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Eddie Yost, dubbed “The Walking Man,” passes away at age 86

Oct 16, 2012, 10:55 PM EDT

Eddie Yost - 1952 Topps

Former major league third baseman Eddie Yost, who led the AL in walks six times in an 18-year big-league career, died at age 86 on Tuesday.

Long before walks were cool, Yost was the champion of the category, racking up huge totals despite the fact that he wasn’t an overpowering hitter. Yost never batted .300 and topped 15 homers just once in his career, which spanned from 1944-62, but he twice led the AL in on-base percentage and finished in the top six five more times.

Along with leading the AL in walks six times, he finished second to Ted Williams twice. He topped 100 runs five times, leading the AL once. He also led the AL in doubles one year.

Still, for all of his success, Yost made just one All-Star team, and it actually happened in one of his weaker seasons in 1952. He was at his best in 1959, when he hit .278/.435/.436 with 21 homers in his first year with the Tigers. He spent his first 14 seasons with the Senators before finishing up with two years in Detroit and two more in Los Angeles with the Angels.

At the time of his retirement, Yost was fourth on the all-time walk list behind Babe Ruth, Williams and Mel Ott. He currently ranks 11th with 1,614 walks.

After wrapping up his playing career, Yost spent 22 years coaching with the Senators, Mets and Red Sox before retiring in 1984.

  1. raysfan1 - Oct 16, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    I remember him as a coach; he retired as a player before I was born. RIP, “Walking Man.”

    Matthew–good job using the baseball card from his All Star year, 1952.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:10 AM

      Ha… didn’t even occur to me. I just like the ’52s. Plus, I did want one of him with the Senators.

  2. mgflolox - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    Griffith Stadium was a notoriously tough home run park. In most other parks, I’ll bet Yost would have been a consistent 20+ homers a year guy with the 100 walks. He was a tremendously underrated and under appreciated player in his day.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 17, 2012 at 1:53 AM

      Great point. He hit 25 homers in 3,067 at-bats at Griffith and 114 in 4,278 at-bats elsewhere. If he had hit homers at Griffith at the same rate he did everywhere else, he would have had 82 there and finished his career with 196 instead of 139. And that’s still probably underselling him a bit.

      Once Yost got out of Griffith at age 32, he hit 35 homers in his two years with the Tigers.

  3. edelmanfanclub - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    RIP

  4. opshuns - Oct 17, 2012 at 3:45 AM

    I remember him with the Tigers…RIP,,,,,

  5. nolanwiffle - Oct 17, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    Phil Wood, a great sports radio/TV personality in DC, has always signed off the radio airwaves with a simple, “Eddie Yost” (adios)! A great way to honor one of the great Senators.

    • natstowngreg - Oct 17, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      Phil Wood is one of the few in DC media types who evokes Washington’s baseball past. Thomas Boswell (who grew up as a Senators fan) does it every once in a while. But then, I’ve lived in the SC area long enough to have read columns by the legendary Shirley Povich, in his last years.

      The Nats pay some homage to the Senators, as well as the Homestead Grays. The statues of Walter Johnson, Josh Gibson and Frank Howard. The ring of fame behind home plate. The occasional game wearing old-time uniforms. The old photos, posters, and pictures of baseball cards in the Stars & Stripes Club.

    • urbisoler - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:39 PM

      I tried to contact Phil Wood for just this reason. I wanted to send him a copy of my book dedicated, in part, to Eddie Yost (see comment below). Never made contact.

  6. stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    RIP Eddie Yost.

  7. jericoc - Oct 17, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    He was Gil Hodges’ right-hand man in his post-playing career. I remember him fondly as the Mets’ third base coach during those great seasons of the late ’60s and early ’70s.

  8. jmy9595 - Oct 17, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    Died 50 years to the day of his last MLB appearance.

  9. scitizen - Oct 18, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    1953 – My greatest thrill to catch foul ball hit my Eddie Yost at Griffith Stadium. Thanks Eddie, RIP

  10. urbisoler - Oct 18, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Eddie was my baseball hero growing up. I am depressed that he is gone. I wrote a baseball book that was, in part, dedicated to Eddie Yost. Bill James not only claimed that Eddie was the 24th best third baseman ever, he also claimed that Eddie was THE BEST third baseman during the 1950-1959 decade.
    See http://bleacherreport.com/articles/88918-mlb-all-decade-teams
    I’m glad I got to speak to Eddie last year over the phone. He was a great guy and a great ballplayer. He was the epitome of what a leadoff ballplayer should be – getting on base was Job 1.

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