Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Frederick Joseph Patek (born October 9, 1944) was a Major League Baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals, and California Angels. 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 diminuitive size earned him the nicknames Little Freddie, The Flea, and Moochie.
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.
A member of the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame , baseball analyst Bill James ranked Patek the 14th best player in Royals' history.
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