The post-Word War II years brought dynamic and lasting change to baseball. One of the players who singlehandedly shattered the game’s status quo was Eddie Mathews. Prior to his ascent, third base was a position reserved for light-hitting glove men. Eddie ushered in a new era at the hot corner, proving that a long ball specialist could meet the defensive demands of the position. In doing so, he opened the door for future superstars like Ron Santo, Mike Schmidt, Chipper Jones and Alex Rodriguez. Eddie cranked out 500 home runs—when home runs meant something—and carved out a reputation as a hard-nosed, hard-living, fun-loving team player when that mattered, too.

Edwin Lee Mathews Jr. was born on October 13, 1931 in Texarkana, Texas. (Click here for today's sports birthdays.) Eddie’s father worked for Western Union as a telegraph operator. He had been a superb semipro ballplayer in his youth, and Eddie caught the bug at an early age. The Mathews moved to Santa Barbara California when Eddie was a young boy, at the height of the Depression.

Both parents fueled Eddie’s passion for baseball. They took him out to a local ballfield with a bucket of hardballs. Mom pitched and Dad shagged flies. Terrified of hitting his mother, Eddie became a pull hitter at a young age. Even after his parents switched roles, he continued pounding the ball down the rightfield line. Eddie also matured into a good football player. He was fast and strong, and had a taste for physical contact. He would later achieve All-State status on the gridiron.

At Santa Barbara High School, Eddie modeled his swing after Ted Williams, an earlier Southern California baseball prodigy. He soon developed into one of the top hitting prospects in California, and several teams dangled rich bonuses in front of him, including the Brooklyn Dodgers, who offered $10,000. Eddie and his father were determined to go with the club that could offer the most direct path to the majors.

It became increasingly clear that the Boston Braves fit this profile. First off, third baseman Bob Elliott was already in his 30s. Also, despite the fact the Braves had won the 1948 NL pennant, their farm system was thin at the hot corner, and the team didn’t have much depth at the big-league level. Adhering to the rules of the day, Eddie waited until after midnight on graduation day and inked a contract with scout Johnny Moore that included a $6,000 bonus. Anything higher than that would have made him a Bonus Baby, meaning he would have to sit on the Boston bench for two seasons—a rule that destroyed many a promising career.

Eddie began his pro career with the High Point/Thomasville Hi-Toms of the Class-D North Carolina State League. He belted 17 homers, drove in 56 runs and batted .363 in 63 games. The star of the team was 42-year-old catcher Cliff Bolton, who flirted with .400 and was something of a minor-league legend. Bolton would remain in High Point (his home town) as Eddie left for the greener pastures of Atlanta in 1950.

Eddie continued to sting the ball for the Crackers, leading them to the Class-AA Southern Association pennant. Manager Dixie Walker inserted him in the middle of a lineup peppered with former and future big leaguers, and he led the club with 32 homers, 106 RBIs, 296 total bases and a .536 slugging average. He also acquitted himself well at third base, where a powerful arm made up for the occasional bobble.


Eddie Mathews
     
 

By season’s end, Eddie was being heralded as the top hitter in the minors. None other than the Georgia Peach, Ty Cobb, said his swing was one of the sweetest he’d ever seen. It was a masterpiece of grace and power. Eddie had huge arms and shoulders, but he used his wrists to whip the bat through the zone, generating tremendous bat speed. Although his swing was not as vicious as Mickey Mantle’s, the two would be compared as long ball artists for more than a decade. Both were big men for their time. Eddie was a shade taller at 6–1. He was a rock-hard 190 pounds.

The 1951 campaign found Eddie in a different kid of uniform. He was drafted into the navy at the start of the Korean War and saw a few months of service before he received a hardship discharge. His father had contracted tuberculosis, which qualified Eddie as the sole means of support for his family. His dad would pass away in 1953. Eddie smoked his whole life and would suffer from respiratory illness in his 60s.

Eddie ended up playing 37 games for the Crackers and a dozen for the Class-AAA Milwaukee Brewers in 1951. After the season, he received an invitation to join the Braves for spring training in 1952.

Eddie’s mission heading into the ’52 season was to convince manager Tommy Holmes that he was ready to take over for Elliott at third. This was no small task, especially considering that Eddie was all of 20-years-old. At the time, Elliott, an RBI machine, was the career leader in home runs by a third baseman. The 35-year-old had been an All-Star the season before. His numbers, however, weren’t what they used to be. Determined to make the majors, Eddie won the battle against the Elliott, and the Braves traded the veteran infielder to the New York Giants for reliever Sheldon Jones.

Eddie joined a club that was on the decline. Sam Jethroe was the Braves’ most talented position player. A former Negro League star, he still had enough life in his 30-something legs to lead the NL in stolen bases in 1951. Another veteran, Sid Gordon, combined with Eddie in the heart of the order to provide what little power Boston had. For much of the year, the two would be neck-and-neck for the league lead in strikeouts; Eddie “won” with 115.

Traditionally, pitching had been the Braves’ strength. That was no longer the case. Warren Spahn remained one of the top lefties in baseball, but the rest of the staff was no longer formidable. Johnny Sain had been dealt to the New York Yankees after a slow start in 1951, and a finger injury had curtailed Vern Bickford’s effectiveness. Young Lew Burdette—acquired in the Sain deal—was still earning his keep as a spot starter. Holmes had the bad luck to be manager during Boston’s rebuilding process and was sacked 35 games into the season. Charlie Grimm, the popular manager of the minor-league Milwaukee Brewers, was promoted to the big club in his place.

Eddie batted .242 as a rookie with 25 homers. But with Boston’s table-setters struggling to reach base, he knocked in a meager 58 runs. Still, his work ethic in the batting cage and especially at third—where he still showed his inexperience—left little doubt that he would soon be a star. He finished tied for third in the Rookie of the Year balloting, with Joe Black of the Dodgers copping the award. A few weeks earlier, Eddie had a three-homer game against Black and Brooklyn reliever Ben Wade.

Big changes came after Eddie’s freshman campaign. Boston was no longer able to support two major league teams, and the Red Sox owned the town, After 77 seasons, the Braves leftfor Milwaukee, where they already had a built-in fan base. The move was announced by owner Lou Perini during spring training.

Ty Cobb,
1984 Baseball Americana postcard
     
 

Eddie picked the right year to explode as a power hitter. With Milwaukee fans hungry for a hero they could call their own, he belted 47 round-trippers to win the major-league home run crown, breaking Ralph Kiner’s seven-year death grip in the process. Eddie batted .302 and drove home 135 runs, second in the league to Most Valuable Player Roy Campanella of the Dodgers. (Eddie was runner-up in the MVP voting.) He also played in his first All-Star Game, going the whole way at third. He came to bat four times and was hit by a pitch, grounded into a double-play and scored a run in the NL’s 5–1 win.

Brooklyn cruised to the pennant by 13 games, but the Braves were the surprise second-place finishers with 92–62 record. The team got a talent boost from the likes of newly acquired Andy Pafko and Joe Adcock, plus three other additions: pitcher Bob Buhl, catcher Del Crandall and speedy center fielder Bill Bruton. The pitching staff was anchored by Spahn, who led the league in wins and ERA. Milwaukee also got a big boost from Burdette, who started, relieved and served as the team’s closer in tight games.

Although County Stadium was still unfinished, Milwaukee fans surged through the turnstiles to see Eddie and the red-hot Braves. More than 1.8 million people fueled the “miracle” in Milwaukee, triggering an era of expansion and franchise movement that in many ways still continues more than a half-century later. Eddie wasn’t exactly homegorwn, but the fans claimed him as their own and soon everyone was calling him the “Milwaukee Mauler.”

The law of gravity threatened to take hold of the Braves in 1954, especially after highly touted newcomer Bobby Thomson broke his ankle in spring training. Thomson had cost the team Johnny Antonelli, a former Bonus Baby who was just coming into his own as a frontline pitcher. With no other options, Grimm shifted 20-year-old second baseman Hank Aaron to right field and held his breath. Though Aaron was raw, he was definitely a special talent. He held his own during the season and gave the Braves decent power and speed on the basepaths.

Eddie blasted 40 homers and drove in a team-high 103 runs. Enemy hurlers were loathe to give him fat pitches, and he was getting smarter about chasing the skinny ones. The result was 113 walks against 61 strikeouts—a virtual reversal of his numbers from two years earlier. Thanks to his quick wrists, Eddie had the rare ability to wait on a pitch until the last instant and still get the bat around fast enough to drive ball to the power alley in right. This combination of power, youth and plate discipline led many to predict that Eddie might one day challenge Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record. No one imagined at this early date that the man who would eclipse the Bambino’s mark was the rookie Aaron!

But in 1954, Eddie was Milwaukee’s unquestioned star. Regarded as the league’s top third baseman, he was unmatched offesnively—probably until Mike Schmidt came along in the 1970s. Defensively, Eddie was above average. Endless hours of grounders banged out by Braves' coaches had turned him into a capable fielder.

Eddie hit in an advantageous spot in the batting order, sandwiched in tby righties Adcock and Crandall, both of whom topped the 20-homer mark. With Spahn, Burdette and young Gene Conley leading the starting staff, the Braves finished with 89 victories—a slight drop from the year before—and finished third behind the Giants and Dodgers. The team did have the honor of being depicted on the first cover of Sports Illustrated that August. The man at the plate in the cover photo was Eddie.

Just a few weeks earlier, Eddie had made headlines for his fight with Jackie Robinson. The Brooklyn star had tried to spike Eddie with a slide during an escalating beanball war, not realizing the young third sacker’s quick hands could be used for something other than swinging a bat. A couple of years later, in similar circumstances, Eddie punched out young Don Drysdale. Conversely, if anyone charged a Milwaukee pitcher, he had little hope of reaching the mound before being taken out by Eddie sprinting over from third.

Eddie was known as a brawler off the field, too. He broke his nose four times as a young player—twice on bad-hop grounders and twice in barroom fights. Looking back, he regretted not fighting for his young teammate, Aaron, who was often denied service in restaurants and dining cars.

Eddie Mathews, 1953 Topps
     
 

Milwaukee was just a player or two away from elite status in 1955. Eddie again topped 40 homers and led the league with 109 walks. Many opponents chose to pitch to Aaron with runners on base rather than face Eddie in the cleanup spot. The result was predictable. Aaron led the team with 106 RBIs, with Eddie second at 101. Bruton scored 106 runs and also topped the NL in stolen bases. The Braves finished second behind the aging Dodgers—who finally won a championship after many failures—and set their sights on the pennant in 1956.

The Dodgers and Braves were expected to battle down to the wire in ’56—and that’s exactly what they did. The surprise to most fans was a third team in the mix, the Cincinnati Reds, who launched 221 homers and stayed close to first place. Another surprise was Milwaukee’s firing of the popular Grimm, who was replaced in June with the team hovering around .500. His replacement was Fred Haney, who had toiled as the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the early 1950s.

In the end, experience won out in NL. The Dodgers raised their play in September while the Braves finished one game out. Milwaukee had actually held a slim lead at the beginning of the month, but so-so stretch runs by Buhl, Burdette and Adcock doomed the team. Eddie was no great shakes in September, either. His final numbers—37 homers, 103 runs and 95 RBIs—masked repeated failures in clutch situations over the last couple of weeks. Aaron, meanwhile, carried the club down the stretch. He finished as the NL’s leader in hits, doubles and batting average.

By this time in Eddie’s career, many teams were employing a defensive shift against him. Knowing Eddie was a dead pull-hitter, the opposing second baseman would position himself in short rightfield, the shortstop would station himself near second base, and the pitcher would try to jam Eddie inside. If a pitch was left out over the plate, Eddie could slap the ball through the hole at shortstop. In most cases, opponents were happy to give up a harmless single.

Milwaukee’s time finally came in 1957. The Dodgers were too long in the tooth to contend, and the Reds and St. Louis Cardinals lacked the staying power to maintain their mid-summer challenges. The Braves took the flag by eight games. The one-two duo of Mathews and Aaron was simply awesome. Few pitchers could get through the order more than a couple of times without one or both wreaking havoc. Aaron was named NL MVP, leading the circuit in home runs, runs scored and RBIs. Eddie knocked out 32 long balls and batted .292.

The Braves looked like a team of destiny all year long. An early-season trade for ancient Red Schoendienst gave the team the NL hits leader. When Adcock and Bruton were injured, Hurricane Hazle and Wes Covington stepped in and raked the ball. Spahn, Buhl and Burdette combined for 56 victories, while minor-leaguer Don McMahon emerged at mid-season as the league’s finest reliever.

The Milwaukee offense, howwever, stalled in the World Series against the Yankees. The Braves dropped two of the first three games and allowed New York to tie Game 4 with three ninth-inning runs. The Yankees then plated the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th. The Braves tied the game 5–5 on a double by Johnny Logan. Eddie came to the plate with first base open, but Bob Grim elected to pitch to him with the dangerous Aaron kneeling on deck. Eddie had managed just one hit in the series to that point. He promptly turned on a pitch and crushed it over the right field wall for a walk-off homer.

Eddie’s big blow turned the series around. Burdette outdueled Whitey Ford 1–0 in Game 5, and the Braves went on to win the championship in seven games. Eddie knocked in the winning runs with a double in Game 7. Of his five hits in the series, four went for extra bases. He also recorded the final out of the finale, spearing a Moose Skowron shot down the line and beating Gil McDougald to the bag for a forceout. He later called it his proudest moment.

Eddie Mathews, TCMA 1950s
     
 

With Eddie just 26 and Aaron only 24, Milwaukee fans were thinking dynasty as the 1958 season began. They were not disappointed. The Braves won the pennant again by eight games. When players like Schoendienst, Bruton and Buhl couldn’t stay healthy, young players filled in ably for them. Meanwhile, Eddie led the team with 31 homers and 85 walks. Aaron had another great year hitting behind him, with 30 homers and 95 RBIs.

Eddie had a disappointing World Series in a rematch with the Yankees. For a while it looked like it wouldn’t matter. Spahn beat New York twice in the first four contests, and Burdette also added a victory. In the final three games, however, Bob Turley turned into Walter Johnson. The New York hurler won Game 5, saved Game 6 and then came back to win Game 7 to spearhead an historic comeback. Eddie fanned 11 times and batted .160 for the series.

The 1959 season started with great promise but ended with more disappointment for Braves fans. Milwaukee was in the hunt all the way, battling the Dodgers and Giants right down to the wire. The Giants led by two games with eight to play and promptly lost seven to drop out of the race. That left the Dodgers and Braves to battle for all the marbles.

Los Angeles had retooled its club with a hodge-podge of unfamiliar names. The Braves were all about the Aaron-Mathews-Spahn triumvirate. Indeed, these three carried the club all year—Spahn with 21 wins and complete games, Aaron with his second batting title, and Eddie with 46 homers, the most in the majors. Eddie finished second to Ernie Banks in the MVP race, a verdict that outraged Milwaukee fans. Banks played for the sad-sack Chicago Cubs, who could have finished last without him. Eddie did his damage in the heat of a pennant race. Years later, Eddie himself would wonder why Banks made the Hall of Fame before he did for essentially the same reasons.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee and Los Angeles finished tied with 86 wins to force a best-of-three playoff. The Dodgers took the first two games to win the pennant.

The Braves still seemed like the class of the NL in 1960, but they did not count on the Pirates coming of age. Led by Dick Groat, Vern Law and Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh copped the pennant by seven games. Ironically, this might have been the best year for the Aaron-Mathews duo, as Eddie had 39 homers and 124 RBIs and his teammate accounted for 40 and 126. Eddie’s 108 runs scored were second-most in the league. Milwaukee's new manager Chuck Dressen had plenty of weapons, but they never seemed to fire at once.

Milwaukee Braves, 1958 Topps
     
 

Dressen could not coax a pennant out of his troops in 1961 either and paid the price with his job in September. Birdie Tebbets didn’t have better luck as his replacement. Once again, the Braves squandered fine seasons from their two big bats. Eddie batted .306 with 32 homers and a league-best 93 walks—reaching base a total of 270 times, more than anyone else in the league. Aaron hit 34 out of the park and added 120 RBIs. Despite this production, the Braves finished fourth.

Milwaukee’s decline continued in 1962, as the team finished fifth. Eddie topped the NL in walks again and hit 29 homers. He played in the season’s second All-Star Game, held at the end of July. Eddie subbed for Ken Boyer and struck out in his only at-bat. It marked the 12th and final time he suited up for the NL in the Mid-Summer Classic. Eddie’s numbers as an All-Star were famously poor. He had only two hits—both home runs—and made six errors.

During the season, Eddie wrenched his right shoulder trying to catch up to a high fastball by Turk Farrell of the Houston Colt .45s. The injury prevented him from reaching 30 homers for the 10th year in a row. He ended the season with 399 career four-baggers.

New manager Bobby Bragan guided the Braves to a sixth-place finish in 1963, despite fantastic seasons from the 42-year-old Spahn and 29-year-old Aaron. Eddie walked 124 times to lead the league for the third straight season and posted the NL’s best on-base percentage at .399. However, his home run total dropped to 23, and his RBIs fell to 84. Part of the decline could have been attributed to age. At 31, Eddie was still a great player, but he had logged a lot of innings at the major-league level and was not exactly a freak when it came to staying in shape. Like many players of his era who became regulars at a young age, baseball was taking a premature toll on his body. Clearly, he was not the hitter he had been before the shoulder injury the previous year.

In 1964, Eddie’s average plummeted to .233. Although he still had tremendous power, he was having trouble catching up to good fastballs. Milwaukee, meanwhile, had developed into a very balanced offensive team. The Braves were part of a wacky five-team pennant race, ultimately finishing fifth, five games off the pace. Had the team had vintage Eddie batting cleanup, there is no telling how the season might have ended.

Eddie enjoyed a brief revival in 1965. The Braves were supposed to play in Atlanta that year, but legal wranglings kept them in Wisconsin for an uncomfortable lame-duck season. Eddie blasted 32 homers in his farewell performance and drove in a team-high 95 runs. His 28th home run in ’65 was the 773rd hit between him and Aaron. In turn, the pair eclipsed the mark of 772 round-trippers established more than three decades earlier by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Eddie and Aaron would finish with 863 as teammates. As for the Braves, they finished with a respectable 86 victories thanks to a couple of scatter-armed starters—Tony Cloninger and Wade Blasingame—who combined for 40 wins.

The Braves’ move to Atlanta came in 1966. This made Eddie the only player to wear the Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta uniforms. The Braves were once again a middle-rung team, and Eddie was also looking more and more like a middle-rung player. He sat at least once a week, giving way to Dennis Menke and Mike de la Hoz. He went deep only five times, by far his worst total as a major leaguer. Granted, it was a pitcher’s era in baseball, but he was out-homered by three other NL third basemen— Jim Ray Hart, Dick Allen and Ron Santo.

The Braves sank below .500 in 1967, but Eddie wasn’t around to see it. He was dealt to the Houston Astros on New Year’s Eve for a package of players that included Sandy Alomar. Eddie knew the move was coming. The Braves had traded their top hitting prospect, Bill Robinson, to the Yankees for third baseman Clete Boyer. Still, when he heard the news from a writer and not a team representative, it made him cry.

Eddie Mathews, 1961 Topps
     
 

Eddie joined a young club with some interesting players, including Joe Morgan, Rusty Staub, Jimm Wynn, Don Wilson and Larry Dierker. His new manager was Grady Hatton, who was the third baseman in Cincinnati when Eddie broke in. Hatton handed him a first baseman’s glove. He would man the position most days and spell Bob Aspromonte at the hot corner when a tough righty was on the mound. Ironically, Aspromonte would soon join the Braves as Boyer’s replacement.

Eddie played 101 games for Houston and hit poorly in the cavernous AstroDome. His lone highlight was his 500th home run, which made him just the seventh player to achieve this milestone. It was not a cheap shot; he belted it off of Juan Marichal.

Eddie gained a reprieve in late July, when the Detroit Tigers picked him up for cash and a player to be named later. Eddie arrived in Detroit in the midst of a wild, four-way pennant race that went down to the final day. Rainouts forced the Tigers to play back-to-back doubleheaders on the final two days. Eddie started all four games at first base in place of the slumping Norm Cash. The Tigers split both twinbills and finished a game behind the Red Sox. Eddie hit six homers and had 19 RBIs in 36 games.

In Detroit, Eddie provided a powerful alternative to light-hitting Don Wert and brought experience and enthusiasm to the clubhouse. On his first day as a Tiger, he noticed that an anonymous player had scribbled, "We'll win despite Mayo," on the clubhouse chalkboard. Eddie erased the note—a reference to Detroit skipper Mayo Smith—and lectured his teammates on the importance of respecting the manager. He became an instant leader.

That quality proved invaluable the following season, when the Tigers blew away the rest of the league to finish with 103 victories in the final season before the advent of divisional play. In a May game against the Kansas City A’s, Al Kaline had his arm broken by a Lew Krausse pitch. When Jack Aker hit Jim Northrup in the head, the benches emptied and Eddie laid Aker out with a punch to the jaw. After the fight, the team was energized, and Eddie became the team’s de-facto leader while Kaline was on the mend. The Tigers proceeded to win 16 of their next 21 games.

Eddie played with a sore back all season, managing a mere 52 at-bats. He belted three home runs and batted .212 in what would be his final year as a pro. His final two homers came on the same day against the Los Angeles Angels and boosted his lifetime total to 512, one ahead of Mel Ott for sixth place on the career list at the time. Eddie’ sore back soon became unbearable, and he went under the knife in July to repair a disk problem. No one expected to seem him on the field again, but he worked his way back onto the roster in September and did a decent job as a pinch-hitter.

Smith decided to start him in Game 4 of the World Serikes against Bob Gibson, and he reached base twice in a Detroit loss. Down two games, the Tigers suddenly came alive and won the next three games to take the championship. That is how Eddie became only the third Hall of Famer to retire from baseball with a championship ring. Joe DiMaggio and Johnny Mize were the first two.

Eddie’s final numbers were mind-boggling for a third baseman—a position that was almost exclusively a defensive post when he broke into the majors. He retired with 512 homers, 1509 runs, 1453 RBIs, 2315 hits and a .271 lifetime average.

Eddie returned to the Braves in 1971 as a coach, and a year later he replaced Luman Harris as manager. Former teammates Aaron and Phil Niekro were among the stars of the team, which simply didn’t have the talent to compete against the Big Red Machine. In 1973, Eddie was the first manager to have three 40-homer players in the same season—Darrell Evans, Davey Johnson and Aaron. Aaron’s unexpected power surge left him with 713 lifetime round-trippers, one shy of Ruth’s mark.

In 1974, Eddie became the center of a controversy when he announced that he would sit Aaron against the Reds so that he could break Ruth’s record at home in Atlanta. Aaron had hit #714 on Opening Day in Cincinnati, and Eddie wanted to “save” the next one for the hometown fans.

Commissioner Bowie Kuhn made the mistake of threatening Eddie publicly and got an earful in response. Eddie ended up playing Aaron in one game in Cininnati and benching him for the next. Aaron hit 715 in his first game back in Atlanta. Later that season, Eddie was dismissed as manager.

Eddie Mathews, 1967 Topps
     
 

In 1978, Eddie’s fifth year of eligibility, he was elected to the Hall of Fame. He accepted this honor with modesty, characterizing himself as a beat-up old third baseman who was just a small part of a wonderful game.

Eddie stayed in baseball scouting and coaching for the Brewers, Texas Rangers and Oakland A’s. None of these jobs lasted very long. His hard-nosed, hard-drinking, old-school approach made him something of a fossil in the big-money world of modern baseball. During the 1980s, he worked for the Braves as a minor-league hitting instructor.

As a player, Eddie never turned away a younger player looking for batting tips. He loved to talk hitting. In fact, he was always dismayed when Atlanta ’s left-handed prospects—notably Dave Justice—failed to heed his advice. After the 1989 season, the Braves replaced Eddie with Frank Howard. Eddie read about it in the papers. His response to being unceremoniously dumped after four decades of service was vintage Eddie: “Screw ’em.”

Eddie struggled after leaving baseball. He was frequently ill during the 1980s and early 1990s—the smoking and drinking had caught up with him. In 1996, he slipped and fell in the water at a marina while vacationing in the Caribbean and was crushed between a boat and the pier. His pelvis was shattered. He also battled throat cancer. In Eddie’s final years, he joked that he walked like a crab and talked like a frog.

On February 18, 2001, Eddie passed away from pneumonia at the age of 69. He was on his fourth marriage at the time. He was survived by his wife Judy, his stepdaughter Sarah, his daughter Stephanie and two sons, Eddie Jr. and John.

Eddie had few regrets as a person or a player. He played hard and lived hard, made a lot of friends and had a lot of fun. A few years before he passed away, he told a friend that he wished his father had lived to watch his success. Eddie added that before he died, he wanted a week to apologize to everyone. No apologies were necessary.

Eddie Mathews,
2005 Upper Deck Classics
 

 


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