Remembering Eddie Joost

By Craig Muder

For decades, he was only ink on a page in my memory – a stat line worth recalling in the baseball encyclopedia.

You remember players like Eddie Joost, whose numbers were so unique. Then – if you’re lucky – those black-and-white numbers come to life.

Such was the day in Cooperstown in 2008 when the former Philadelphia A’s shortstop and manager visited the Baseball Hall of Fame. At the time, Joost was 92 and sharp as a tack, a carrier of living history.

Joost was featured in a Museum program that day, thrilling visitors with his memories and insight. The 17-year big league veteran played for the Reds and Braves during his first eight years, then experienced a revival in 1947 when – at age 31 – he became the A’s regular shortstop. For the next six seasons, Joost never drew fewer than 103 walks and averaged 18 home runs a season – rare totals for a shortstop of those days.

He managed the A’s in their last season in Philadelphia in 1954. At the time of his passing on Tuesday, he was the oldest former big league manager – a title that now passes to former Red Sox skipper Johnny Pesky.

Born on June 5, 1916, when Babe Ruth had yet to reach double-figures in career home runs, Joost lived to see baseball shape – and re-shape – the American experience.

That history lives on in Cooperstown.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

3 Comments

I’m sorry to learn of his passing. I don’t think it was in my paper. That was a long-lived Reds infield with Joost, Bill Werber, and Lonnie Frey. My first baseball glove was an Eddie Joost model the year he managed the A’s and I was perfectly aware that aside from Vern Stephens he was hitting more home runs than other shortstops at that time.
I had previously read about his visit to the Hall and it seemed as if it would have been nice to hear him talk.

Wonder what Eddie had to say in rememberance of Connie Mack. My Dad told me that Joost was a pretty good ballplayer for his time. Have a Fleer Great card of Joost (and probably some old Bowmans).

Eddie Joost should be considered for the Hall as well as Hal Chase, one of the finest first baseman of the first decade.

http://halchasehalloffame.blogspot.com/

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