Edwin Lee “Eddie” Mathews (October 13, 1931 - February 18, 2001) was the first athlete to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and was the only man to play for the Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves. During his 17-year career with the Braves (Boston -1952, Milwaukee - 1953-1965, Atlanta – 1966), the Houston Astros (1967) and the Detroit Tigers (1967-1968), Mathews crushed 512 home runs including two seasons as National League leader in round-trippers. Mathews possessed natural power, including a strong and accurate arm, as well as a durable frame that rarely kept him out of the Braves lineup. Ty Cobb once referred to Mathews swing as one of “three or four perfect swings of my time.” Mathews was a 12-time All-Star selection, a three-time pennant winner and twice was a World Series champion with the 1957 Braves and 1968 Tigers. Eddie Mathews retired from baseball with 512 home runs, 2,315 hits, 1,509 runs, 1,453 RBI and a career .271 batting average. Edwin Lee Mathews was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.
Selva Lewis “Lew” Burdette (November 22, 1926 - February 6, 2007) was one of the most durable and successful starting pitchers of the 1950s, dominating the National League as a member of the Milwaukee Braves pitching staff. Burdette originally signed and pitched for the New York Yankees, his greatest success would come against them when he won three complete games in the 1957 World Series including two shutouts. Lew pitched 18 years in the Majors with the Yankees (1950), the Boston/Milwaukee Braves (1951-1952/1953-1963), the St. Louis Cardinals (1963-1964), the Chicago Cubs (1964-1965), the Philadelphia Phillies (1965) and the California Angels (1966-1967). He led the National League in ERA (2.70) in 1956, winning percentage (.667) going 20-10 in 1958, wins (21) in 1959, and led once in starts, innings pitched and complete games as well as twice in shutouts. During the 1957 World Series, Burdette became the first pitcher in 37 years to win three complete WS games. In 1957, Lew was named the World Series MVP, won the Babe Ruth Award and earned his first of two All-Star appearances. Lew was the winning pitcher against the Pirates Harvey Haddix 12-2/3 perfect game. Lew Burdette finished his career with a 203-144 record, had 158 complete games and 33 shutouts in 373 starts, had 128 games finished including 31 saves, struck out 1,074 batters and posted a 3.66 career ERA.
James Franklin Busby (January 8, 1927 - July 8, 1996) played center field for 13 years in the Major Leagues with six different teams. The Chicago White Sox signed Busby out of Texas Christian University in 1948 and he debuted in 1950. Busby was a good hitter with a superb glove and led the league twice in putouts, led once in fielding percentage and earned a 1951 All-Star Game selection. Jim stole ten or more bases four times from 1951-1955. He spent time with the White Sox (1950-1952, 1955), the Washington Senators (1952-1955), the Cleveland Indians (1956-1957) the Baltimore Orioles (1957-1958, 1960-1961), the Boston Red Sox 1959-1960) and the Houston Colt .45’s (1962). Jim posted a .988 career fielding percentage with 3,284 putouts, 68 assists, 16 double plays and 42 errors in 3,394 chances. Over his 13-year career, he batted .262 with 1,113 hits, 541 runs, 438 stolen bases and 438 RBI.
Roy Thomas Hartsfield (October 25, 1925 – January 15, 2011) Georgia native Roy Hartsfield was an outstanding three-sport star in high school. After serving in the US Navy in 1944 and 1945, the second baseman distinguished himself in the Boston Braves farm system. In 1950, he batted a respectable .277 as a Braves rookie. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Hartsfield played hard and had a knack for delivering a big hit or defensive gem. His MLB career ended in 1952, but in 1956 he got his first minor-league managerial job, which put him on the road to baseball history. Hartsfield managed a total of 19 seasons in the minors, interrupted by a stint as coach for the Dodgers, and a stint as the first-ever manager of the expansion Toronto Blue Jays. In his three seasons as Toronto’s manager, he compiled a 166–318 record. Hartsfield later scouted and was active in charities until his death at age 86 in 2011.