Ed Mathews 1952 #407
by William Szczepanek
This card #407 of the 1952 Topps set is Mathews' rookie card though it probably would have been his most popular even if he had hit the majors sooner than 1952. It is special for a number of reasons. It is the last card of the first Topps complete set. This card in good condition is a rarity since kids would keep their cards wrapped in rubber bands and because this card was often on the bottom it would get damaged easily. It is also one of those cards that is said to have been tossed off of the barge by Topps since the cards from the last series did not sell well because the football season had started and interest waned.
Mathews was 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting in 1952, tied with Dick Groat, and behind Joe Black and Hoyt Wilhelm. A perennial power hitter Mathews totaled 512 home runs, the same as a long time competitor Ernie Banks. A lifetime .271 hitter, his swing was easy and graceful, but packed a wallop because of his strong wrists. He was a consistent pull hitter and often batted against a shift. Mathews hit the game winning home run in the tenth inning of the 4th game of the 1957 World Series and caught the ground ball then stepped on third to end the series in the 7th game.
Ed still ranks second all-time among third basemen behind Mike Schmidt in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage and total bases. He led the league in home runs in 1953 and 1959 with 47 and 46 home runs respectively. He is a 9-time All Star and played in 3 World Series.
He is the only player in Braves franchise history to have played in the team's three locations: Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta.
In 1978 Eddie Mathews was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
"I've only known three or four perfect swings in my time. This lad has one of them." ─ Ty Cobb
"My mother used to pitch to me and my father would shag balls. If I hit one up the middle close to my mother, I'd have some extra chores to do. My mother was instrumental in making me a pull hitter." ─ Eddie Mathews
You can read more about Ed Mathews on our Showcase page.