Wednesday, February 27, 2013

1964 Topps #35 Eddie Mathews

Well, we're less than a week away now from the release of one of my favorite annual sets: Topps Heritage. After last year's declaration that I will no longer be collecting complete sets, I am finding myself fighting the urge to pick up a box or two just for the pure joy of breaking. I suppose I can get my fix by watching you-tube...

Anyway, since we are getting ready for the release of the tribute to the 1964 set, it's time to go back through the 1964 Topps Braves- beginning with Hall of Fame third-baseman Eddie Mathews.

1964 Topps #35 Eddie Mathews

As the 1963 major league season came to a close, it did so with the end of the career of one of the game's greats- Stan Musial, who at the time of his retirement was the active leader for career home runs (475 total). With Musial no longer active, Eddie Mathews, with 422 home runs, began the '64 season as the active leader (Mickey Mantle was close behind at 419).

 Mathews would see career-lows (up until that point) in many offensive categories during the 1964 season: plate appearances, hits, homers, average, and slugging. With only 23 home runs during the season, Mathews saw his place on the active leaders list drop to third by season's end: with Mantle the leader at 454- one more than the Say Hey Kid.

Breaking Down Mathews' 1964 Homers:
9 home runs from 7th inning on
2 tied the score
7 gave Milwaukee the lead

His only career home run out of the lead-off spot came at Chicago on August 1, 1964 against Larry Jackson of the Cubs. Mathews led off the game with what is his fourteenth jack of the season.

Did You Know?
On the final day of the 1964 regular season, Braves manager Bobby Bragan assigned Mathews as the team's manager, while he (Bragan) watched the games from the stands. Despite pitcher Bob Sadowski throwing a shutout through eight innings, Mathews replaced the starter with aging vet Warren Spahn. The forty-three year old lefty gave up one-hit, while striking out two Pirates to earn the save in his final appearance in a Braves uniform.

Other Mathews collectibles from 1964 Topps:

Topps Stand-Up

1964 Topps Photo Tattoo

1964 Topps Coin #33 

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