Tallest: Relief pitcher Jon Rauch debuted with the Chicago White Sox in 2002. He’s played for seven teams, won an Olympic gold medal in baseball in the 2000 Olympics, and at a height of 6’11” he’s the tallest player in MLB history.
Shortest: As a publicity stunt in 1951, St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck hired a 26-year-old little person named Eddie Gaedel to take the plate in a game. Walked on four straight pitches, the 3’7″ Gaedel took his base and was replaced by a pinch runner. The shortest “everyday” player? There have been 11 players that stood 5’3″, and curiously all played before 1960.
Biggest: First baseman and designated hitter Walter Young was called up to the Baltimore Orioles in the final month of the 2005 season. It was the last big-league action he saw, but he made history as the biggest man to ever take the field: Young stands 6’5″ and at the time was listed at 322 pounds.
Youngest: World War II depleted the major leagues of a lot of its players, meaning that a good player who was too young to fight good feasibly make it to the big leagues. That was the case with Joe Nuxhall, who in June 1944 took the mount for the Cincinnati Reds. He was just 15 at the time, the beginning of a two-decade-long career.
Oldest: After an outstanding career in the Negro Leagues spanning the 1920s through the 1940s, pitcher Satchel Paige joined the Major Leagues for five seasons, once they were integrated. In 1965, Kansas City Athletics owner Charles Finley held a celebration of the Negro Leagues, and invited several old stars to attend. He capped it by signing Paige to pitch. Comically sitting in a rocking chair between innings, he pitched to nine batters, with nine outs.
For more MLB Trivia, check out Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Sports Spectacular.