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Robert Max "Sugar" Cain (October 16, 1924 – April 8, 1997) was an American Major League Baseball pitcher with the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Browns between 1949 and 1954. He batted and threw left-handed. Cain was the pitcher who issued a base on balls to Eddie Gaedel, whose single plate appearance made him the shortest person to appear in a major league game.

Bob Cain
Bob Cain 1953.jpg
Cain c. 1953
Born: (1924-10-16)October 16, 1924
Longford, Kansas
Died: April 8, 1997(1997-04-08) (aged 72)
Cleveland, Ohio
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 18, 1949, for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 11, 1954, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record37–44
Earned run average4.50


Cain was born on October 16, 1924, in Longford, Kansas. He was signed to a contract with the New York Giants in 1943.[1] Cain shut out the New York Yankees in his first major league start in 1949. On April 23, 1952 he matched one-hitters with Bob Feller and won, 1–0 at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis.

On August 19, 1951, St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck put the 3 foot, 7 inch Eddie 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."[2] In his crouch, Gaedel reportedly had a strike zone of 1​12 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.[3]

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."

After leaving baseball, Cain was a salesman for Kraft Foods. He lived in Euclid, Ohio, for the last 40 years of his life, and died of cancer in Cleveland at age 72.[4]


  1. ^ "Bob Cain". Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  2. ^ Bak, Richard (1991). Cobb Would Have Caught It. p. 350.
  3. ^ Ferraro, Michael X; Veneziano, John (2007). Numbelivable!. Chicago, Illinois: Triumph Books. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-57243-990-0.
  4. ^ "New York Times Obituary of Bob Cain".

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