Meet the German God of Walks
Eddie Yost had a very good eye. Over 18 seasons, Yost would take four balls earning a free trip to first base 1,614 times. He led the American League in bases on balls six times. When he retired at the end of the 1962 season, Yost would be fourth all-time in walks; today he’s eleventh. His propensity for earning the free pass would also give him his nickname, “The Walking Man.”
Unfortunately for Yost, getting on base did not lead often to scoring since he played a majority of his career with the Washington Senators (“First in war, first in peace, and last in the American League”). Joining the team as an eighteen-year old rookie in 1944, Yost would play with the organization for 14 seasons, finishing with a winning record only twice (1945 and 1952) and finishing above fifth place in the eight-team league only once (also in ‘45).
After the 1958 season, the popular Yost was traded to the Detroit Tigers spending two seasons in Michigan before being dealt to the expansion Los Angeles Angels. Eddie would make history as the first batter in the history of the Angels franchise, leading off on the road against the Baltimore Orioles on April 11, 1961. (Yost would go 0-4, with a walk - of course.)
Following his playing career, Yost would become a coach for the new Washington Senators franchise*, the Mets (including as a member of the 1969 World Series champions), and the Red Sox. The one-time All-Star (1952) would pass away on October 16, 2012 - three days after his 86th birthday.
*The first Senators franchise, where Yost starred, moved to Minnesota before 1961 to become the Twins. The next Senators team would play until 1971 in D.C. then move to Arlington, Texas and renaming themselves the Rangers.
Sources: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, baseball-reference.com, retrosheet.org
(Image of Yost’s 1955 Topps card is copyright of Topps, Inc. and courtesy of baseball simulator.com)
Here’s a link to another great piece on Yost, via The Hall of Very Good.