Shortest cleanup hitter?

If you haven't heard yet, the Astros have been occasionally slotting Jose Altuve into the cleanup spot in the lineup this season. In an interview between Jay Mohr and Jeff Luhnow, they wondered if Altuve was the shortest cleanup hitter ever. Let's see what we can find.

Rabbit Maranville - Rabbit was listed at the same 1 Altuve height as Jose. Over the course of his career, he started a game in the cleanup spot 76 times, 73 of those occurring in 1914. Of course, this was before the rise of the home run hitter, and batting cleanup wasn't necessarily reserved for sluggers. This was the time when "Homerun" Baker never hit more than 12 in a season.

Freddie Patek - Though appearing in the 4 spot five times in his career, they were all as subs. Patek never started a game as the cleanup hitter.

Unfortunately, most of the position players who stood in at 1 Altuve or less played in an era we don't have much information on. Did Wee Willie Keeler or Topsy Hartsell hit cleanup? I can't tell you; Baseball-Reference doesn't have splits available for their time period. But it looks like Jose Altuve has, once again, found himself standing tall among short players.




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