Oct 20, 2018

1973 NL Champion Mets Long Time Mets Coach: Eddie Yost (1968-1977)

Edward Frederick Yost was born October 13, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York.

The five foot ten right hand hitter attended John Adams High school in Ozone Park, Queens New York. He then attended New York University in the late forties, eventually getting signed by the lowly Washington Senators.

Yost jumped right over the minor leagues, playing seven brief games with the Senators before getting drafted into World War II. He arrived back from Military service in 1946 and the following year became the Senators full time third baseman.

Yost became a fixture in Washington, spending fourteen seasons there (1944 / 1946-1958). In those years the Senators never finished higher than third place. And that was a good year.

Yost played in over 150 games six times, while leading the league in games played three different times.

He once held the record with 2008 games played at the third base position up until the 1966 season. Yost was an excellent steady infielder, leading the league in put outs eight times, assists twice & fielding percentage once, while coming in runner up three other times.

His fielding stats are also impressive. He is third on the all time list in put outs at third base (2356). He has played 2008 games at third (13th all time) & his 3659 assists are 19th all time. He is 40th all time in errors (270) & 84th all time in fielding (.957 %).

Although he was an excellent third baseman, his best quality was his great eye & the ability to draw walks.

He led the league in walks six times, earning the nickname “the Walking Man". He would draw over 100 walks eight times in his career.   

Yost averaged one walk per game, drawing 1614 walks in his career, good enough to be 11th on the all time list (as of 2018). He led the league in on base % twice (1959-1960) & led the league three times in times on base (1950/1959-1960). He is 87th all time in getting on base getting aboard 3576 times.

Yost posted on base percentages over .400 nine times in his 18 season career, which is half the seasons he played. His career .394 on base % is 83rd all time, better than Hall of Famers with 3000 hits; like Rod Carew & Tony Gwynn.

 He was also in the top ten in getting hit by pitches nine times, coming in the top three five times, finishing with 99 hit by pitches (85th all time). Yost also scored over 100 runs five times in his career & led the league in that department in 1959 while playing with the Detroit Tigers.

In 1950, Yost batted a career best .295, leading the league with 141 walks. He scored 114 runs, posting a .440 on base % (second in the league) coming in 20th in the MVP voting for the fifth place Senators.

The next year 1951, he led the league in doubles (36) batting .283 with a .423 on base %, earning more votes for the MVP. He would hit over 30 doubles four times in his career.

In 1952 he made the All Star Team, leading the league in walks, at bats & plate appearances although he hit just .233.

The next season he improved to .272 with a .403 on base % while scoring 107 runs, leading the AL in walks, once again gaining votes for the MVP Award.

 A the end of the 1958 season, he was sent to the Detroit Tigers in a six player trade that sent Rocky Bridges & Neil Chrisley to Detroit in exchange for Reno Bertoia, Jim Delsing & Ron Samford.

During Yost's first two years in Detroit he continued to lead the AL in both walks & on base percentage both years.

In 1959 he also led the league in runs (115) with a career high 21 HRs along with 19 doubles & 61 RBIs.

After two seasons in the Motor City he went to the expansion Los Angeles Angels getting drafted as the 26th player in the 1960 expansion draft. He played with the Angels for two seasons finishing up his playing career in 1962.

Yost played in 2109 lifetime games batting .254 with 1863 hits 337 doubles 56 triples 139 HRs 683 RBIs 1215 runs scored & a .394 on base percentage.

Retirement & Coaching Career: He began his long coaching career as a player coach with the 1962 Angels, and then returned to Washington as the third-base coach for the Senators, under his old teammate, Mickey Vernon.

Vernon was eventually replaced by Gil Hodges as manager. In between that transition time, Yost served as the team's interim manager. The Senators lost in his only game at the helm.

He remained on Gil Hodges staff and then joined him in New York with the Mets in the 1968 season.

Eddie Yost was thrilled to be back in his native New York City with an exciting young ball club. He would be the Mets third base coach for the next decade 1968- 1977.

He was on the coaching staff, in the third base box, witnessing the excitement of the 1969 Amazing Mets. After Gil Hodges passed away in 1972, Yost served under manager's Yogi Berra, Roy McMillan & Joe Frazier.  He then saw the Pennant year of 1973 & You Gotta Believe. He watched Tom Seaver win three Young Awards & witnessed the start of the dismal era, where Shea Stadium became known as "Grants Tomb".

Quotes: Yost once said: “It’s nice to have the big crowds we get at Shea Stadium, but it can be tough on a coach. You can’t be heard by the man on second base.”

As a third base coach, if the runner had too big of a lead or if the infielders were circling him, Yost would move toward the runner as if to chase him back to the base.

After his Mets career, Yost continued coaching with the Boston Red Sox for another eight seasons from 1977 through 1984. Eddie then settled down and retired, at age 58.  

Mets Honors: In 2009, at age 82, Yost was asked to attend celebrations marking the 40th Anniversary of the 1969 Amazing Mets. He was on hand at CitiField & the baseball card shows in Huntington.

Trivia: Yost attended New York University during the off-season where he earned a Master's degree in physical education.

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was on a radio talk show claiming he was a big Red Sox fan growing up in Groton, Mass. and said Eddie Yost was his favorite player. The problem is that Eddie Yost never played for the Red Sox, he just coached from 1977-1984.

Passing: On October 16th, 2012 Eddie Yost passed away from cardiovascular disease.

He was survived by a son & two daughters. "The Walking Man" was 86 years old.

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