Cain in about 1953.
October 16, 1924|
|Died: April 8, 1997
|Batted: Left||Threw: Left|
|September 18, 1949 for the Chicago White Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 11, 1954 for the Chicago White Sox|
|Earned run average||4.50|
Robert Max Cain [Sugar] (October 16, 1924 – April 8, 1997) was a left-handed pitcher who played Major League Baseball from 1949 to 1954.
Cain shut out the New York Yankees in his first major league start, and in 1952 matched one-hitters with Bob Feller and won, 1–0. He is, however, most remembered as the pitcher who faced Eddie Gaedel – the only dwarf to appear in a major league baseball game.
On August 19, 1951, St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck put the 3 foot, 7 inch Gaedel into the game with instructions to hold his bat on his shoulder and not swing. Cain later recalled: "I went out to the mound to start to pitch the bottom half of the first and as I was warming up, Eddie went over and got these little bats. We couldn't understand what was going on." (Richard Bak, "Cobb Would Have Caught It" (1991), p. 350) In his crouch, Gaedel reportedly had a strike zone of 1½ inches. Detroit catcher, Bob Swift, advised Cain to "Keep it low." According to observers, Cain was laughing so hard at the prospect of pitching to Gaedel that "he's practically falling off the mound with each pitch." Cain proceeded to walk Gaedel on four straight pitches, all high.
Cain pitched five seasons in the major leagues with the Chicago White Sox (1949–1951), Detroit Tigers (1951), and St. Louis Browns (1952–1953), also appearing a pinch-hitter in one game for the White Sox in 1954. Cain played in 150 major league games, with 140 appearances as a pitcher, for 628 innings, with a career record of 37–44 and an earned run average of 4.50.
When Gaedel died in 1961, Cain was the only person affiliated with major league baseball who attended his funeral. Cain said, "I never even met him, but I felt obligated to go."