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Eddie Mathews

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Title: Eddie Mathews  
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Subject: List of Major League Baseball progressive career home runs leaders, Atlanta Braves, 500 home run club, 1968 Detroit Tigers season, 1959 National League tie-breaker series
Collection: 1931 Births, 2001 Deaths, American Sportsmen, Atlanta Braves Coaches, Atlanta Braves Managers, Atlanta Braves Players, Atlanta Crackers Players, Baseball Players from Texas, Boston Braves Players, Deaths from Pneumonia, Detroit Tigers Players, High Point-Thomasville Hi-Toms Players, Houston Astros Players, Infectious Disease Deaths in California, Major League Baseball Players with Retired Numbers, Major League Baseball Third Basemen, Milwaukee Braves Players, Milwaukee Brewers (Minor League) Players, Milwaukee Brewers Scouts, National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees, National League All-Stars, National League Home Run Champions, Oakland Athletics Scouts, People from Santa Barbara, California, People from Texarkana, Texas, Sportspeople from San Diego, California, Sportspeople from Santa Barbara, California, Texas Rangers Scouts
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Eddie Mathews

Eddie Mathews
Third baseman
Born: (1931-10-13)October 13, 1931
Texarkana, Texas
Died: February 18, 2001(2001-02-18) (aged 69)
La Jolla, California
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 15, 1952, for the Boston Braves
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1968, for the Detroit Tigers
MLB statistics
Batting average .271
Hits 2,315
Home runs 512
Runs batted in 1,453

As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Baseball Hall of Fame
Inducted 1978
Vote 79.42% (fifth ballot)

Edwin Lee "Eddie" Mathews (October 13, 1931 – February 18, 2001) was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) third baseman.[1] He played 17 seasons for the Boston Braves, Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, and Detroit Tigers, from 1952 through 1968.[1] Mathews was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.[2]

Mathews is regarded as one of the best third basemen ever to play the game.[3][4] He was an [6]


  • Early years 1
  • MLB career 2
    • Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta Braves 2.1
    • Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers 2.2
    • Coaching and managing 2.3
  • Post-MLB baseball 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Death 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Early years

Mathews was born in Texarkana, Texas. He was six years old when his family moved to Santa Barbara, California. The Santa Barbara High School baseball field, where he developed into a star high school baseball player, is named after him. Mathews was signed by the Boston Braves in 1949. He played 63 games that year for the Class D High Point-Thomasville Hi-Toms, where he hit 17 home runs and earned a .363 batting average. The next year he hit 32 home runs for the Class AA Atlanta Crackers.[7]

MLB career

Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta Braves

Mathews was brought up to the major leagues in 1952, Mathews hit 25 home runs, including three in one game. In 1953 the Braves moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he batted .302, hit 47 home runs, and drove in 135 runs. For nine straight seasons he hit at least 30 home runs, including leading the National League twice (1953, 1959).

As one of 1954's superstars in American sports, Mathews was chosen for the cover of the first-ever issue of Sports Illustrated magazine. Around this time, Ty Cobb said of Mathews: "I've only known three or four perfect swings in my time. This lad has one of them."

Mathews in a 1958 ad from Life magazine.

Mathews was a powerful pull hitter, and for many years of his career teams would implement the "Mathews shift" when he came to bat. The second baseman would shift well to his left, toward first base, and the shortstop would come to the second base side of the bag, leaving a gaping hole between second and third base. Mathews delighted in occasionally punching the ball through that hole.

The Braves won the 1957 National League championship. In the World Series, Mathews hit a game-winning home run in the tenth inning of game four. The Braves went on to defeat the New York Yankees to win the Series. Mathews made the final out of the Series, a forceout of Gil McDougald on Moose Skowron's hard-hit grounder.

Mathews was regarded as one of the strongest power hitters of his time, often being compared to American League contemporary Mickey Mantle, in terms of power hitting strength. Hall-of-Fame teammate Warren Spahn once said of the two: "Mathews is just as strong as Mantle. They don't hit the same – Mantle gets all of his weight into his swing; Mathews uses his wrists more." Spahn's comment on Mathews' use of his wrists was in reference to his unique swing, as believed by many to be one of the more graceful swings in baseball history. He is the only player to play for the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta.

Mathews is also one of only two players to homer with a teammate in the same game at least 50 times with two different teammates. He did this with Henry Aaron 75 times and with Joe Adcock 56 times.[8] Willie Mays is the other, with Willie McCovey (68) and Orlando Cepada (50), to do it.

Between 1954 and 1966 he and Braves teammate Hank Aaron hit 863 home runs (Aaron 442, Mathews 421), moving ahead of the Yankees duo of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig as the all-time leaders in major league history.

Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers

Mathews was traded to the Houston Astros before the 1967 season. That year, he became the seventh player to hit 500 career home runs, becoming a member of the 500 home run club coming off pitcher Juan Marichal of the San Francisco Giants. During the 1967 season, Mathews was traded from the Astros to the Detroit Tigers. His final appearances came in two games of the 1968 World Series, as the Tigers defeated the St. Louis Cardinals.

Upon his retirement, he was sixth in all-time home runs with 512. Over his career, he was named to the All-Star team twelve times (MLB held two All-Star Games from 1959 through 1962),[9] played in three World Series, and drove in 100 or more runs five times. He never won an MVP award (finishing second twice, behind Roy Campanella in 1953 and behind Ernie Banks in 1959), although he did win the NL Player of the Month award in September 1959 (.303, 11 HR, 25 RBI).

Coaching and managing

In 1971, Mathews became a coach, and then late in season of 1972, the manager of the Atlanta Braves.[6] Mathews is one of the few players to play, coach, and manage for the same baseball team. Mathews finished 23-27 as manager in 1972. The Braves finished fifth in 1973, 22 12 games out of first place.[10]

Mathews was the Braves manager when

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Vern Law & Willie McCovey
Major League Player of the Month
September 1959
Succeeded by
Roberto Clemente
  • Eddie Mathews at the Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
  • Audio: Matthews' 500th career home run as called by Harry Kalas in 1967
  • Profile of Mathews in 1989

External links

  1. ^ a b "Eddie Mathews statistics". Retrieved December 26, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Eddie Mathews at the Baseball Hall of Fame". Retrieved December 31, 2011. 
  3. ^ James, Bill (2001). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York: Free Press. p. 539.  
  4. ^ "Eddie Mathews at the Baseball Hall of Fame". Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  5. ^ MLB held two All-Star Games from 1959 through 1962
  6. ^ a b c SABR, Eddie Mathews [3] Retrieved April 10, 2015
  7. ^ "Eddie Mathews Minor League Statistics and History".  
  8. ^ Alex Cobb's historic 13-strikeout, 14-out performance - ESPN
  9. ^ Donnelly, Patrick. SportsData LLC. (2012). Midsummer Classics: Celebrating MLB's All-Star Game. 1959–1962, "all players who were named to the AL or NL roster were credited with one appearance per season" [4]. SportsData Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Braves fire Eddie Mathews".  
  11. ^ "Eddie Mathews is fired by Braves".  
  12. ^ Bierig, Joel (March 18, 1983). "At last, Eddie Mathews is enjoying his ties with baseball".  
  13. ^ 100 Greatest Baseball Players by The Sporting News : A Legendary List by Baseball Almanac
  14. ^ a b Wolf, Bob (January 22, 1978). "Early years slowed Mathews' selection".  
  15. ^ "February weddings".  



See also

In February 2001, Mathews died from complications of pneumonia in La Jolla, California, and was buried in Santa Barbara Cemetery. Later that year during the baseball season, the Atlanta Braves honored Mathews with the placement of patches bearing his retired uniform number, 41, on their jerseys.


Sportswriter Bob Wolf of the Milwaukee Journal indicated that Mathews' election to the Baseball Hall of Fame may have been delayed because of his cool relationship with the media. Mathews seemed to resent the intrusion of reporters in his personal life, especially early in his career. He gestured with his fist at a reporter when he was in court on charges of reckless driving. He was angered by the presence of the media at his 1954 wedding ceremony at a county clerk's office.[14]

Mathews was married to Virjean Lauby in 1954 and they divorced in 1970. He was married and divorced a second time, then married Elizabeth Busch Burke, daughter of brewing executive Gussie Busch, in 1977.[14][15]

Personal life

In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Mathews 63 on their list of 100, "Baseball's Greatest Players".[13] He also nominated that year as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

[12] In 1982, Mathews was a minor league baseball instructor for the

Mathews was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1976. In 1978, Mathews was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He ranks second all-time among MLB third basemen in home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage, and total bases.

Eddie Mathews's number 41 was retired by the Atlanta Braves in 2001.

Post-MLB baseball


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