Gratz welcomes home baseball hero

GRATZ, Pa. (WHTM) – Gratz is a small town that sits at the northern tip of Dauphin County. Most of the town runs along one street. For Carl Scheib, it’s a town where time stands still.

“I was born and raised there my whole life, until I went to play baseball.”

From the house he grew up in, to the field he played on as a child, Scheib can retrace the steps that led him to the major leagues. In 1943, a 16 year old Scheib made his major league debut. At the time, this made him the youngest player in MLB history. He is still the youngest player in American League history.

“I was used to these kinds of ballparks and I was really amazed when I walked into a park that held 38,000 people,” Scheib thinks back on when he debuted with the Philadelphia Athletics.

Scheib, now 89, lives in Texas, but came back home to Gratz Thursday night for a book signing and presentation on the biography detailing his life titled Wonder Boy.

“When I stumbled on the story of Carl, I thought he’s so old there’s now way he’s still around,” said the book’s author Lawrence Knorr, “I found out he was still alive so I said I might as well write his biography.”

The book details the many relationships Scheib had in the game, from his first manager in Connie Mack to the many legendary players he pitched against.

“You know, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. All them guys. I had pretty good luck with Ted.”

In 2005 on the bicentennial anniversary of the founding of Gratz, the ball field Scheib grew up playing on was rededicated and named after him, an honor he says among all his accomplishments, matters most.

“Nobody knows what a man feels like when they put a monument up for him. I love this town and I love the people in it.”

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