Remembering Eddie Joost
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.