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Ed Charles Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: April 29, 1933 in Daytona Beach, Florida
Died: March 15, 2018 in East Elmhurst, Queens, New York
Biography | show moreshow less

Baseball Career:
First Game: April 11, 1962; Final Game: October 1, 1969
Bat: Right Throw: Right Height: 5' 10" Weight: 170

Ed Charles
This article was written by Ed Hoyt and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research

As a big leaguer, Ed Charles was perhaps the most accomplished player in the brief history of the ill-fated Kansas City Athletics, and he achieved fame as a baseball poet, reciting his poetry on television a few times per year and mailing verse to young fans with requested autographs. But he is best remembered today for the end of his playing career, providing sorely needed veteran presence and perspective on the magically youthful “Miracle Mets” championship squad of 1969. He was known as “The Glider,” “Ez,” and “The Poet Laureate of Baseball,” but the first name that stuck—so to speak—was “Gum,” a nickname he inherited from his father.

If Edwin Douglas Charles had never played a day in the big leagues, his story would still be remarkable. Coming of baseball age in the era immediately following the triumphs of Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby, Ed Charles—along with legends such as Hank Aaron and largely forgotten contemporaries such as Percy Miller and Nat Peoples—was part of the generation that repeated Robinson’s and Doby’s brave stories in dozens of minor leagues on the rosters of the hundreds of teams and that crisscrossed America by bus each summer. These leagues were concentrated in the Deep South—leagues like the Southern Association, the Carolina League, and the Texas League, with roots going back to the 19th century, and still flourishing today.

It was a world that was largely unready to let go of Jim Crow, and a world whose de-segregation would not occur with a national press corps watching. And Charles, a son of Daytona Beach, of segregation, lynching, a broken home, and the Great Depression, was an unlikely champion.

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