Eddie Yost, the Washington Senators’ third baseman from the 1950s, has passed away, marking the end of an era for a man whose extraordinary ability to coax walks made him a pest to opposing pitchers.
Yost passed away on October 16 at an assisted-living facility in Weston, Massachusetts at the age of 86, reports The Washington Post. While his daughter, Felita Yost Carr, confirmed her father’s death, the only explanation she gave was a “bad heart.”
Yost first joined the Senators in 1944 when he was just 17-years-old. He quickly became one of the most popular players on a team whose record wasn’t the best. During his 12 seasons as a starting third baseman between 1947 and 1958, the team finished just one season with a winning record.
Despite this, Eddie Yost, along with hitters Mickey Vernon and Roy Sievers, was a bright spot for the Nats, as the team was called. While Yost’s batting record was nothing special, with his lifetime batting average just .254, he had an uncanny batting eye that inabled him to draw walks seemingly at will.
This ability earned Yost the nickname “The Walking Man.” One opposing team’s manager fined his pitchers $25 each time they walked Yost, but they had to stop the practice when his pitching staff ended up owing him hundreds of dollars. Phil Wood, a longtime Washington broadcaster and baseball historian, stated:
“He reached the point where the umpires said if he didn’t swing at a pitch, they wouldn’t call it a strike.”
The New York Times notes that, despite his less than perfect batting average, Eddie Yost was picked for the 1952 All-Star Game by Yankees manager Casey Stengel, the only time he would be given such a high honor. When explaining his reasoning for picking Yost, Stengel stated, “Every time I look up, that feller is on base.”
Yost was so good at reading opposing pitchers that he led the American League in walks six times and, despite his below-average hitting, the late baseball player had an on-base percentage of over .400 in nine different seasons — a fantastic accomplishment.
In addition to his daughter Felita, Eddie Yost is survived by another daughter, Alexis Yost Fougre; a son, Michael; a sister, Rosemary Huebner; and two grandchildren.