A Retro Promotion–with a Twist (Or, The Three-Foot Man Who Came to Bat)

Bill Veeck was a showman.  He always had been.  But this time, he was determined to cook up a scheme that would top them all.


In the dog days of the late summer of 1951, Veeck’s team, the St. Louis Browns, were mired in yet another forgettable season.  The Browns–who later moved to Baltimore and rechristened themselves the Orioles–were a perennial basement dweller, and the fans in St. Louis took note.  Attendance was spotty year after year.  St. Louis belonged to the crosstown rival Cardinals.  The Browns were an afterthought.

To combat this, Veeck, the Browns owner, came up with an idea.  What if he rostered a man under four feet tall and sent him up to bat?  On the afternoon of August 19, 1951, in the second game of a doubleheader between the Browns and the Detroit Tigers, the sad-sack team from St. Louis did just that.


Enter Eddie Gaedel.  Gaedel, twenty-six at the time, stood three feet seven inches tall and weighed in at sixty-five pounds.  But prior to Gaedel’s bizarre plate appearance, both Veeck and Gaedel kept things under wraps.  Between games of the doubleheader at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, Gaedel burst through a papier-mache cake.  “Is that all?” the fans wondered.  Veeck had promoted the event as something people would never forget, a “festival of surprises.”  Having a miniature-sized young man emerge from a fake cake between games was not exactly riveting material.


But Veeck had the last laugh, and the “festival” was most assuredly on.

In the bottom of the first inning of the second game of the doubleheader, the Browns pinch-hit for their leadoff batter, Frank Saucier.  And the man who they sent up to hit for him?  None other than Eddie Gaedel.


The home-plate umpire protested.  What was this?  But Browns manager Zack Taylor provided a copy of Gaedel’s contract–Veeck had been prepared for just such a challenge from the umpire, and had the foresight to arm his manager with the contract, just in case.

Satisfied that the circus materializing before him was in fact on the up-and-up, the umpire allowed the action to proceed.

The Tigers pitcher that day, Bob Cain, laughed at Gaedel from the mound.  But he pitched to him.  Gaedel, wearing the number 1/8 on his uniform, was under strict orders not to swing the bat–just take the pitches thrown his way.  Though tempted to take a cut at the ball, Gaedel followed the plan, and, with such a tiny strike zone, he was awarded a walk on four pitches–all high.


On his way to first base, Gaedel twice paused to bow to the crowd, who cheered him on wildly.  He was summarily replaced with a pinch runner, and, on his way back to the dugout, Gaedel received a standing ovation.


The Browns, as was their custom, would go on to lose the game, 6-2.  And the very next day, American League president Will Harridge voided Gaedel’s contract, claiming it made a mockery of the game.  Gaedel never appeared in another Major League contest.  But for one day, for one at bat, Eddie Gaedel stood tall and forever forged his place in baseball lore.



I don’t pretend to have come up with a promotion that compares with old Eddie Gaedel’s single plate appearance sixty-seven summers ago, but I am reenacting a promotion I’ve used a few times before–with a twist.

In years past, I would sometimes run an Amazon gift card promo for The Eye-Dancers.  I now propose to do the same thing for the sequel, The Singularity Wheel.  (But The Eye-Dancers still factors in, if applicable!  Stay tuned.)


And so, for anyone who is thinking of purchasing The Singularity Wheel, the next month offers an intriguing opportunity.  Beginning today, April 4, and ending Sunday, May 6, anyone who purchases The Singularity Wheel will be eligible to win an Amazon gift card.  Here is how it works . . .


Between April 4 and May 6, if you buy The Singularity Wheel (either as an e-book or a paperback, your choice!), please notify me–either with a comment on this website, or via email at michaelf424@gmail.com.  I will write down the name of  each person who buys the book during this time frame on a small slip of paper, fold the paper, and, in old-school fashion, place the paper in a jar.  Then, on May 7, the day after the promotion ends, I will randomly select one of the names from the jar.  The selected person will be awarded the Amazon gift card.


The amount of the gift card will be based on the number of purchases of The Singularity Wheel during the promotional time period.  For each purchase, $1.50 will be earmarked toward the gift card.  So, for example, if there are thirty purchases during the promotion, the gift card would be $45 (30 purchases x $1.50 per purchase).  The gift card amount, in other words, will be determined by you!  The more purchases, the higher the amount on the gift card.


I’ll draw the winner’s name on Monday, May 7, and will email the good news to the winner, and immediately award them the gift card.

Where does the first book, The Eye-Dancers, come in to play?  Well, for everyone who has already purchased The Eye-Dancers (and thank you to all!), it doesn’t.  But if you have not purchased The Eye-Dancers, it makes sense for you to read that first since The Singularity Wheel is a sequel.  With that in mind, if you do not already have a copy of The Eye-Dancers on hand and you take part in this promotion, as soon as you inform me that you’ve purchased a copy of The Singularity Wheel, I will promptly email you a file of The Eye-Dancers for free.  And the file can be in whatever format you prefer (PDF, epub, or mobi).


I hope you will take part in this promo!  While, admittedly, it’s not in the same league as Bill Veeck’s 1951 “festival of surprises,” it does offer an opportunity to win a (hopefully) substantial gift card!  And again, as a reminder, if you do buy The Singularity Wheel during the designated promotional period, please make sure to contact me so I can enter your name into the gift-card contest.


To buy a Kindle copy of The Singularity Wheel, please click here.

To buy a paperback copy, please click here.

And, unlike Eddie Gaedel nearly three-quarters of a century ago, there’s no need to leave the bat on your shoulders.  Feel free to swing for the fences.


Thanks so much for reading!


34 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. laurelwolfelives
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 17:55:27

    Loved the story! Loved the post! 😘


  2. joannerambling
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 21:12:42

    Now this was a story I have never heard of before


  3. The Eye-Dancers
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 21:30:13

    A “festival of surprises” indeed.:)


  4. thelonelyauthorblog
    Apr 04, 2018 @ 21:55:18

    Great post. Love reading about old time baseball


  5. The Eye-Dancers
    Apr 05, 2018 @ 00:22:23

    Agreed! Honestly, I know more about baseball past than I do baseball present . . .


  6. ellie894
    Apr 05, 2018 @ 14:05:20

    Thank you for making me smile this morning 😊


  7. ellie894
    Apr 05, 2018 @ 14:28:06

    Ok, I’ve finally managed my kindle app! 😅. Can’t wait to start reading


  8. Dragthepen
    Apr 05, 2018 @ 16:46:59

    Thank you for this piece of history. I had the chance to visit the baseball hall of fame in Coopers town. I had the best three days learning about baseball. I sat in Babe Ruth’s locker.


  9. The Eye-Dancers
    Apr 05, 2018 @ 17:00:46

    I love the Hall of Fame.:) Cooperstown is only about four hours from me, and I visit from time to time. I love that region of NY State! Always great hearing from you.:)


  10. TheDreamGirlWrites
    Apr 05, 2018 @ 18:02:15

    Bill Veeck was a showman. This line just reminded me of The Greatest Showman, PT Barnum! The musical movie was a delight to watch.
    Great post as always!!!


  11. The Eye-Dancers
    Apr 05, 2018 @ 18:17:21

    Thanks so much! And I hadn’t even thought of the connection with P.T. Barnum, but of course you are absolutely right.:)


  12. Mary J. McCoy-Dressel
    Apr 06, 2018 @ 14:47:34

    That’s a generous offer, Mike. Great post, too.


  13. Sherri Matthews
    Apr 06, 2018 @ 15:06:11

    Done! All the best with your promotion Mike 🙂


  14. Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner
    Apr 06, 2018 @ 16:51:49

    Both are now on my Kindle…looking forward to stepping into ‘your’ world today! Congratulations, Mike!


  15. Superduque777
    Apr 08, 2018 @ 02:54:49


  16. Anna Waldherr
    Apr 08, 2018 @ 23:56:00

    It is a shame that good, solid fiction for young people requires promotion. I wish you much success w/ your work.


  17. jjspina
    Apr 09, 2018 @ 10:02:18

    This is an interesting post, Mike. I never heard of this little guy in baseball. Thanks for sharing.
    Wishing you all the best with the giveaway and book. I have it on my TBR list. I hope to get to it sometime this year. The list is extensive, sorry. Clever idea for the giveaway. Good luck. 😆


  18. Today, You Will Write
    Apr 14, 2018 @ 14:41:35

    Congrats on the new book, Mike!


  19. Sylvie G
    Apr 18, 2018 @ 18:28:20

    Thank you for visiting visualpoetry. This site is not updated anymore.You can follow the bilingual site http://www.poesievisuelle.net Have a nice day!


  20. Trackback: Two Great YA Books, A Book Sale, and an Amazon Gift Card Giveaway – Wanda Luthman's Children's Books

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