Tall and Short
I’m in a caregiver mode, with my wife finally home from back
surgery and rehab with severe sciatica, which hopefully should
go away in a month or so. This column will be exceedingly
In recent columns, I’ve mentioned the world’s tallest man,
China’s Bao Xishun, standing at 7 feet 9 inches. In the Star-
Ledger last week there was a brief article reporting that a 37-
year-old Ukrainian former veterinarian, Leonid Stadnik, has
replaced Bao. Stadnik is an astounding 8 feet 5 inches tall, 8
inches taller than Bao. Apparently, a brain operation at age 14
stimulated the pituitary gland, producing an overabundance of
In contrast to Stadnik, Phil Rizzuto was only 5 feet 6 inches tall.
The beloved Hall of Fame shortstop and broadcaster for the New
York Yankees died this week at age 89. He defied the advice of
Casey Stengel that he was too short for baseball and even was
voted Most Valuable Player in the American League one year. I
will never forget the day our family traveled to Philadelphia to
see the Yankees play the old Philadelphia Athletics back in 1941.
It was Rizzuto’s first year with the Yankees. In the game, I saw
my first Big League double play – authored by Rizzuto and
Gordon. Holy Cow! It was a thing of amazing beauty and
precision that has stayed with me all these years.
Well, time for laundry and care giving.
Allen F. Bortrum