Yost made his MLB debut in 1944 at the age of 17 with the Washington Senators playing third base. He spent 18 seasons in the bigs mostly with the Senators as well as stints with the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Angels. His accomplishments at third were overshadowed by the likes of George Kell and later Brooks Robinson.
Yet in today’s game, Yost would be a hotly sought after commodity. Yost drew 100 or more walks eight times in his career and led the AL in walks on six occasions. He also had a OBP of .400 or better on eight occasions and led the AL in OBP twice. Despite a modest .254 career batting average, his career OBP was .394. Yost’s 1,614 career walks are 11th on MLB’s all-time list. He also scored 100 or more runs five times leading the AL in that category on one occasion. He was nicknamed “The Walking Man”.
But Yost’s offensive contributions weren’t appreciated during his playing days as he only made one AL All-Star Team in his career and that was in 1952. What really hurt Yost is that he played on lousy teams. In fact, only twice in his career did he play on a team that finished above .500. The first was in ’52 when the Sens were 78-76 finishing 17 games back of the New York Yankees. The second time was during his last season as a player in 1962 when the Los Angeles Angels, in only their second year of existence, had a respectable third place finish in the AL. Interestingly, Yost missed the 1945 season due to military service. That year the Senators finished in second place in the AL only 1½ games back of the eventual World Series champion Detroit Tigers.
After his playing career was over, Yost spent the next two decades as a third base coach with the Senators, the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox. Yost did earn a World Series ring as a part of Gil Hodges’ coaching staff with the 1969 Amazin’ Mets.
Yost certainly isn’t a lock as a Hall of Famer but he certainly deserves a second look by the Veterans Committee.
Other than that the best way to pay tribute to Yost would be to play a little James Taylor.
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