Twenty-year old Eddie Mathews burst onto the MLB scene in 1952 with the Boston Braves. That year he slugged 25 homers finished third in Rookie of the Year balloting, and received MVP consideration.
In 9 of the next ten seasons, the third baseman was selected to the All Star game. He failed to reach the Mid Summer Classic in 1954 yet despite hitting 40 homers and driving in 103 runs.
Mathews combined power with a keen batting eye. He recorded 90 walks or more in nine seasons. In fact, Mathews had more walks than strikeouts in 8 campaigns. His .376 on-base percentage is more than 100 points higher than his .271 lifetime batting average.
In the 13-year period from 1953-1965, Mathews averaged 6.9 WAR per season. During the run he tallied 1,960 hits, 452 homers, 1,277 RBI and scored 1,300 runs. For his career, Mathews’ 96.1 WAR, and 512 homers, rank second only to Mike Schmidt among third basemen.
Shown here is a pair of baseball cards more than 60 years old. The National League Runs home run leader card features Ernie Banks (41 homers), Hank Aaron (40), Mathews (39), and Ken Boyer (32) and is signed boldly by Mathews. The other card is Mathew’s All Star card from the same season. The 1960 campaign was one of Mathew’s finest as he complimented those 39 homers with a career-high 124 RBI.
I had an Eddie Mathews model fielder’s glove. I thought it was the greatest thing in the world. When I look at it now, it really isn’t much of a glove, but it was special. As kids when we had pickup games, I let whoever was playing third use it. Great memory. Dale Isaacson
When Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth were teammates from 1923 to 1939 they hit a combined 1,004 Home Runs (Gehrig 493 and Ruth 511) Aaron and Mathews hit 863 from 1954 to 1966 as teammates Ruth and Gehrig total was for 17 years and Aaron and Mathews was for 13 years.
Gehrig and Ruth were teammates from 23 to 34. Ruth hit his last few homers for the Boston Braves in 35