or "Every Inch A Man" ring any bells with the Dopers? Would a rising pitch from a submarine-throwing little person like Ockatur be that hard to hit? Why is it that Roth had "midget" be a PC word and "dwarf" an insult they use on each other - was he just wrong?

- The most faithful Ruppert Mundys fan in New England
#48
Old 08-13-2004, 08:28 PM
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Location: Anderson, IN,USA
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Two points, here. First, t-keela talked of the many Google hits on "midget racing." Midget is a class of race car in USAC; it's sort of a pint-size sprint car with a 4 cylinder engine, so it's a safe bet that "midget racing" sites will be about cars, not little folks. There's also quarter-midgets and three-quarter midgets for younger drivers. Many prominent race drivers started there.

Barry Bonds draws a lot of walks, but not every time. He owns the record for the most walks, but some pitchers, and some teams, will pitch to him. In a recent series with the St. Louis Cardinals, Bonds drew no walks at all. Cards manager Tony La Russa explained that, while Barry is the most dangerous hitter in baseball, Tony hates to tell a pitcher that he's not good enough to pitch to him.
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#49
Old 08-13-2004, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc1953
I can't think of any reason why being short would be an advantage for a catcher.

And all things being equal, a tall person will run faster than a short person. Longer legs = more distance per stride = more speed.
I know a family that consists of five sons. Two were All-American football players (one a running back: the other a defensive back); another son was the quarterback for a team known as a habitual contender for #1; another was a defensive back for a leading SEC team and the last played for a small college because of his size. The latter was the fastest runner, but was not recruited by large colleges because of his size. As a clue, the All-American running back also became a famous football coach.
#50
Old 08-13-2004, 10:20 PM
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Posts: 10,565
Stealing 29 bases while being caught 17 times isn't particularly good. Generally a base stealer needs to be better than 66% to be considered break even. The base you gain is not as valuable as the out you give up.

If you're on second base, good for you. You may get a chance to go another 180 feet and score.

If you're out, one of the 27 you're given is gone forever.
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