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Eddie Mathews Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: October 13, 1931 in Texarkana, Texas
Died: February 18, 2001 in La Jolla, California
Biography | show moreshow less

Full name Edwin Lee Mathews
Born October 13, 1931, Texarkana, Texas
Died February 18, 2001, La Jolla, California
Buried at Santa Barbara Cemetery, Santa Barbara, California (Ocean View Triangle, Lot 151, South Half Quadrant, Grave 5)
First Game: April 15, 1952; Final Game: September 27, 1968
Managed First Game: August 7, 1972; Managed Final Game: July 21, 1974
Bat: Left Throw: Right Height: 6' 1" Weight: 190

Selected to the Hall of Fame in 1978
Named third baseman on The Sporting News Major League All-Star Team (1955, 1957 and 1959 to 1960)

This article was written by David Fleitz and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research

Eddie Mathews played in only 31 games for the Tigers in 1968, batting .212 with three home runs, but his contribution to that championship season far outweighed his statistics. Mathews, who arrived in Detroit in 1967 after a long and illustrious career in the National League, had led the Milwaukee Braves to two pennants and the 1957 World Series title. This respected veteran provided a much-needed dose of leadership to the Tigers, only a handful of whom had ever played in a Series. When Mathews retired as a player after the 1968 World Series, he stood in sixth place on baseball’s career home run list with 512 and held the all-time record for games played by a third baseman. Ten years later, he became the first member of the 1968 championship team to gain election to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Edwin Lee Mathews Jr. was born in Texarkana, Texas, on October 13, 1931. His parents moved the family to Santa Barbara, California, four years later. Eddie inherited a passion for baseball from his father, a Western Union telegraph operator and former semipro athlete, though his mother participated as well. “My mother used to pitch to me, and my father would shag balls,” he recalled many years later. “If I hit one up the middle close to my mother, I’d have some extra chores to do. My mother was instrumental in making me a pull hitter.”

He excelled in football and baseball at Santa Barbara High and received college scholarship offers in football, but his prowess as a third baseman and a left-handed hitter stamped him as one of the most sought-after baseball prospects in the nation. Eddie and his parents weighed offers from several major league teams during his senior year. Mathews’ autobiography explains how the rules then stated a player could not be signed until he graduated from high school. To be safe, Eddie and Boston Braves scout Johnny Moore waited until midnight on the night of his graduation in June 1949 and signed the contract a few minutes after midnight. Mathews got a $6,000 bonus. Several other teams had offered more money, but Eddie and his father had studied major league rosters and determined that the Braves, with aging third baseman Bob Elliott, would likely have an opening at that position a few years down the road.

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