An American Hobby: Baseball Memorabilia – Eddie Mathews 1952 Topps Card
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Sunday, April.07, 2013
MLB Reports: We are pleased to present you with Baseball Author Lee Edelstein as the newest writer with us at the Reports. Lee will be providing us with great stories about baseball memorabilia on a regular basis.
An American Hobby
Trivia question: who is the only person to play for the Braves franchise in all three of its locations – Boston, Milwaukee, Atlanta? That’s right, Eddie Mathews. And what a Brave he turned out to be – a Hall of Famer, the second greatest Brave of all time (behind Aaron), and the person who redefined the position of Third Base.
Eddie Mathews reached the majors as a twenty-year-old, in 1952. It was the franchise’s final year in Boston and he hit 25 Home Runs, three in one game, and finished third in Rookie-Of-The-Year voting. They should have given him the award – he followed his freshman campaign by smacking 47 HRs to lead the Majors – while driving in 135 RBI. He would hit 30+ Home Runs for nine straight years.
Eddie Mathews Tribute:
Eddie Mathews and Mickey Mantle were contemporaries and there are interesting parallels between their careers:
⦁ Years – 1951-68
⦁ Games – 2,401
⦁ At Bats – 9,907
⦁ Home Runs – 536 (#16)
⦁ RBI – 1,509 (#51)
⦁ Years – 1952-68
⦁ Games – 2,391
⦁ At Bats – 10,100
⦁ Home Runs – 512 (#21)
⦁ RBI – 1453 (#57)
In addition to the similar stats, they were handsome sluggers who hailed from the same area of the country – Mathews from Texas, Mantle from Oklahoma.
Both were the personification of the All-American boy. Of course, Mantle, who was the better all around ballplayer, benefitted enormously from playing in New York and for the best team in baseball.
But Mathews was tremendously popular in his own right. In 1954, it was Eddie Mathews who was chosen to grace the cover of the first edition of a new magazine, Sports Illustrated.
Mathews revolutionized the position of Third base which, with a few notable exceptions (Baker, Traynor, Kell), had been considered for years as a place to park lesser players. Mathews was a revelation at third, combining fence busting power with defensive acumen. He set the standard that future third basemen have tried to emulate.
Of note, Mathews sits in 2nd place ALL – Time for HRs for 3rd Baseman still to Mike Schmidt.
Eddie Mathews played on 12 All-Star teams and in three World Series. He topped the 100 RBI mark five times. Between 1952-66, he and Hank Aaron combined to hit 863 Home Runs (Aaron – 442, Mathews – 421) surpassing Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig as the most prolific Home Run hitting teammates in baseball history.
Eddie Mathews won the World Series with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957, before capping off his Hall of Fame Career with the Detroit Tigers and their 1968 World Series Win.
In 1999, the Sporting News ranked Mathews #63 on their list of the 100 greatest ballplayers of all time. Perhaps the ultimate compliment to Eddie Mathews came from none other than Ty Cobb – “I’ve only known 3 or 4 perfect swings in my time. This lad has one of them.”
Eddie Mathews also holds a special place in the world of baseball memorabilia. His rookie card from the iconic Topps 1952 series is extremely difficult to find in top condition.
That’s because his was the last card in the set. Why does that make it more difficult to find in excellent condition than others in that set? Because as kids we carried our cards with us wherever we went and to secure them we’d use a rubber band to hold them tight.
Well, that rubber band took its toll on the first and last cards of every set, leaving many fewer of those cards in top condition. That’s why Eddie Mathews’ card, in mint (grade 9) condition sells for a cool $100,000 (Andy Pafko, the number one card in the ’52 Topps set, goes for $150,000 in mint condition.)!
Do you have any Eddie Mathews memorabilia – let us know!
***The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com or their partners***
A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Baseball Memorabilia Enthusiast’ Lee Edelstein for preparing today’s featured article. Lee was born and raised in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. He inherited his love of baseball from his dad. The game has been Lee’s constant companion since he was seven years old – when his dad took him to see his first ball game at Ebbets Field. This was followed by a brief and largely unsuccessful Little League career. While he wasn’t all that good on the ball field he became an ALL-Star at collecting baseball cards.
His collection is still alive today after surviving many scares over the years. Lee was also much better at business than playing baseball. He was good enough that he was able to retire and pursue his other passion – writing about baseball! Chin Music is his first novel. He is hard at work on his second, Mound Music. You can read a full overview and find links to purchase here and also check out a quick synopsis in the picture below. Feel Free to follow Lee on Twitter and chat about the game of baseball. Follow @chinmusicstory
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Posted on April 7, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 1957 World Series, 1968 World Series, @chinmusicstory on twitter, andy pafko, Atlanta Braves, babe ruth, baseball memorabilia, boston braves, eddie mathews, ernie banks, george kell, hank aaron, home run baker, houston astros, lou gehrig, mike schmidt, milwaukee braves', new york yankees, pie traynor, roy campanella, stan musial, ty cobb, willie mays, www.chinmusicstory.com. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.