Eddie Yost, The Walking Man

Former major leaguer Eddie Yost passed away this past Tuesday; his nickname, ‘The Walking Man’ came from his ability to draw a large number of walks. Over 18 seasons, Eddie lead the AL in walks six times, had 100+ walks eight times, was in the top 10 in walks 10 different times and twice lead the AL in on-base percentage. What makes this really impressive is the fact that nobody was pitching around Eddie like they would pitch around Ted Williams or Babe Ruth, he just had that good of an eye.

Eddie Yost was a Mets coach when I first started following baseball, and the more I learned about him, the more I came to appreciate him. He was 17 years old when he made his Major League debut during WWII with the Senators.  He never played a day in the minors, but did spend some time in military service.  He was the Senators’ starting third baseman from 1947 until he was traded to Detroit after the 1958 season.

At the time of his retirement, Yost was fourth on the all-time walk list behind Babe Ruth, Williams and Mel Ott, all power hitters who nobody wanted to pitch to.   He now ranks 11th on the all-time list, behind Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Ruth, Williams, Joe Morgan, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Thome , Mickey Mantle, Ott and Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas. Among the players with fe wer career walks are Stan Musial, Pete Rose, Harmon Killebrew, Chipper Jones, Lou Gehrig, Mike Schmidt, and Willie Mays.

He wasn’t completely about the walks; he was an All-Star in 1952, he lead the AL in doubles in 1951, runs in 1959 (his first year with the Tigers).  He was also a fine defensive third baseman;  eight different seasons he lead the AL in putouts by a 3B, and twice in assists by a 3B.

About the 1952 Red Man card pictured above:
I love Red Man cards, but this is the only one I own.  The main reason I don’t own more is because there aren’t many players I collect who appeared on a Red Man card… although I’m thinking that I should do with Red Man what I started doing with 1956 Topps, which is buying affordable commons that visually appeal to me, regardless of who’s pictured on it.

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