As I looked down the list of historical events that happen on this date in history, the one that caught my eye was that in 1967 Eddie Mathews hit his 500th home run. What made this event stand out was not that he hit his 500th home run, although back in the day that was a big thing, but that he did it as a member of the Houston Astros! I was really shocked, here was a baseball bit of trivia that forgot. As far as I remembered Mathews was a Brave and only a Brave, but in looking at his stats, he played one year in Houston and two in Detroit at the end of his career. When I looked back at the trade, I see that Mathews was trade from the Atlanta Braves on August 17, 1967 along with Arnold Umbach and a player to be named later (Sandy Alomar) for Dave Nicholson and Bob Bruce! When I looked at the career stats for the players involved other than Mathews I see that neither Umbach or Alomar ever played for the Astros and Nicholson and Bruce didn’t do much for Atlanta either.
Mathews hit his 500th home run off of Juan Marichal in San Francisco. The three-run homer in the sixth inning game the Astros a 6-4 in a game that they eventually won 8-6. . You can read more about the game here. At the time he was only the 7th player in baseball history to reach that milestone.
While Mathews career like many, ended on a sad note, by the time he played for the Astros the fine 3rd baseballs skills had slipped to the point that he was shifted to first base, but his Hall of Fame career started with a bang. In 1953, his second year in the majors the 22 year-old Mathews played in 157 games, batted .302, with 47 home runs and 135 RBIs and made his first of nine trips to the All Star Game. For the next eight (8) years Mathews hit 30 or more home runs and in 4 of those years he hit more than 40 homers!!
In 1952, when Mathews began his career the Braves were playing in Boston. The Braves moved from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953 and then moved to Atlanta in 1966, Mathews was with the Braves for each move making him the only Brave to play in all three cities. I was six when the Braves went to the World Series in 1957 and then they returned in 1958 those two World Series are tow of my first memories about baseball. I don’t remember any of the games. All I remember is that my mother was rooting for the Braves and in the 1957 Series pitcher Lew Burdette won 3 games for the Braves!! Also the oldest baseball card in my collection is Mathews in 1957 Topps card shown at the top of this page! In keeping with the All Star Break that is upon us – here is Eddie Matthews 1965 Topps embossed All Star Card…..