Eddie Mathews began his 17-year career with the Boston Braves. He tagged along when they moved to Milwaukee and then Atlanta. In 1967, after one year in Atlanta, he was sent to the Houston Astros. He was sent in midseason to the Detroit Tigers, where he retired in 1968.
A natural athlete blessed with tremendous power, a rifle arm, and a durable body, Mathews was the premier third baseman of his era, overshadowing Clete Boyer, the young Brooks Robinson, and Al Rosen.
Heavily scouted in high school, Mathews signed with the Boston Braves in 1949 on the night of his high school graduation. In less than three years Mathews was starting at third for the Braves; he kept the job for 15 years and two franchise shifts.
Ironically, Mathews played for minor league teams in Atlanta and Milwaukee on his way up.
In 1953, the depressed Boston franchise was uprooted to Milwaukee in spring training. The Braves quickly became the darlings not only of the city but the entire upper Midwest region in a brief but intense romance unparalleled in baseball history.
Coinciding with the deliverance from Boston was a dramatic improvement in talent as Joe Adcock, Bill Bruton, and Gene Conley, and later Hank Aaron, Bob Buhl, and Wes Covington joined the roster.
Mathews had a remarkable physique, and his powerful stroke and bat speed were marveled at by opponents. Even Ty Cobb, not known for his appreciation of the modern ballplayer, was impressed: "I've only known three or four perfect swings in my time. This lad has one of them."
He has the distinction of being the only player to have played for the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta.
Mathews was runner-up in MVP voting twice in the National League. He hit 30 or more home runs 10 times, drove in 100-plus five times, and scored over 100 runs eight times.
He was named to 12 All-Star teams, batting a dismal .080 with two HR and three RBI in 25 at-bats.
He played in three World Series: two with the Braves and one with the Tigers. In the first one, in 1957, the Braves beat the New York Yankees in seven games. The next year they lost to the Yankees in seven games. In his last World Series in 1968, the Tigers beat the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.
His World Series totals are .200 BA, one HR, and seven RBI in 16 games.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.
His career statistics are:
FLD PCT: .956
* = Leads all Third Basemen in the Hall of Fame.