Eddie Mathews

Edwin Lee Mathews
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1978
Primary team: Milwaukee Braves
Primary position: 3rd Baseman

“I’ve only known three or four perfect swings in my time,” said Hall of Famer Ty Cobb. “This lad has one of them.”

The “lad” the Georgia Peach was referring to was Eddie Mathews, arguably one of the best third baseman the game has ever known. During a 17-year big league career (1952-68), spent mostly with the Braves, the hot corner star not only possessed a rocket arm and a gift for fielding, but the lefty swinger was a feared slugger who became only the seventh player to reach the 500 home run plateau.

“Mathews is the most dangerous hitter in baseball today,” was the assessment of Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby way back in 1954. “And he’s going to get better because he wants to learn, because he’s always asking questions. He’s got power and he’s got rhythm, along with a fine level swing. Those big, powerful, awkward guys you see around who can bust a ball a mile are as good now as they’ll ever be. Mathews is different. He’s loose, limber and coordinated. He’ll be a star when most of the guys competing with him now aren’t ever remembered.”

Mathews, the only member of the Braves to have played with the franchise while it called Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta home, teamed up with Hank Aaron to form one of baseball’s most feared pair of homer-hitting teammates (hitting 863 while playing together). The two led the Braves to a pair of classic World Series appearances against the Yankees (1957-58), both going seven games, bringing a title to Milwaukee in 1957.

“At the start, Hank wasn’t the home run hitter he ended up to be,” Mathews said. “I was two years ahead of him but we were both starry-eyed kids. Later it became a friendly rivalry. It wasn’t that we tried to hit home runs because I don’t think you can. But we were in our own little competition.”

Mathews finished with 512 homers, including a streak of more than 30 nine years in a row, and his 47 in 1953 established a single-season record for third baseman that would last almost 30 years. When he retired he also held the big league third base records for games (2,181), assists (4,322) and chances (6,371).

“The one thing I’m proudest of is that every day I played,” Mathews said, “I gave the best I had.”

"I've known three or four perfect swings in my time. This boy's got one of them. "
Ty Cobb, on seeing Eddie Mathews

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1978
Primary Team: Milwaukee Braves
Position Played: 3rd Baseman
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Birth place: Texarkana, Texas
Birth year: 1931
Died: 2001, La Jolla, California
Played for:
Boston Braves (1952)
Milwaukee Braves (1953-1965)
Atlanta Braves (1966)
Houston Astros (1967)
Detroit Tigers (1967-1968)
Managed:
Atlanta Braves (1972-1974)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
2391
At BatsAB
8537
RunsR
1509
HitsH
2315
Doubles2B
354
Triples3B
72
Home RunsHR
512
RBIRBI
1453
Stolen BasesSB
68
WalksBB
1444
Batting AverageBA
.271
OPSOPS
.885
On Base %OBP
.376
Slugging %SLG
.509