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Padres prospect Kyle Gaedele -- grand-nephew of Eddie Gaedel -- on his family's baseball legacy

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Photos via SI.com and MiLB.com

Legendary Indians, White Sox and St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck was known for his innovative and wacky promotions, but his most famous may have come 62 years ago -- on August 19, 1951 -- the day he signed 3-foot-7 Eddie Gaedel to play for the Browns. Gaedel walked in his only plate appearance and was pinch-run for, thus ending his baseball career. The performer, and shortest Major Leaguer ever, left to a standing ovation.

But did you know that he has a grand-nephew currently playing in the Padres organization? Kyle Gaedele (Eddie later added the "e" for business purposes) was a sixth-round pick out of Valparaiso in 2011 and now mans left field for the Class A Lake Elsinore Storm. Gaedele ranks second on the team with 10 home runs and 50 RBIs this season -- and is listed at 6-foot-3 and 220 lbs.

Cut4: The story of Eddie Gaedel is one of baseball's most famous tales. How old were you when you first heard about the legacy that your great uncle had in the game?

Gaedele: "I think I was about 11 years old. We as a family went down to Cooperstown to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Cooperstown did a re-enactment of the skit and I got to be a part of that. So that was probably the first time I was really aware of who he was and the historic background of what happened."

How strong is Eddie's legacy within the Gaedele family?

"We take a lot of pride in it. We're not afraid to share the story and we'll never shy away from interviews. It's one of the most historic events in baseball history and, as family, I can speak for my entire family by saying it's pretty cool to be a part of that."

Is that in part what inspired you to become a ballplayer yourself?

"I don't think so. I've been playing baseball my whole life. My dad's been coaching me my whole life until I got to high school, but it just adds to it. I don't think it really started me playing baseball, but it's just kind of cool as an add-on."

How well known is Eddie's story to your teammates throughout the years?

"As I've gotten older in pro ball, it's been more known, but when I was in travel ball, high school and college, it wasn't really very big. When I started getting my name out there in the draft and into pro ball, more people have recognized the last name, but it's hard because our last names are spelled differently. They don't really get the connection right away until they ask me. But pretty much everybody knows now."

How do you think you would benefit from a 3-foot-7 strike zone?

"A lot more walks and a lot less strikeouts!"

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