Former major league third baseman Eddie Yost, who led the AL in walks six times in an 18-year big-league career, died at age 86 on Tuesday.
Long before walks were cool, Yost was the champion of the category, racking up huge totals despite the fact that he wasn’t an overpowering hitter. Yost never batted .300 and topped 15 homers just once in his career, which spanned from 1944-62, but he twice led the AL in on-base percentage and finished in the top six five more times.
Along with leading the AL in walks six times, he finished second to Ted Williams twice. He topped 100 runs five times, leading the AL once. He also led the AL in doubles one year.
Still, for all of his success, Yost made just one All-Star team, and it actually happened in one of his weaker seasons in 1952. He was at his best in 1959, when he hit .278/.435/.436 with 21 homers in his first year with the Tigers. He spent his first 14 seasons with the Senators before finishing up with two years in Detroit and two more in Los Angeles with the Angels.
At the time of his retirement, Yost was fourth on the all-time walk list behind Babe Ruth, Williams and Mel Ott. He currently ranks 11th with 1,614 walks.
After wrapping up his playing career, Yost spent 22 years coaching with the Senators, Mets and Red Sox before retiring in 1984.
Marc Carig of The Athletic reports that the Mets have interviewed Dave Littlefield to fill the club’s GM vacancy. The position hasn’t exactly been a popular one for potential candidates, with many preemptively taking their name out of consideration.
Littlefield, 58, was the Pirates’ GM between 2001-07. It didn’t exactly go well. The club never won more than 75 games during his tenure. Littlefield was also infamous for the 2003 Rule 5 draft in which he carelessly left several valuable players unprotected, including Chris Shelton and José Bautista. Littlefield was also criticized for trades he made (e.g. Aramis Ramírez) and for trades he didn’t make (e.g. Kris Benson for Ryan Howard).
In the time since, Littlefield worked as a scout for the Cubs, then for the Tigers. Since 2015, he has worked as the vice president of player development for the Tigers. Littlefield’s successor, Neal Huntington, went on to have more success which didn’t help Littlefield’s cause any. Huntington was also comparatively much more open to analytics.
The Mets’ interest in Littlefield isn’t surprising. There are plenty of up-and-coming GM candidates — like Ben Cherington — the Mets could target, but Fred Wilpon (pictured above) want that. They want someone malleable who will adhere to payroll constrictions. Mets ownership’s involvement is an issue for the younger, analytics-oriented executives, Matt Ehalt of The Record reported earlier this month. Ehalt wrote, “There are rumblings that several candidates with progressive, analytics-oriented approaches do not believe they will be able to operate as they please should they take the Mets job, according to a source. That hesitation played a factor in why former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington bowed out of the mix, per the source.”
You have to feel bad for Mets fans, who seem relegated to having to root for a middling ballclub once again. And you have to feel bad for the likes of Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard, who will once again have to perform for a team that doesn’t have competing as its chief priority.