Ed Sadowski was born on January 19, 1931, in Pittsburgh. He attended St Johnís Lyceum High School, where he excelled on Lyceumís baseball diamond. He was skilled enough to receive a scholarship offer from the University of Notre Dame, but accepted a scholarship to study engineering at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (later Carnegie-Mellon University).

After one year of college, Ed left school to pursue a professional baseball career. In 1950 he signed on with the independent Radford (Virginia) Rockets of the Class D Blue Ridge League, beginning his decade-long journey through the minors.

The following year, he was acquired by the Boston Red Sox organization and was assigned to the Marion (Ohio) Red Sox of the Class D Ohio-Indiana League. The young catcher had an excellent season at the plate for Marion in 1951, batting .308. Over the next few seasons, his minor-league career stagnated, as during the 1952 and 1953 seasons, the Red Sox reassigned him six times. 

Ed was in military service during the 1954 and 1955 seasons and returned to baseball in 1956 with the Red Sox-affiliated San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League. He continued to platoon catching duties with future Sox teammate, Haywood Sullivan, for the Seals in 1957.

In 1958 the Red Sox assigned Ed to the Minneapolis Millers of the Triple-A American Association. He performed well as the starting catcher for the Millers in 1958 and 1959 and was named an American Association All-Star, both seasons. 

He made his major-league debut for the Red Sox in April 1960 as a defensive replacement for an injured Haywood Sullivan. He spent the first half of the 1960 season on the Red Sox roster, backing up  Russ Nixon. Ed was assigned the number 8, making him the last Red Sox player to wear that number before  Carl Yastrzemski retired it. The right-handed-hitting catcher started primarily against left-handed pitchers. He played in 38 games, hitting .215 with 3 home runs and 8 RBIs. In July the Red Sox sent him back to the minors, loaning him to the Los Angeles Dodgers Triple-A affiliate, the Spokane Indians of the Pacific Coast League, for the remainder of the season.

In December 1960, the Los Angeles Angels made Ed their 11th selection in the American League expansion draft. He failed to secure the job during spring training. He was on the Angelsí roster when the season started, but was optioned in early May to the Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers of the Triple-A American Association. He was recalled by Los Angeles at the end of May spending the lionís share of the season as the backup, playing in 69 games and catching in 56 of them. 

Ed fell to third on the Angelsí depth chart in 1962 because the Angels made a concerted effort to add youth to their roster, and he was 31. He played in only 27 games that season, but in 1963, he figured more prominently in the Angelsí catching platoon, serving as the primary backup for the whole season. But he hit .172 with 4 home runs.

In 1964 the Angels assigned Ed to Triple-A Hawaii. After the season, the Milwaukee Braves acquired him from the Angels and assigned him to their International League affiliate in Atlanta, where he spent 1965 as the backup catcher. When the major-league Braves replaced the Crackers in 1966, he was sent to the Bravesí Triple-A club as it shifted to Richmond, Virginia, where he again was a reserve catcher.

Near the end of their inaugural season in Atlanta, the Braves called up Ed. He played in the Bravesí last three games of the season and caught the final game of the Bravesí season, a 4-2 victory over the Reds. It was his final major-league appearance. Released after the season, Ed retired as a player.

He next spent three seasons in the Montreal Expos organization. In 1969 he coached for the Sarasota Expos of the Class A Florida Rookie League. In 1970 he worked as a roving pitching coach, and in 1971 he managed Jamestown (New York) Falcons of the short-season New York-Penn League.

After the 1971 season, Ed left professional baseball. He worked for many years as a physical-education teacher at Catholic schools in Orange County, including Saint Anne School in Santa Ana and St. Columbanís School in Garden Grove.

Ed Sadowski contracted "Lou Gehrig's Disease" and after a long battle, died in Garden Grove, California, on November 6, 1993, at age 62.