The beauty of Major League Baseball is that the size and height of players do not matter. Height becomes more apparent when a player like Aaron Judge and Jose Altuve stand next to each other, however. You may be thinking, who was the shortest MLB player to play the game? Below are some of the shortest players ever to play throughout baseball history, but before we start, we need to know some averages.
Who Was the Shortest Baseball Player?
Eddie Gaedel was the shortest baseball player ever to play in the MLB. Standing at 3’7″, Eddie Gaedel made a big splash in his only big league at bat by walking. The next shortest baseball player was almost two feet taller than Eddie.
List of the Shortest Baseball Players by Height
- Eddie Gaedel 3’7″
- Bob Emmerich 5’3″
- Jess Cortazzo 5’3″
- Stubby Magner 5’3″
- Pompey Davalillo 5’3″
- Lee Via 5’4″
- Dinty Gearin 5’4″
- Willie Keeler 5’4″
- Walter James Vincent Maranville 5’5″
- Gene Krapp 5’5″
- Freddie Patek 5’5″
- David Eckstein 5’6″
- Bobby Shantz 5’6″
- Phil Rizzuto 5’6″
- Lewis Robert Wilson 5’6″
- Joe Sewell 5’6″
- Miller Huggins 5’6″
- Jose Alutve 5’6″
- Billy Hamilton 5’6″
- Tony Kemp 5’6″
- Marcus Stroman 5’7″
- Yogi Berra 5’7″
- Terrance Gore 5’7″
- Tim Collins 5’7″
- Joe Morgan 5’7″
- Leury Garcia 5’8″
- Kirby Puckett 5’8″
- Cedric Mullins 5’8″
- Jimmy Rollins 5’8″
- Ozzie Albies 5’8″
- Dustin Pedroia 5’9″
- Mookie Betts 5’9″
- Ivan Rodriguez 5’9″
Eddie Carl Gaedel is the shortest baseball player ever standing at 3’7″. The St. Louis Browns were the team that Eddie was part of, and he came up as a pinch hitter. His height created confusion with the umpire, but the manager had the proper papers showing he was an MLB player. In his only plate appearance for the St. Louis Browns, Eddie walked. Eddie’s uniform was number 1/8 and is now in the St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Hall of Fame Museum.
The story of the smallest MLB player is intriguing. The owner of the St. Louis Browns, Bill Veeck, signed Eddie as a gimmick to entertain the crowd. During a doubleheader on August 19, 1951, Eddie came up to the plate and did not swing once. The contract from owner Bill Veeck told Eddie told to get as low as he could in the batter’s box to make throwing a strike difficult. After walking on four pitches, a pinch-runner came in to take Eddie’s position at first base.
Eddie only had one plate appearance with the St. Louis Browns and had his contract terminated the next day. Major League Baseball initially did not want to include Eddie’s stats in the records, but then relisted. Eddie took his spotlight fame and appeared on several television shows after that moment.
At a listing height of 5’3, Bob Emmerich was of the shortest MLB players to play the game. Bob was a centerfielder for the Boston Braves but did not have great stats. During his MLB career, Bon had a batting average of .083.
Standing at 5’3″ as a shortstop for the Chicago White Sox, Jess only played in one game and had one at-bat. He made his major league debut in 1923 for the Chicago White Sox but did not record a hit. His nickname was also known as the Shine.
Playing for the New York Highlanders in 1911, Stubby had a short career in the big leagues. He made his MLB debut in the summer of 1911, and that would be his final season. Standing at 5’3″, Stubby ended his MLB career with a .212 average, 0 home runs, and 4 RBI’s.
Playing shortstop of the Washington Senators at 5’3″, Pompey was known as the Yo-Yo. During his career, Pompey hit .293, had 0 home runs, and two runs batted in. He made his MLB debut in August of 1953, and that would be his only month in the big leagues.
Standing at 5’4″, Lee made history by winning and losing 20+ games in a single season. In 1889 for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, Lee went 22-20 with an earn run average of 3.79. Lee finished his career with 83 wins and 77 losses with a 3.33 ERA.
Dinty Gearin, who was the shortest MLB pitcher to play baseball standing at 5’4″, won 2 games and lost 4 in his career. During his two year career with the New York Giants in 1923 +1924, he had an ERA of 3.74, and 52 innings pitched. During his career in the Majors, Dinty pitched in 13 games.
William Henry Keeler, Wee Willie, was a right fielder standing at 5’4″. His MLB career went from 1892 and went all the way to 1912. During this career, Keeler had a .341 batting average, 33 home runs, and 810 runs batted in.
Walter James Vincent Maranville
Walter was a Major League Baseball player form 1912 to 1934. During his career, Walter “Rabbit” played for the Boston Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Robins, and St. Louis Cardinals. Standing at 5’5″, Maranville had a long and accomplished playing career. He finished his batting career with over 2,600 hits and got int the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1954.
Standing at 5’5″, Gene was pitching in the Majors from 1911 to 1915. During his career, Gene had a win-loss record of 40-47 with a 3.23 ERA. During this career, Gene played for the Cleveland Naps and Buffalo Blues.
Standing at 5’5″, Freddie spent most of his MLB career with the Kansas City Royals. During the 1977 season, Freddie led the league with 53 stolen bases. In 1992, Freddie Patek got into the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame for his accomplishments with the Royals.
Standing at 5’6″, David Eckstein was a shortstop for in the Major leagues. He was a two-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion during his career. His first World Series win came with the Angels in 2002 while his second came in 2006 with the St. Louis Cardinals.
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Standing at 5’6″, Bobby Shantz was a pitcher in Major League Baseball. His career stats were 119-99, with an ERA of 3.38. While playing sixteen seasons in the majors, Bobby had his best season in 1952. During the 1952 season, Bobby went 24-7 with an ERA of 2.48.
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Hall of Famer, Phillip Francis Rizzuto (The Scooter), was an American League Shortstop for the New York Yankees. Standing at 5″6, Phil was electric both in on defense and the bat. He was part of seven World Series Championships, ten AL East Titles, and won the AL MVP award in 1950. Phil Rizzuto made it into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.
Lewis Robert Wilson
Standing at 5’6″, Lewis Robert Wilson brought serious power to the plate when he came up to bat. In 1930, Lewis hit 56 home runs and close to 200 RBI’s in one single season. His nickname on the field was “Hack Wilson,” due to his tremendous strength. In 1979, Lewis became a new member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Joe Sewell was an MLB player for the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees. Standing at 5’6″, Joe has the second-lowest career strikeout rate in MLB history. In 1932, Joe only struct out three times, which is the single-season record.
Miller Huggins, standing at 5’6″, was a second baseman known as “Rabbit,” “Little Everywhere,” and “Mighty Mite.” From 1904 – 1909, Huggins was part of the Cincinnati Reds. From 1910-1916, Huggins played for the St. Louis Cardinals. Huggins finished his playing career with a .265 batting average, nine home runs, and 324 stolen bases.
In addition to his playing career, Miller Huggins was also a baseball manager. He was the manager of the Cardinals from 1913 – 1929. In addition to the St. Louis Cardinals, Huggins was the manager of the New York Yankees from 1918 – 1929. During that time with the Yankees, he won six AL pennants and three world series. He managed the Murders’ Row teams in th1920’s.
Both at the Old Yankee Stadium and New Yankee Stadium, Huggins has a monument in monument park celebrating his legacy. At the old venue, the monument was put in place in 1932 before it was officially known as monument park. In 1964, Miller Huggins was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
How tall is the second baseman Jose Altuve on the Houston Astros? The answer to that question is 5’6″, but don’t let his size fool you. Altuve is one of the best players not only in the American League but in baseball.
Jose Altuve has multiple All-Star Game appearances, the 2017 MVP award, and helped the team win the 2017 World Series. Altuve has 13 home runs in the postseason, making it the record in addition to those accomplishments.
Standing at 5’6″, Billy holds the record for driving in the most runs batted in with 198 in 1894. During his career, Billy had a .344 career batting average, 40 home runs, and 912 stolen bases. During his career, Billy was part of the Kansas City Cowboys, Philadelphia Phillies, and Boston Beaneaters.
Standing at 5’6″, Tony Kemp is an outfielder for the Oakland Athletics baseball team. During his rookie year in 2016, Tony batted .217, had one home runs, and drove in seven runs batted in. His career stats in Major League Baseball come out to a .233 batting average, 15 home runs, and 7o runs batted in.
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Marcus Stroman is a professional baseball pitcher for the New York Mets. Before joining the New York Mets in 2019, Stroman was a pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. Standing at 5’7″, Stroman is one of the shortest Major League Baseball pitchers in the game.
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Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra, was an American League catcher for the New York Yankees. Standing at 5’7″, Yogi Berra was part of some of the biggest moments in Yankees history. He finished his career with a .285 average, 358 home runs, and 1,430 runs batted in. During his time as a player with the Yankees, Yogi Berra was a World Champion 13 times.
Yogi is also known for catching the only perfect game in World Series history. The pitcher of the Yankees, Don Larsen, threw a perfect game to Yogi in the 1956 World Series. To celebrate Yogi’s achievements, the Yankees retired his number 8 uniform in 1972. Also during 1972, Yogi Berra was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Standing at 5’7″, Terrance Gore has been the left fielder primarily for the Kansas City Royals team. Terrance is the 16th player in baseball to wear the number zero as a player. His main duties as a player is to pitch run in certain scenarios. For his career, Terrance has a .224 batting average, zero home runs, and one run batted in.
Tim Collins, standing at 5’7″, had a 91-5 record during his four years in High School. In addition to the high school record, Tim threw a no-hitter during senior year season. In the Majors, Tim has bounced around many different organizations, including the Kansas City Royals, Washington Nationals, and Chicago Cubs. Tim posts a 12 win and 17 loss record in his career with a 3.60 ERA.
Joe Morgan, standing at 5’7″, was one of the best second basemen in the game for the Cincinnati Reds. During his playing time, Joe won two World Series and won the NL MVP twice. Joe joined the Reds Hall of Fame in 1987 and finished his career with a .271 batting average.
Standing at 5’8″, Leury Garcia is a utility position player for the Chicago White Sox Major League Baseball Team. Leury made his MLB debut during 2013, and has played multiple positions around the diamond. For his career stats, Leury has a .256 batting average, 23 home runs, and 119 runs batted in.
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Standing at 5’8″, Kirby put up big numbers during his career with the Minnesota Twins. Kirby went to ten straight All-Star games, won six Silver Slugger awards, and had two World Series championships. In addition to the batting records, Kirby was an excellent outfielder, where he won six gold gloves.
Kirby also had big moments in the postseason, but nothing was more significant than 1991. During the 1991 World Series, Kirby made a jumping catch in front of the plexiglass in the outfield. During an at-bat in extra innings, Kirby hit a home run to force a game 7 for the Minnesota Twins.
Cedric Mullins, who stands at 5’8″, is a baseball player for the Baltimore Orioles. 2019 was the first season as the Orioles center field, but his numbers got him demoted to triple AAA during the season. While playing baseball in the majors, Cedric has a .197 batting average, four home runs, and 15 runs batted in.
Jimmy Rollins was the shortstop of the Philadelphia Phillies team form 2000-2014. He did spend his final two years of his career for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. Jimmy stood at 5’8″ and won many awards during his playing career. He was a three-time All-Star, NL MLP in 2007, and World Series Champion in 2008. Finally, Jimmy Rollins had four gold gloves at shortstop and was the NL stolen base leader.
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Standing at 5’8″, Ozzie Albies is the second basemen for the Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball Team. Making his major league debut in 2017, Ozzie has quickly made a name for himself with his accomplishments. In 2018, Ozzie made the All-Star Team for the National League in his first full season. In 2019, Ozzie won the National League Silver Slugger Award for second basemen. During his short career so far, Ozzie has a .279 career batting average, 54 home runs, and 186 Runs batted in.
Dustin Pedroia, standing at 5’9″, is still on the Boston Red Sox as of 2020. Pedroia made Major League Baseball debut in 2006 and won the 2007 AL Rookie of the Year Award in his first full season. In addition to the 2007 Rookie of the Year Award, Pedroia was instrumental in the 2007 World Series. In 2008, Pedroia won the MVP (Most Valuable Player), Gold Glove as a second baseman, and Silver Slugger Award.
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Mookie Betts is one of the most talented baseball players in the game today. Standing at 5’9″, Mookie is not the shortest MLB player in the game, but still stands out. His superb outfield defense, clutch hitting, and great running instincts make him a top player today.
Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez was a catcher in the Majors standing at 5’9″. During this playing career, Pudge was part of the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and Washington Nationals. During his career, he had a .296 batting average, 311 home runs, and 1,300 runs batted in.
What Is The Average Height of a Baseball Player?
Before jumping into who the shortest MLB player was, we should understand the average height in the league. The average infield height is around 6 feet tall, with the first baseman being the tallest at 6’2″.In the outfield, you generally have the center fielder being the shortest member in the field. If you want to see how the positions breakdown in more detail via height, you can visit that link.
Finally, pitchers tend to be on the taller side, standing at 6’2″ in the game. You can read more about the pitcher breakdown in that link.
Conclusion on the Shortest MLB Players
Baseball is a sport where short players can be just as dangerous as tall players, so it’s so unique. While the average height of ballplayers is 6’1″, some of the shortest players have made the most significant difference. Players like Jose Altuve, Dustin Pedroia, and David Eckstein have won multiple awards and led their teams to World Series victories. In this post, we went over the shortest MLB player, the story behind that, and so much more.
If you are looking for more interesting baseball facts, check out the oldest baseball ballparks list.