Yount, Eddie

Player Name: Yount, Eddie
Position: Outfield
Birthplace: Newton

First, Middle Names: Floyd Edwin   
Date of Birth:  Dec. 19, 1916 Date and Place of Death: Oct. 27, 1973, Newton
Burial: Eastview Cemetery, Newton

High School: Undetermined
College: Wake Forest University, Wake Forest, NC

Bats: R             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-1, 185
Debut Year: 1937       Final Year: 1939          Years Played: 2
Teams and Years: Philadelphia Athletics, 1937; Pittsburgh Pirates, 1939

Career Summary
G         AB       H         R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
6         9          2          1          1            0          .222     .222     .222     -0.1

Eddie Yount’s big-league career was brief and undistinguished: six games over two seasons, a couple of years apart. In a minor-league career that stretched over 13 years, however, he was a feared slugger and the beloved manager of his hometown team.

Floyd Edwin Yount was born in 1916 in Newton in Catawba County, the younger of two sons of Floyd and Annie Yount. Floyd owned a grocery store where young Eddie and his brother, Sidney, worked while growing up. We can assume that he graduated from old Newton High School but no evidence has surfaced to confirm that.[1]

We do know that he attended Wake Forest College in Wake County, North Carolina. He very likely played baseball, though, again, no surviving records indicate that he did, because the Philadelphia Athletic ssigned him when he graduated in 1937.

Yount played in four games for the A’s at the end of that season and then pinched hit in two games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1939. That was the extent of his major-league career.

He had a more satisfying career in the Army. Yount enlisted about a week after Pearl Harbor in 1942 and started playing baseball while stationed with the 12th Armored Division in Camp Campbell, Kentucky. He began managing the team in 1943 and also attended special services school at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. The division was sent to Europe in 1945, and its team started playing again after Germany surrendered.[I]

Yount continued to play, coach and manage in the minor leagues when he returned home in 1946. He hit .420 two years later as the player-manager of the Newton-Conover Twins in the Western Carolina League, which occupied the very lowest rung in professional baseball. None of its teams was affiliated with a big-league club. He managed and caught for the Twins for four years and was among the league’s leading hitters each year. Yount attributed some of his offensive prowess to a juiced ball – a “rabbit ball,” he called it – and slick infields that turned routine grounders into singles through the holes.[II]

Well-liked by teammates and fans, the homegrown manager had to step aside in 1951 because of vision problems in his left eye.[2] He tried to stage a comeback the following season by was forced to retire after only 51 games. Trying to see out of the eye, he said, was like driving through a thick fog. He put himself back on the roster because he thought the struggling team needed him. Yount still managed to hit .305 with one eye.[III]

After baseball, he was a salesman at a flour mill for a time and then opened a general store in Newton.

His wife, Margaret, died in 1967. A native of Scotland, she had met Yount in Toronto, Ontario, while he was playing ball there. They got married in 1941 and had no children.

Yount committed suicide in 1973.


Footnotes
[1] Newton’s first high school was built in 1923. It burned and was rebuilt in the 1930s. “North Main Avenue Historic District.” Living Places Neighborhoods, https://www.livingplaces.com/NC/Catawba_County/Newton_City/North_Main_Avenue_Historic_District.html).
[2] Eye specialists diagnosed Andrews’ problem as “chorditis.” The modern, medical definition of the condition relates to inflammation of the vocal cords.

References
[I] Bedingfield, Gary. “Eddie Yount.” Baseball in Wartime. https://www.baseballinwartime.com/player_biographies/yount_eddie.htm
[II][1] Helms, Herman. “Baseball’s Leading Hitter Awes ‘Em.” Charlotte (NC) Observer, July 21, 1948.
[III] _________ “Sport Shorts.” Charlotte (NC) Observer, May 22, 1951.