The world of professional baseball is dominated by larger-than-life athletes, who tower over the average human, which is why we celebrate the shortest MLB players as we feel like we can relate to them.
A modern example of a short player using his size to his advantage is controversial Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. He has been able to capitalize on his small frame to shrink the strike zone while using his elite bat-on-ball skills to punish MLB pitching. Couple the bat skills with an elite defensive ability, and Altuve is a force, despite him standing at only 5'6".
"JOSE ATLUVE WHAT A PLAY!!" - Ben Verlander
While his legacy will forever be tainted by the Houston sign-stealing scandal, he is undoubtedly one of the most elite hitters of his generation. Altuve, who stands at only 5'6" is one of the shortest MLB players of all-time, yet he there are 12 players in history who stand shorter than him.
It's time to shine some light on the five shortest MLB players in history: Eddie Gaedel (3'7"), Stubby Magner (5'3"), Pompeyo "Yo-Yo" Davalillo (5'3"), "Wee Willie" Keeler (5'4"), and Freddie Patek (5'5).
The legendary Eddie Gaedel, the unquestioned shortest MLB player of all-time
Though he was only brought into the game for one at-bat as a publicity stunt, the appearance would live on forever in baseball history. Standing at a whopping 3-foot-7-inches, there will never be another player in history to be shorter than Eddie.
"On this date in 1951, St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck sent Eddie Gaedel, who was 3-foot-7, up to pinch-hit. Gaedel, wearing the jersey number 1/8, walked on four pitches in his only plate appearance." - ESPN Stats & Info
To his credit, Eddie would draw a four-pitch walk. He will forever wear the crown of shortest MLB player of all-time.
At 5'3", introducing Stubby Magner
While his career was shortlived, Stubby Magner was a trailblazer for players who stood well-below the average baseball player. In 13 games, Magner would record 7 hits, 4 RBIs, and a stolen base.
"@frustrated_fan feel like Stubby Magner never got a shot to show what he could do at the ML level..." - Chris Bland
Though he only played in 13 games and finished his career with a .212 batting average, Magner would help open doors for shorter players such as Jose Altuve and Joe Morgan.
POMPEYO “YO-YO” DAVALILLO
The most successful player of those highlighted in this article is Yo-Yo Davalillo, who played in 19 games for the Washington Senators in 1953. He finished the season with a .293 batting average and 2 RBIs.
"June 30th in year 1931, Yo-Yo Davalillo, Venezuelan baseball player and manager was born #Yo-YoDavalillo #history #datefacts" - @DexterJatt
While Davalillo shares the second-place ranking of shortest MLB players, he is also a traiblazer for Venezuelan baseball players as he was just the fourth to play in the MLB at the time.
Mr. Hall of Fame, "Wee Willie" Keeler
Standing 5'4", Willie Keeler is not only the first Hall of Fame player on this list, but he is also one of the shortest Hall of Fame athletes in any professional sport. Keeler, one of the greatest contact hitters of all-time, was notorious for being nearly impossible to strike out. Keeler has the highest career at bats-per-strikeout ratio in MLB history.
"Wee Willie Keeler laying down a bunt" - Baseball in Pics
Keeler will live forever in the annals of baseball history as not only one of the shortest MLB players of all-time, but also one of the greatest hitters in MLB history. Through 19 seasons, Keeler finished with an astonishing career batting average of .341, with 2,932 hits and 495 stolen bases.
"The Cricket" Freddie Patek, one of baseball's scrappiest players
The final player highlighted in this article is Freddie Patek, who currently ranks as the fifth shortest MLB player of all-time. While he was not known for his power, Patek was a menace on defense and on the basepaths.
"5' 4" Freddie Patek leads off first with 6' 7" Frank Howard holding him on" - 1970s Baseball
He spent 14 seasons in the Majors from 1968-1981, spending time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, and the California Angels. At the end of his career, Patek finished with 385 stolen bases and 1,340 hits, while being named an All-Star on three occasions, as well as a place in the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame.