Liebman: Baseball lifer Doc Edwards dies at 81

From SABR member Ira Liebman at the Pecan Park Eagle on August 21, 2018:

Today we lost a great baseball man and an even better person, Doc Edwards. Doc, 81, spent over half a century of his life in baseball and was still managing up until 2014, finishing a career that last 57 years in the game. Edwards, who earned his nickname “Doc” after serving as a former Navy medic, was born Howard Rodney Edwards.

Former Cleveland Indians scout and Pirates Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner signed Doc as an amateur free agent in 1958. The Red Jacket, West Virginia, native made his Major League debut on April 21, 1962, in Yankee Stadium while playing for the Tribe. In his first plate appearance, he drew a walk against the legendary Whitey Ford, who would be a future teammate. Doc, who went on to hit .273 in his rookie year, also played for the Kansas City Athletics, New York Yankees, and Philadelphia Phillies.

Doc has always touched different parts of baseball history.  He was part of a few prominent trades featuring some well-known names, such as when he was sent to the A’s in 1963 for catcher Joe Azcue and shortstop Dick Howser (Howser would later become a Major League manager himself with the Royals and Yankees). In 1965, Doc was traded to the Yankees for Johnny Blanchard and Roland Sheldon, when Elston Howard was injured. While in New York, he played with such Yankees greats as Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and Jim Bouton, who wrote the controversial book,“Ball Four,” amongst others. Doc would once again touch baseball history when he had the opportunity to catch the oldest rookie in baseball history in an old timer’s game, catching Negro League legend Satchel Paige.

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Originally published: August 21, 2018. Last Updated: August 21, 2018.