25 August 2014

the eddie mathews memorial patch

eddie mathews played for the braves in boston, milwaukee, and atlanta - the only person to do so.  his rookie year of 1952 was the team's last in boston, and his last year as a brave, 1966, was their first in atlanta.  mathews led the milwaukee version of the braves to the world series in back-to-back years (1957 and 1958), and twice led the league in home runs while in wisconsin.

although he did not finish his career with the braves (he was traded to houston prior to the 1967 season, and then to detroit during that season where he played through the 1968 postseason), mathews still ranked first or second (either ahead of or behind hank aaron) in many team offensived categories at the time of his retirement following the tigers' world series win over the cardinals in 1968.

mathews passed away in february of 2001, and the team wore a memorial patch with his number 41 on their left sleeves for the entire regular and postseason.  here's a couple of cards showing the patch from recently inducted hall of famer tom glavine.  this first one comes from 2002 upper deck vintage
while this one is from 2001 leaf rookies and stars
of course, there is really only one player who should represent this memorial in my collection, and that's chipper jones.  like mathews, jones was a braves' third baseman, and like mathews and glavine, he will likely end up in the hall of fame.  besides, jones has supplanted mathews on many of those braves' career leaderboard categories, pushing the hall of famer into third place.  here's jones' 2002 topps total card
and his 2002 donruss fan club card as well
but the card in the binder is this 2002 topps gold label card
mathews was just the 7th player in big league history to reach the 500-home run plateau, and he held the record for most home runs in a season by a third baseman (47) that stood for 27 years until mike schmidt hit 48 in 1980.  the braves had retired mathews' number in 1967, but he wore it again when he returned as the team's manager in the early 1970's.

1 comment:

John Miller said...

Great post! I enjoyed the tribute to one of my Braves.