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Looking Back to 1976-My Mom Marries Eddie Mayo-1945 World Series MVP

A famous athlete becomes my stepfather.

Baseball is in full bloom right now. We’re rooting for the Tigers. Why? Among other reasons, my stepfather, Eddie Mayo also played for them. In fact, he was World Series MVP in 1945. How cool is that?

My mom started seeing Eddie around 1975, after his wife passed away. Eddie had always admired his “Ginny”, largely because he was also her brother-in-law. Yes, you guessed it. Eddie married his wife’s sister. 

Hey, it kept the family intact. If you marry your sister-in-law, you don’t have to explain yourself over and over again. Mom and Eddie had known each other for decades, so it made perfect sense. After the wedding, they spent many years on Pacoima Court, spending summers in Maryland where Eddie had a home, before they finally moved to the desert in 1989.

In watching these riveting baseball games, I wonder what it must have been like for Eddie to be a professional athlete. There’s the discipline, the traveling, the fans, and all the pressures from the crowds.  I’m sure the celebrity status was trying at times, along with the challenges of raising a family and supporting a wife.

Eddie used to say that baseball was the most difficult sport. You had 1/10th of a second to assess the pitch and decide whether to swing or let it go by.  As I watch the pitchers on TV, I wonder about the recipe of a ball before it is thrown. Will it be a fastball, a curve, slider, changeup or something else? Teresa and I used to play softball, and even those slow pitches were sometimes impossible to hit.

Imagine a hardball hurling toward you at 100+ mph, and you can see how difficult it would be for any professional athlete to execute a swing correctly.

 According to the Internet, Edward Joseph Mayo, nicknamed "Hotshot" and "Steady Eddie," was an infielder for nine seasons in Major League Baseball, playing for the New York Giants, Boston Braves, Philadelphia Athletics and Detroit Tigers.

But Eddie’s best years were with the Tigers, where he played second base from 1944 through 1948. In 1945, he helped lead the Tigers to the American League pennant and to victory over the Cubs in the seven-game World Series. That year, the Sporting News crowned him MVP. The gold and diamond ring he wore was like a large satellite on his hand, and a physical tribute to his athletic accomplishments.

After his career in baseball ended, Eddie ran a very successful tile business, and then did very well as a restaurateur.  The competitive spirit was always with him, and after marrying my mom, he even taught my twin sister Teresa and I the fundamentals of golf.  Now that’s the toughest game in my book!

Eddie was married to my mom for about 24 years and deeply devoted to her. After she passed in 2000, he continued with life without her, until he passed away in 2006 in Banning, California. At the time, he was 96, and considered the oldest living former Detroit Tiger, and the eighth oldest living former Major League Baseball player.

Eddie and I had our tough moments at times, especially after my mom died, but for the most part, we got along pretty well. And it’s the good times that I try to remember. Life’s too short to harbor negativity.

So, here’s to you Eddie, wherever you may be. May your Tigers be victorious!

teresa mcgrath October 20, 2012 at 01:18 PM
nie article mary
Richard Niederberg October 20, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Excellent Article!
Mary McGrath October 20, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Eddie was a formidable athlete and a real character. I'm hoping he's celebrating with my mom somewhere, probably some big golf course in the sky...
Karen Young October 20, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Wow, Mary. Your memories and your family history are always a source of surprise. You relay it all so beautifully in your writing.
Mary McGrath October 20, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Oh, thanks so much Karen. Eddie was a very good athlete in many other areas as well. I thought it would be a cinch to beat him in ping pong. Boy, was I wrong. He was an excellent golfer as well, although I was always a bit nervous playing with him.
Mary McGrath October 20, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Thanks Richard. I'm glad you enjoyed...
Mary McGrath October 20, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Teresa and I were pretty dismal at golf when we tried to learn in 1976. I thought it was a game for those who couldn't play other sports. It's extremely difficult.
Barbara Krause October 20, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Such a touching and interesting column.
Mary McGrath October 20, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Thanks for stopping by Barbara...
Mark Hussey October 21, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Really nice review of family history, Mary. I think you hit a triple with this piece! It was fun to read, but couldn't help wondering if a part II. might be in the offing....so we can hear about some of our other cousins, the Mayo kids, born to our Aunt Marge, Uncle Eddie's first wife. Also, I had never heard that Ed was chosen Series mvp.....and the Baseball Almanac says that Major League Baseball did not start awarding World Series MVP until 1955. But it sounds like maybe they channeled the concept from the Spirting News? I just want to add that my brother Gene and I (your beloved NY cousins) always rooted for the Tigers when we were kids even though most of our friends were rabid Yankee fans, during those Mantle & Maris years especially. We favored the "Tiggers" only because of Uncle Ed! And like you, we're rootin' for them again right now!!
Mary McGrath October 21, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Hi Mark! Maybe he was MVP of the American League? Who knows? Any other sports trivia enthusiasts out there? I'd love for Eddie's kids to fill in the blanks on growing up with him. Please forward to them if you have their email addresses. He lost his ring in his backyard in Maryland, and a psychic told him where it was buried!
Mark Hussey October 22, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Ach du lieber!! Dis ist exactly vhat I thought!! The deal is (and I know you were sort of a jock back in the day, but I was even jockier--I tink!)........you were on the right track, BUT: Eddie the Tiger made the All-Star team in 1945--I believe as the starting 2nd baseman for the American League. That's the story of "Hot-Shot"--as far as I know it. And was it any surprise that that was his nickname??!!
Mary McGrath October 22, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Your wealth of info never ceases to amaze me Mark!
Mary McGrath October 22, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Do you have John Mayo's email address Mark? I'd like to send this to him...
Mark Hussey October 23, 2012 at 01:40 AM
I just flagged your comment as inappropriate!!! Just for fun.......what is Patch going to do? Issue a demerit to you?? I am not in touch with any of the Mayos--with the exception of Barbara, who I wrote to when her son passed in late July, as I know you recall. Now, seriously, is Patch OK with us carrying on this private dialogue where ANYBODY in Studio City can read it? So, like, how's the karaoke scene??? Maybe you could write a new story, Mary, about folks who carry on personal conversations in the "Comments" sections of online newspapers!! It could be pretty funny. Teresa, do you agree???
Mike Szymanski October 23, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Patch welcomes and needs comments of any kind like this, and we hope you will continue to do so, however, you are able to click directly to the author (see that button next to Mary McGrath's name that says EMAIL THE AUTHOR? that's how....and you can click on any contributor's name and write them right there, and it doesn't go to everyone. However, a lot of us like to read such back-and-forths, so feel free to keep it up!
Mark Hussey October 23, 2012 at 06:23 AM
Mary--you hear that?? Mike wants us to keep chatting. OK, thanks Mike! Say, Mary, I have a new question: your profile pic on this page, near the headline.....why is your head only about a 1/2 inch high? I don't remember your head being that small!!
Mary McGrath October 23, 2012 at 12:57 PM
I was emulating Sylvia Plath, and stuck my head in the dryer...
Mary McGrath October 23, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Like ping-pong, sometimes these conversations take on a life of their own. By the way Mark, we thought we saw you on TV last night as we were watching the Giants clobber the Cardinals. Weren't you pitching? Sure looked like you. Eddie May was in the stands cheering you on. Eddie was right handed when it came to throwing, but he batted left. An undecided voter!
Mark Hussey October 23, 2012 at 02:58 PM
LOL!! (...and I never, ever use that term unless I literally laugh out loud! Good one!!)
Barbara Krause October 23, 2012 at 04:52 PM
These comments are almost as interesting as the article!
Mary McGrath October 23, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Glad you're enjoying Barbara, and now, let's continue the banter with the Giants and the Tigers are going to the World Series! Should be fun. Any predictions out there?
Mark Hussey October 24, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Well, I for one would like to predict that in tomorrow night's opener, the Tigers can roar all they want, but the Giant's will win 5-3. The Giants will say stuff like, "fee-fie-fo-fum" and other crazy Giants' jargon. And the Tigers will be intimidated, and feel like little pussy cats, wishing they were back in Detroit with their mommies. (I am writing this, btw, mainly for the entertainment of Barbara. And Mike, I reckon.) Hey Mary, do you remember the movie Naked Gun? There was a scene at a major league park where they staged an actual tiger sliding into 2nd base? Hysterically funny, not kidding.
Mary McGrath October 24, 2012 at 11:40 AM
I don't recall that scene in the movie, but I do recall the flick. Doubt it was Eddie Mayo though...He would have been too busy playing golf by that time...
Mark Hussey October 25, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Hey DON'T I GET ANY CREDIT FOR MY PREDICTION? I had the "tone" of the game right, I had the winner, and I had the run total of the loser!! All I had wrong was the run total of the winner! Please talk to Mike S, Mary and ask him if I can at least get a sawbuck for providing a very on-target handicapping of the first game of World Series 2012. Any of his wagering Patch readers could have made a bundle by going with my pick. Also, I checked the imdb.com site for casting details of NAKED GUN. Of course this was yet another crazy spoof movie starring Leslie Nielson, that very funny guy--RIP. NO, Eddie Mayo was NOT in this movie at all, sorry to say. Besides I said that a REAL tiger slid into 2nd base in this movie! Not a human pretending to be a tiger, or someone in costume. According to the imdb archives, the tiger's name was Tony.
Mary McGrath October 25, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I think you should open a side business as a psychic Mark. I know you'll make millions! We saw a bit of the game and I assumed the Giants would win as well. Loved Leslie Nielson...those Airplane movies were a riot!
David W. Abbott October 29, 2012 at 06:48 PM
This takes me way back. Last night I was watching the Giants/Tigers game (No. 4) and a bunch of old and faded memories came flooding back (both on the Tigers and Giants side). Then when I googled Eddie Mayo and saw your article it all started to click. Ya see - I grew up in the 1960s in Natick, MA; Eddie, your aunt, and family were our next door neighbors. John and I were the same age, best of buds, and went to the same schools. We were a very close neighborhood living on the shores of Lake Cochituate. Since 1986 I have lived iin Oakland, CA. I remember Eddie as being so good to us kids. Good article - I do remember that Eddie married his sister-in-law. David Abbott
Mary McGrath October 29, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Hi David! Thanks again for sharing your wonderful memories with the Patch readers. Wow, I'd love to hear some personal stories about what it was like growing up next to Eddie Mayo! Do share!

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