Eddie Mathews was born on October 13, 1931 in Texarkana Texas. When he was a small child, his family moved to Santa Barbara California, where he developed his skills as a left-handed hitting third baseman.
In 1949 Mathews was signed by the Boston Braves, and he quickly moved through their farm system, dominating the pitching he faced along the way. In 1952 a 20 year old Mathews would become Boston's starting third baseman. Mathews would finish 4th in the NL in homeruns with 25, and finish 3rd in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, following Joe Black, and Hoyt Wilhelm.
The Braves would move to Milwaukee for the 1953 season, and Milwaukee would have its first baseball superstar as Mathews would lead the National League with 47 homeruns, and finish second to Roy Campanella in the NL MVP race.
Eddie Mathews would play for the Braves during their entire time in Milwaukee (1953-65), in fact Mathews would be the only MLB player to represent the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta. One hundred and sixty-players would play for the Milwaukee Braves in this time period, Mathews would lead all of them in homeruns (452), games (1944), runs (1300) and walks (1254). In 1954 Mathews would be joined in the lineup by future homerun king Hank Aaron, and the teammates would slug 863 homeruns between them, bettering the mark hit by the legendary duo of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
Mathews would represent the NL and the Braves nine times in the All-Star Game. In 1959 Mathews would win his 2nd NL homerun title slugging 46 jackshots. Mathews would finish 2nd in the MVP balloting to Chicago Cub shortstop Ernie Banks. Besides his prolific power, Mathews was also able to elicit free passes from pitchers as well, from 1961 to 1963 Mathews would lead the league in walks in each season.
In 1954 Eddie Mathews would be chosen to grace the cover of the first issue of the iconic Sports Illustrated magazine. Mathews was photographed in County Stadium hitting against the SF Giants and catcher Wes Westrum.
The Milwaukee Braves would go to the World Series in 1957 and 1958 to face the NY Yankees. In 1957 Mathews helped the Braves beat the Yankees with 3 doubles and a 10th inning game winning homerun in game 4. In 1958 Mathews struggled batting only .160 as the Braves would fall to the Yankees.
After the 1966 season, Mathews was traded to the Houston Astros, where he would hit his 500th career homerun off of future HOFer, Juan Marichal. In 1968 Mathews would be shipped to the Detroit Tigers, and would finish his career as a world champion, helping the Tigers beat the Cardinals in the Fall Classic.
From 1972 to 1974 Mathews would return to Atlanta to manage the Braves. Mathews was at the helm of the Braves when Hank Aaron would break Babe Ruth's career homerun record. With 79.42% of the vote, Eddie Mathews was voted into MLB's Hall of Fame in 1978.
Mathews had a .271 career batting average, 2,315 hits and 1,453 runs batted in to go with his 512 homers. Ty Cobb when asked about Eddie Mathews said the following: "I've only known three or four perfect swings in my time. This lad has one of them."