As the legions of Un-Yankee-fans enjoy the thumping the Tigers finished putting on the Evil Empire today, we are saddened by the loss of Eddie Yost, the Walkin’ Man, who played two seasons of his long Major League career in Detroit. Another of my childhood baseball cards gone to that big clubhouse in the sky.
As a lifetime student of the Grand Old Game, I could never fathom how or why Yost got all those walks. He must have had X-ray vision. He was not a power hitter that pitchers had to be careful with. He wasn’t even a high average hitter. His 1956 season illustrates the puzzlement. That year Yost batted .231 with 11 home runs. He had only 119 base hits but 151 walks. That same year triple-crown winner Mickey Mantle hit 52 homes runs, batted .353, and walked 112 times, second in the league behind Yost. Only Ted Williams and Larry Doby, with 102 free passes each, walked in triple digits that year.
There may not be any such thing as a free lunch. But our Eddie sure knew how to work a free base. God rest his soul.