M110 Bat Model

Eddie Malone, 85; Major Leaguer Created Popular Baseball Bat

June 08, 2006|Gary Klein | Times Staff Writer


Eddie Malone, a former major league and Pacific Coast League baseball player who designed one of the sport's most popular bats, has died. He was 85.

Malone died June 1 at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills after a long battle with a respiratory illness, his family said.

A scrappy 5-foot-10-inch, 175-pound catcher, Malone played for the Chicago White Sox in 1949 and 1950, but he probably was best known for his years with the Los Angeles Angels and the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League.

Malone's best season was 1949, when he batted .341 for the Angels and was then purchased by the White Sox. He hit .271 with a home run and 16 runs batted in for Chicago in 55 games in 1949 and batted .225 in 31 games in 1950.

"He was a tough guy, an ironman kind of catcher and a good guy," said Dick Beverage, president of the Pacific Coast League Historical Society. "He had a catcher's grip, a handshake that was strong, and you remembered it."

Malone is credited with helping to design Hillerich & Bradsby's Louisville Slugger M110 model baseball bat. The M stands for Malone. The number indicates he was the 110th player whose last name begins with M to develop his own bat model.

The bat, which has a medium-size handle and barrel, and a fairly large knob, was used by New York Yankee slugger Mickey Mantle and remains one of the company's most popular models with major league players, said Chuck Schupp, who runs Hillerich and Bradsby's pro bat division.

Edward Russell Malone was born June 16, 1920, in Chicago. He attended Washington High School in Los Angeles and began his professional baseball career in 1938 with Albuquerque, the St. Louis Cardinals' affiliate in the Class D Arizona-Texas League.

Malone played a season at Pocatello, Idaho, and two in Asheville, N.C., before arriving at Duluth, Minn., in 1941. The next season, he again played at Duluth and doubled as the team's manager, at age 22. He served in the Navy during World War II and then resumed his baseball career.

Malone played for the Angels for 2 1/2 seasons before making his major league debut. He finished his career in 1954 after three-plus seasons with the Hollywood Stars. He worked as a car salesman during the off-season and opened a car dealership in Fontana after he retired as a player.

Malone, who had lived in Laguna Hills since 1985, is survived by three daughters: Judy Edwards, Carole Nelson and Gail Ross; six grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and companion Kim Kever.

"Baseball was always a big part of his life," Carole Nelson said. "The camaraderie he felt on a team was something that was important to him his whole life."