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Freddie Patek
Born: October 9, 1944 (1944-10-09) (age 65)
Seguin, Texas
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
June 3, 1968 for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
October 3, 1981 for the California Angels
Career statistics
Batting average     .242
Hits     1,340
Runs batted in     490
Stolen bases     385
Career highlights and awards

Frederick Joseph Patek (pronounced /ˈpɑːˌtɛk/; born October 9, 1944 in Seguin, Texas[1]) is a former Major League Baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, and California Angels from 1968 to 1981.

Primarily a shortstop, Patek was a three-time All-Star, and at a height of five feet, five inches (by some accounts he was five-foot-four), was the shortest player of his time. His diminutive size earned him nicknames such as Little Freddie, The Flea, and Moochie, all of which he disliked as it was tough enough to prove himself in general. It did not help that his voice was somewhat high-pitched, sounding not unlike that of the stereotypical little person, or perhaps a jockey. Although he disliked the "little guy" nicknames, he did manage to display some humor about his size; when asked by a reporter what it felt like to be the smallest player in the major leagues, Patek replied- "it's better than being the smallest player in the minor leagues."

A memorable image was captured by NBC-TV of Patek sitting painfully alone in the Royals' empty dugout while the New York Yankees celebrated on-field their come-from-behind victory to win the last game of the 1977 American League Championship Series, played in Kansas City. The game and series ended when he grounded into a double play.

Patek made his major league debut in 1968 with the Pirates, but made a name for himself after he was traded in 1970 to Kansas City, where he would lead the league in triples in 1971 and stolen bases in 1973. Not normally a power hitter—he hit 41 home runs in 1,650 games over his career—Patek became the second shortstop, after Ernie Banks, to hit three home runs in a single game on June 20, 1980 while playing for the Angels. Patek was better known for his speed and his defensive abilities. Former manager Whitey Herzog called Patek the best artificial turf shortstop he ever managed, ranking him even higher than Ozzie Smith.

Patek retired after the 1981 season with a career batting average of .242.

Although Patek played in 4 American League Championship Series, his teams never got to the World Series. The Pirates won the World Series the season after Patek left the Pirates (1971), and the Royals lost the World Series the season after Patek left the Royals (1980). Baseball analyst Bill James has ranked Patek, a member of the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame, the 14th best player in Royals' history.

On July 21, 1992 his daughter Kimberlie was paralyzed from the neck down in a car accident. Several fund raisers were held by former teammates and the Baseball Assistance Team to help with his uninsured daughters medical bills. She died on June 15, 1995.


See also


  1. ^ "Freddie Patek Statistics". Retrieved 2007-05-09. 

External links

Preceded by
Billy North
American League Stolen Base Champion
Succeeded by
Ron LeFlore


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