Books | Sports

December 5, 2007

The Sports Speculator

Wonder how pro tennis players would do with a frying pan instead of a racquet? The irreverent Todd Gallagher has answers.

Carl Bialik

Consider Bill Veeck the intellectual forerunner of Todd Gallagher. In 1951, the White Sox owner wondered what would happen if opposing pitchers were forced to cope with the tiny strike zone of a 3'7" leadoff man. So he hired midget Eddie Gaedel, saw him walk on four pitches, and had him replaced with a pinch-runner. The American League president banned the contract the next day. But 45 years later, Gallagher revisited the scenario, this time sending four batters 4'4" and shorter to the plate against a minor-league pitcher. The diminutive batters won in a bloodbath, scoring four runs in one exhibition inning. Bill Veeck's son, Mike, wasn't interested in signing the fearsome foursome, but Gallagher won't let the matter drop. "I'm actually working on making this happen still as part of a larger plan to ruin baseball," he tells Gelf. "The midget stuff has legs. Tiny, little, midget legs, but legs, nonetheless."

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Article by Carl Bialik

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