Happy Birthday, Yaz!

Minneapolis Millers

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My son's birthday is also today. About a week after he was born, I belatedly realized it was Yaz's birthday. And I didn't name him Yaz.

One of my biggest misses and regrets.

Happy 82nd, #8.
 

Just a bit outside

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https://theathletic.com/2783559/2021/08/22/on-his-82nd-birthday-a-celebration-of-carl-yastrzemskis-living-legacy-in-red-sox-history/

On the day he turned 22, Carl Yastrzemski had four hits against the Washington Senators. It was something of a turning point in his career.

Up to that point, Yastrzemski was a Red Sox rookie replacing a Red Sox legend, and he’d had done little to suggest he was a fitting heir to the Ted Williams legacy. Through Yastrzemski’s first 115 big-league games, he’d hit just .248 with modest power. Manager Pinky Higgins had occasionally dropped him to eighth in the order.

“In my first year, I started off very slow,” Yastrzemski once said. “I actually think that was on account of Ted. I was trying to emulate him.”

Those four hits on his birthday, though, spurred a tremendous finish to Yastrzemski’s rookie season and set his career in motion. He hit .321 and slugged .521 the rest of the way in 1961. Two years later, he was an All-Star. Four years after that, he was the MVP of the Impossible Dream season. Twenty-two years after that, he was elected to Cooperstown.

The article goes on to talk about how Cy Young, Ted Williams, And Yaz are the only 3 players to be considered the greatest living Red Sox.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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My son's birthday is also today. About a week after he was born, I belatedly realized it was Yaz's birthday. And I didn't name him Yaz.

One of my biggest misses and regrets.

Happy 82nd, #8.
Also my son’s birthday! And I had the goddamned date circled on the calendar as soon as we learned Mrs Mugsy was with child.

When I was around 9, I sent Yaz a birthday card every year for a while. Sadly, he didn’t reciprocate, despite my telling him over and over I was born on march 23.
 

54thMA

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Happy birthday Yaz, my all time favorite Red Sox player, I idolized him as a kid, did my best to copy his batting stance as a fellow lefty.

Will always fondly remember his catch on April 14th, 1967 on Tom Tresh to keep the Billy Rohr no hitter going in the 9th inning.

That catch at the old Yankee stadium and Fred Lynn's catch in the first game of a double header at Shea Stadium in 1975 vs the Yankees are the two greatest catches for me personally in Red Sox history, the Evans catch in the 1975 WS is the third of the holy trinity for me.

It will always sadden me the Red Sox never won a WS with Yaz on the team.

View: https://youtu.be/sA7FFW15uIw
 
Last edited:

E5 Yaz

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The article goes on to talk about how Cy Young, Ted Williams, And Yaz are the only 3 players to be considered the greatest living Red Sox.
phrasing

It does raise the eventual question, though ... Pedro? Papi? Punto? Fisk?
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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It does raise the eventual question, though ... Pedro? Papi? Punto? Fisk?
It’s Pedro. With all due respect to #9, I’ve thought that since the All Star Game in 1999.

Boggs and Dewey lead Papi in WAR, but I’ll give the nod to Papi for the three rings and the unforgettable hits. Boggs is someone who I never appreciated. Scott Cooper is the first Sox third baseman I can remember, and I’ll always remember Boggs riding that horse at the Toilet. That alone ought to disqualify him, but he makes a statistically compelling case.
 

Wolong51

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Oct 24, 2020
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Thought I would add a thought here.
Started following the Red Sox as a New England kid in the Dave Morehead/Jerry Stevenson season of 1966. Adored and idolized Yaz all through my youth.
Having said that, the greatest Red Sox players of my lifetime are Pedro and David Ortiz. Nothing Yaz did equaled the singular joy of 2004.
 

Bergs

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Yaz will be the greatest living Red Sox player until Yaz decides to die. His peak is SO FUCKING UNDERRATED because people only think of it as '67. He was an absloute monster.

Edit: And I fucking ADORE Papi and Pedro. ADORE THEM! But Yaz was one of the best 5 players in baseball for half a decade. That is not a claim either Pedro or Papi can make.
 

Sin Duda

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When I was around 9, I sent Yaz a birthday card every year for a while. Sadly, he didn’t reciprocate, despite my telling him over and over I was born on march 23.
When I learned at 14 ('75 season) that Yaz and I shared August 22 as our birthday, I sent him a card and actually got a 3x5 mimeographed photo back, including signature (not a real sig but a copied one). That was good enough for a HS freshman.
 

Flynn4ever

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When I was 11, I traveled to Sacramento where my uncle was a reporter for the Sacramento Union. He brought me into the paper late at night, pulled up the APor UPI (I can't remember) feed of the Sox game that night. Yaz did something good (double I think) and my uncle replaced Yaz's name with mine and printed it out. I thought I was going out in all the papers1 Nope.
 

phenweigh

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Yaz will be the greatest living Red Sox player until Yaz decides to die. His peak is SO FUCKING UNDERRATED because people only think of it as '67. He was an absloute monster.

Edit: And I fucking ADORE Papi and Pedro. ADORE THEM! But Yaz was one of the best 5 players in baseball for half a decade. That is not a claim either Pedro or Papi can make.
I agree that Yaz and his peak are much more than 1967, but that year does stand out. By baseball reference WAR, only Babe Ruth had a better season.

Also, today is Mike Yastrzemski's birthday.
 

Bread of Yaz

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I agree that Yaz and his peak are much more than 1967, but that year does stand out. By baseball reference WAR, only Babe Ruth had a better season.


This. Those who lived through it will, I think, attest to how different it was than anything that came afterwards. Partly how poor the team was in the years before, partly the large number of teams in the race, partly just how beastly he was day in, day out, both with the stick but also in the field.
 

Was (Not Wasdin)

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Yaz will be the greatest living Red Sox player until Yaz decides to die. His peak is SO FUCKING UNDERRATED because people only think of it as '67. He was an absloute monster.

Edit: And I fucking ADORE Papi and Pedro. ADORE THEM! But Yaz was one of the best 5 players in baseball for half a decade. That is not a claim either Pedro or Papi can make.
I agree that Yaz and his peak are much more than 1967, but that year does stand out. By baseball reference WAR, only Babe Ruth had a better season.

Also, today is Mike Yastrzemski's birthday.
In the history of baseball, there are only five (5) single seasons where a position player had a B-Ref WAR of 12.0 or better. Babe Ruth has the three highest, and then comes Yaz's 1967 at 12.4 (Hornsby's 1924 season at 12.2 is the only other one over 12.0). Yaz led the league (by a pretty good margin) in WAR in both 68 and 70, didnt win MVP either year even though he was clearly the best player. Yaz' B-Ref page has a shit-ton of black ink on it from 1963-1970.
 

The Talented Allen Ripley

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Hiding behind Yaz's double-knits, cored-out earflap and lazy wrist twirl was the harsh reality that man is mortal and everything is going to end.

His immediate predecessor, Ted Williams, lived some kind of charmed life where he could accomplish whatever he wanted to through the sheer force of being Ted. He was a 6’ 3” live wire, a bulldog Picasso or Hemingway with a bat. Yaz? He was you or me, some guy who wouldn’t get two glances on the street, but was somehow able to push himself to the very limits of what he could do and live out there in that ether for 23 years. If Ted Williams was Superman, some freakish alien life form given powers by the yellow sun, then Carl Yastrzemski was Batman, a human residing on the edge of his own capabilities because that is what he was driven to do. Williams left us by hitting a home run in his last at-bat, still lifting that car as effortlessly as he did on the cover of Action Comics #1. Yaz, on the other hand, bore the visible scars of battle, ones dealt not only by foes on the diamond but by time itself. And because of this we identified with him all the more.

I was 12 during Yaz's last season, when his Batman avatar began to pixellate and break down, a marker of the passage of time, leaving me to wonder what rooting for the Red Sox would be like without him. At that tender age, my fanhood was based solely on the identification with the players. The laundry hadn’t really come into focus yet because the turnover rate in my short window of rooting for the Sox was minimal; I was too young and disconnected to feel the pain of Tiant and Lee leaving, and only impotently aware of Lynn’s and Fisk’s departures. What else was there but to root for this man who had embodied not only being a Red Sox, but also represented the honor bestowed in the fight itself, as opposed to the outcome?

The funny thing is that for all my anxiety over Yaz’s impending retirement, it wasn’t like I was seeing anything remotely resembling his prime, as if I knew what I’d be missing. It’s just that he had Always Been There. Not just for me, but for my father. Particularly for my father. This worrying about my father’s feelings about any outside developments whatsoever was a shaky new concept. He had been a sophomore in high school the spring that Yastrzemski made his debut, for Chrissakes, surely some bell must have been tolling in his consciousness: if #8 was getting too old to hack it, then maybe so was my Dad. Which meant so would I at some point down the road. These aren’t things you want to think about when you’re 12.

Yaz occupies a curious spot in the Red Sox pantheon. A first ballot Hall of Famer who may have been an accumulator more than anything else. Owner of a Triple Crown and a multiple Gold Glove winner, but a reclusive and somewhat aloof person who did little off the field to endear himself to the fandom. Very few kids my age even liked him during his playing days, as they thought he was some old fart whose presence was somewhat comical in contrast to that of Lynn and Rice, and later on, Evans. You look at some of his years and it’s not surprising, these sentiments: .254 with 15 home runs in 1971? .264 with 12 home runs in 1972? His late-career renaissance perhaps coincided with the position change to first base, or with the rising fortunes of the team after its post-’67 doldrums, but as the ’70s progressed he became a cagey veteran. Mortal or not, no man was more fearless and determined once he put on that uniform. He was the original Dirt Dog.

The Yaz story that most defines him for me is one from the last-gasp winning streak at the end of the ’78 season which ultimately forced a one game playoff with the Yankees. On Sunday, September 24th, one game into said winning streak, the Sox had forced the Blue Jays into extra innings at Exhibition Stadium. Balor Moore had been pitching for 2+ innings, and in the top of the 12th Moore struck out Rice to bring Yastrzemski to the plate. Moore got a little cute and sailed a fastball up and in on Yaz, who sprawled to the ground to avoid being hit. He got up, slowly collecting himself, and stood in the batter’s box awaiting the next pitch, which he promptly launched for a triple. Blue Jays manager Roy Hartsfield yanked Moore from the game, and once they got to the dugout he dressed him down: “Pitching to Yaz is like being in a gunfight, only if you miss with yours, he never misses with his.”

Yet for all of that, he never won a ring, and to add insult to injury, he made the last outs of the ’75 and ’78 seasons, both with the Sox behind by a mere run (and in the case of ’78, with Remy on third).

The Kid had the same “didn’t win it all” collar around his neck (and had lesser numbers in what would be considered the “clutch” times during his career), but he is not cast in the same light. To me, Ted was Zeus, hurling lightning bolts from on high. Yaz? He was Sisyphus. I learned about the myth of Sisyphus in 11th grade English and I immediately thought of Yaz. Then I extrapolated it out to simply being a Red Sox fan. But then again, none of us were actually rolling that rock up the hill. Yaz was.

In John Updike’s famous essay “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,” he sums up Ted quite nicely as he observed that Ted didn’t tip his cap after his career-ending clout, despite the impassioned pleas of the few thousand who were in the stands that day: “Gods do not answer letters.”

On the other hand, Yaz took a lap around Fenway Park the day before his last game, exchanging high-fives and handshakes with anyone lucky enough to be sitting in the first few rows. A far more stoic man than Ted ever was, he nonetheless placed himself into the open palms of Boston and said, “This is what I can offer you as thanks.” On his last day, as he walked off the field for one last time after being pulled during the top of the 9th, he unbuttoned his jersey and gave it to a boy in the front row behind the dugout before he descended down the steps for good. Carl Yastrzemski was not Superman or Zeus. But he showed us that a man battling against that which limits him — whether it was his own physical attributes or the unyielding opponent of time itself — is as compelling as any myth, while displaying an honor that was actually earned.

 

worm0082

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Not to nitpick and maybe I’m wrong but I thought he tossed his hat into the crowd not his jersey.
 

jmcc5400

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Balor Moore had been pitching for 2+ innings, and in the top of the 12th Moore struck out Rice to bring Yastrzemski to the plate. Moore got a little cute and sailed a fastball up and in on Yaz, who sprawled to the ground to avoid being hit. He got up, slowly collecting himself, and stood in the batter’s box awaiting the next pitch, which he promptly launched for a triple. Blue Jays manager Roy Hartsfield yanked Moore from the game, and once they got to the dugout he dressed him down: “Pitching to Yaz is like being in a gunfight, only if you miss with yours, he never misses with his.”
That's one of my enduring memories of Yaz. Whenever he got brushed back, my dad would say "watch this." And you would see Yaz dust himself off slowly, glare out at the mound, reset himself in the box and invariably, it seemed, hit a rocket.
 

SoxVindaloo

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Happy birthday Yaz, my all time favorite Red Sox player, I idolized him as a kid, did my best to copy his batting stance as a fellow lefty.

Will always fondly remember his catch on April 14th, 1967 on Tom Tresh to keep the Billy Rohr no hitter going in the 9th inning.

That catch at the old Yankee stadium and Fred Lynn's catch in the first game of a double header at Shea Stadium in 1975 vs the Yankees are the two greatest catches for me personally in Red Sox history, the Evans catch in the 1975 WS is the third of the holy trinity for me.

It will always sadden me the Red Sox never won a WS with Yaz on the team.

View: https://youtu.be/sA7FFW15uIw
HBD Captain Carl! I switched to Lefty and had the bat way above my ears to emulate #8s late career stance in my 5th grade Little league.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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Hiding behind Yaz's double-knits, cored-out earflap and lazy wrist twirl was the harsh reality that man is mortal and everything is going to end.

His immediate predecessor, Ted Williams, lived some kind of charmed life where he could accomplish whatever he wanted to through the sheer force of being Ted. He was a 6’ 3” live wire, a bulldog Picasso or Hemingway with a bat. Yaz? He was you or me, some guy who wouldn’t get two glances on the street, but was somehow able to push himself to the very limits of what he could do and live out there in that ether for 23 years. If Ted Williams was Superman, some freakish alien life form given powers by the yellow sun, then Carl Yastrzemski was Batman, a human residing on the edge of his own capabilities because that is what he was driven to do. Williams left us by hitting a home run in his last at-bat, still lifting that car as effortlessly as he did on the cover of Action Comics #1. Yaz, on the other hand, bore the visible scars of battle, ones dealt not only by foes on the diamond but by time itself. And because of this we identified with him all the more.

I was 12 during Yaz's last season, when his Batman avatar began to pixellate and break down, a marker of the passage of time, leaving me to wonder what rooting for the Red Sox would be like without him. At that tender age, my fanhood was based solely on the identification with the players. The laundry hadn’t really come into focus yet because the turnover rate in my short window of rooting for the Sox was minimal; I was too young and disconnected to feel the pain of Tiant and Lee leaving, and only impotently aware of Lynn’s and Fisk’s departures. What else was there but to root for this man who had embodied not only being a Red Sox, but also represented the honor bestowed in the fight itself, as opposed to the outcome?

The funny thing is that for all my anxiety over Yaz’s impending retirement, it wasn’t like I was seeing anything remotely resembling his prime, as if I knew what I’d be missing. It’s just that he had Always Been There. Not just for me, but for my father. Particularly for my father. This worrying about my father’s feelings about any outside developments whatsoever was a shaky new concept. He had been a sophomore in high school the spring that Yastrzemski made his debut, for Chrissakes, surely some bell must have been tolling in his consciousness: if #8 was getting too old to hack it, then maybe so was my Dad. Which meant so would I at some point down the road. These aren’t things you want to think about when you’re 12.

Yaz occupies a curious spot in the Red Sox pantheon. A first ballot Hall of Famer who may have been an accumulator more than anything else. Owner of a Triple Crown and a multiple Gold Glove winner, but a reclusive and somewhat aloof person who did little off the field to endear himself to the fandom. Very few kids my age even liked him during his playing days, as they thought he was some old fart whose presence was somewhat comical in contrast to that of Lynn and Rice, and later on, Evans. You look at some of his years and it’s not surprising, these sentiments: .254 with 15 home runs in 1971? .264 with 12 home runs in 1972? His late-career renaissance perhaps coincided with the position change to first base, or with the rising fortunes of the team after its post-’67 doldrums, but as the ’70s progressed he became a cagey veteran. Mortal or not, no man was more fearless and determined once he put on that uniform. He was the original Dirt Dog.

The Yaz story that most defines him for me is one from the last-gasp winning streak at the end of the ’78 season which ultimately forced a one game playoff with the Yankees. On Sunday, September 24th, one game into said winning streak, the Sox had forced the Blue Jays into extra innings at Exhibition Stadium. Balor Moore had been pitching for 2+ innings, and in the top of the 12th Moore struck out Rice to bring Yastrzemski to the plate. Moore got a little cute and sailed a fastball up and in on Yaz, who sprawled to the ground to avoid being hit. He got up, slowly collecting himself, and stood in the batter’s box awaiting the next pitch, which he promptly launched for a triple. Blue Jays manager Roy Hartsfield yanked Moore from the game, and once they got to the dugout he dressed him down: “Pitching to Yaz is like being in a gunfight, only if you miss with yours, he never misses with his.”

Yet for all of that, he never won a ring, and to add insult to injury, he made the last outs of the ’75 and ’78 seasons, both with the Sox behind by a mere run (and in the case of ’78, with Remy on third).

The Kid had the same “didn’t win it all” collar around his neck (and had lesser numbers in what would be considered the “clutch” times during his career), but he is not cast in the same light. To me, Ted was Zeus, hurling lightning bolts from on high. Yaz? He was Sisyphus. I learned about the myth of Sisyphus in 11th grade English and I immediately thought of Yaz. Then I extrapolated it out to simply being a Red Sox fan. But then again, none of us were actually rolling that rock up the hill. Yaz was.

In John Updike’s famous essay “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,” he sums up Ted quite nicely as he observed that Ted didn’t tip his cap after his career-ending clout, despite the impassioned pleas of the few thousand who were in the stands that day: “Gods do not answer letters.”

On the other hand, Yaz took a lap around Fenway Park the day before his last game, exchanging high-fives and handshakes with anyone lucky enough to be sitting in the first few rows. A far more stoic man than Ted ever was, he nonetheless placed himself into the open palms of Boston and said, “This is what I can offer you as thanks.” On his last day, as he walked off the field for one last time after being pulled during the top of the 9th, he unbuttoned his jersey and gave it to a boy in the front row behind the dugout before he descended down the steps for good. Carl Yastrzemski was not Superman or Zeus. But he showed us that a man battling against that which limits him — whether it was his own physical attributes or the unyielding opponent of time itself — is as compelling as any myth, while displaying an honor that was actually earned.

Incredible... thanks very much. Choked up...
 

Mugsy's Jock

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You're wrong.
I think you're both right. Yaz took off his jersey during the first lap around the park and handed it to a boy... then came out again later with a blue warm-up jacket on over his t-shirt when he did another lap and tossed his cap to a different kid in the lower boxes.

Edit: Too bad we didn't see a third lap, or some kid may have come away with a pair of pants.
 

SoxVindaloo

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Hiding behind Yaz's double-knits, cored-out earflap and lazy wrist twirl was the harsh reality that man is mortal and everything is going to end.

His immediate predecessor, Ted Williams, lived some kind of charmed life where he could accomplish whatever he wanted to through the sheer force of being Ted. He was a 6’ 3” live wire, a bulldog Picasso or Hemingway with a bat. Yaz? He was you or me, some guy who wouldn’t get two glances on the street, but was somehow able to push himself to the very limits of what he could do and live out there in that ether for 23 years. If Ted Williams was Superman, some freakish alien life form given powers by the yellow sun, then Carl Yastrzemski was Batman, a human residing on the edge of his own capabilities because that is what he was driven to do. Williams left us by hitting a home run in his last at-bat, still lifting that car as effortlessly as he did on the cover of Action Comics #1. Yaz, on the other hand, bore the visible scars of battle, ones dealt not only by foes on the diamond but by time itself. And because of this we identified with him all the more.

I was 12 during Yaz's last season, when his Batman avatar began to pixellate and break down, a marker of the passage of time, leaving me to wonder what rooting for the Red Sox would be like without him. At that tender age, my fanhood was based solely on the identification with the players. The laundry hadn’t really come into focus yet because the turnover rate in my short window of rooting for the Sox was minimal; I was too young and disconnected to feel the pain of Tiant and Lee leaving, and only impotently aware of Lynn’s and Fisk’s departures. What else was there but to root for this man who had embodied not only being a Red Sox, but also represented the honor bestowed in the fight itself, as opposed to the outcome?

The funny thing is that for all my anxiety over Yaz’s impending retirement, it wasn’t like I was seeing anything remotely resembling his prime, as if I knew what I’d be missing. It’s just that he had Always Been There. Not just for me, but for my father. Particularly for my father. This worrying about my father’s feelings about any outside developments whatsoever was a shaky new concept. He had been a sophomore in high school the spring that Yastrzemski made his debut, for Chrissakes, surely some bell must have been tolling in his consciousness: if #8 was getting too old to hack it, then maybe so was my Dad. Which meant so would I at some point down the road. These aren’t things you want to think about when you’re 12.

Yaz occupies a curious spot in the Red Sox pantheon. A first ballot Hall of Famer who may have been an accumulator more than anything else. Owner of a Triple Crown and a multiple Gold Glove winner, but a reclusive and somewhat aloof person who did little off the field to endear himself to the fandom. Very few kids my age even liked him during his playing days, as they thought he was some old fart whose presence was somewhat comical in contrast to that of Lynn and Rice, and later on, Evans. You look at some of his years and it’s not surprising, these sentiments: .254 with 15 home runs in 1971? .264 with 12 home runs in 1972? His late-career renaissance perhaps coincided with the position change to first base, or with the rising fortunes of the team after its post-’67 doldrums, but as the ’70s progressed he became a cagey veteran. Mortal or not, no man was more fearless and determined once he put on that uniform. He was the original Dirt Dog.

The Yaz story that most defines him for me is one from the last-gasp winning streak at the end of the ’78 season which ultimately forced a one game playoff with the Yankees. On Sunday, September 24th, one game into said winning streak, the Sox had forced the Blue Jays into extra innings at Exhibition Stadium. Balor Moore had been pitching for 2+ innings, and in the top of the 12th Moore struck out Rice to bring Yastrzemski to the plate. Moore got a little cute and sailed a fastball up and in on Yaz, who sprawled to the ground to avoid being hit. He got up, slowly collecting himself, and stood in the batter’s box awaiting the next pitch, which he promptly launched for a triple. Blue Jays manager Roy Hartsfield yanked Moore from the game, and once they got to the dugout he dressed him down: “Pitching to Yaz is like being in a gunfight, only if you miss with yours, he never misses with his.”

Yet for all of that, he never won a ring, and to add insult to injury, he made the last outs of the ’75 and ’78 seasons, both with the Sox behind by a mere run (and in the case of ’78, with Remy on third).

The Kid had the same “didn’t win it all” collar around his neck (and had lesser numbers in what would be considered the “clutch” times during his career), but he is not cast in the same light. To me, Ted was Zeus, hurling lightning bolts from on high. Yaz? He was Sisyphus. I learned about the myth of Sisyphus in 11th grade English and I immediately thought of Yaz. Then I extrapolated it out to simply being a Red Sox fan. But then again, none of us were actually rolling that rock up the hill. Yaz was.

In John Updike’s famous essay “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,” he sums up Ted quite nicely as he observed that Ted didn’t tip his cap after his career-ending clout, despite the impassioned pleas of the few thousand who were in the stands that day: “Gods do not answer letters.”

On the other hand, Yaz took a lap around Fenway Park the day before his last game, exchanging high-fives and handshakes with anyone lucky enough to be sitting in the first few rows. A far more stoic man than Ted ever was, he nonetheless placed himself into the open palms of Boston and said, “This is what I can offer you as thanks.” On his last day, as he walked off the field for one last time after being pulled during the top of the 9th, he unbuttoned his jersey and gave it to a boy in the front row behind the dugout before he descended down the steps for good. Carl Yastrzemski was not Superman or Zeus. But he showed us that a man battling against that which limits him — whether it was his own physical attributes or the unyielding opponent of time itself — is as compelling as any myth, while displaying an honor that was actually earned.

Beautiful post and amazing artwork as well TAMR. You capture so well the power of Yaz for those of us who came late to the party and missed his Glory days.
 

nighthob

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Yaz will be the greatest living Red Sox player until Yaz decides to die. His peak is SO FUCKING UNDERRATED because people only think of it as '67. He was an absloute monster.

Edit: And I fucking ADORE Papi and Pedro. ADORE THEM! But Yaz was one of the best 5 players in baseball for half a decade. That is not a claim either Pedro or Papi can make.
You’ll find no greater Yaz fanboy than me, but with all due respect Pedro was one of the five best pitchers in baseball history for half a decade. He was posting deadball era pitching lines at the height of the steroid era. He was every bit as absurd as Yaz’s ‘67 season.
 

Harry Hooper

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Am I remembering it wrong, or didn't Yaz do the lap around the field in both games of his last weekend?
 

Bergs

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You’ll find no greater Yaz fanboy than me, but with all due respect Pedro was one of the five best pitchers in baseball history for half a decade. He was posting deadball era pitching lines at the height of the steroid era. He was every bit as absurd as Yaz’s ‘67 season.
Fair enough.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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You’ll find no greater Yaz fanboy than me, but with all due respect Pedro was one of the five best pitchers in baseball history for half a decade. He was posting deadball era pitching lines at the height of the steroid era. He was every bit as absurd as Yaz’s ‘67 season.
True, but the point was greatest LIVING Red Sox.

Pedro's not merely living, he's existing on some higher plane.
 

nighthob

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Jul 15, 2005
11,711
True, but the point was greatest LIVING Red Sox.

Pedro's not merely living, he's existing on some higher plane.
The thing with Pedro is what would he have looked like if he had been pitching in post-Maris conditions? (i.e. the raised pitching mound)
 

SoxJox

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2003
5,366
Rock > SoxJox < Hard Place
I would imagine the raised mound provided a relatively greater advantage for "taller" pitcher due to a longer stride and greater height dropped by the forward foot. Everyone points to Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA during the 1968 season as the principal motivation to lower the mound from 15 to 10 inches for the 1969 season) of course, this was combined with shrinking the strike zone to the top of the knees to the armpit (rather than shoulders and knees). But there were other reasons:

  • Seven starters that year had an ERA under 2.00
  • Carl Yastrzemski won the batting title ... with a .301 average. It wasn't unusual for Yaz to win a batting title. After all, including '68, he won three of them in his career and was coming off the title in 1967 when he hit .326. Not only was Yastrzemski's .301 average the lowest ever for a batting title winner, but he won the AL title by 11 points over Danny Cater. While Pete Rose won in the NL with a .335 average, he was one of the few exceptions. The Majors set the record for the lowest-ever batting average (.237) and second-lowest on-base percentage (.299, two points behind 1908).
  • Entire teams couldn't hit: Seven teams hit .230 or lower. The Yankees, as a team, hit just .214. Mickey Mantle, in his final season, led the team with a 143 OPS+, but hit just .237/.385/.398 as a 36-year-old first baseman. The White Sox scored a meager 2.86 runs per game, with only one player reaching double-digit home runs: third baseman Pete Ward. And while he knocked out 15 homers, he also hit .216/.354/.366. The Dodgers and Mets weren't much better, averaging just 2.90 runs per game.
Of note also, Gibson's second lowest career ERA was 2.18.

In any case, I doubt the 2-inch difference in height from Gibson's 6'1" to Pedro's 5'11" would make that much of a difference. Pedro would have still been great...because even under the conditions he pitched - post mound lowering, Gibson's 258 ERA+ ranks 6th behind, who you may ask? Pedro's 291, of course.


[TH]Rk[/TH] [TH]Player[/TH] [TH]Year[/TH] [TH]ERA+ [/TH] [TH]Age[/TH] [TH]Tm[/TH] [TH]IP[/TH] [TH]ERA[/TH]
1 Pedro Martinez 2000 291 28 BOS 217 1.74
2 Dutch Leonard 1914 282 22 BOS 224.2 0.96
3 Greg Maddux 1994 271 28 ATL 202 1.56
4 Greg Maddux 1995 260 29 ATL 209.2 1.63
5 Walter Johnson 1913 259 25 WSH 346 1.14
6 Bob Gibson 1968 258 32 STL 304.2 1.12


Sorry for drawing attention away from Yaz. Happy Birthday. Enjoy.
 

bankshot1

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 12, 2003
22,933
where I was last at
We may get confused by stats and comping players from different periods, but Yaz's 67 season was the single best year I've ever seen a position player have. He was just that much better than everyone else that year. The WAR score doesn't lie. The fucking guy was heroic.
 

twibnotes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
19,263
Yaz was my favorite player as a very young Sox fan, primarily bc he was a lefty handed hitter like I was, and I had a bat with his name on it.

This love resulted in my dad taking me to Yaz’s last game, an experience that contribute greatly to me becoming the diehard Sox fan I still am today 38 years later. I have the Yaz day poster they gave out framed in my basement.

Sports fandom is funny. If I never got that Louisville Slugger bat with the “Carl Yastrzemski” inscription, I probably don’t go to Yaz’s last game…and I’m not sure I’d be the hardcore fan I am today. That choice in the Dedham Toys R’ Us led to so much.
 

nighthob

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
11,711
I would imagine the raised mound provided a relatively greater advantage for "taller" pitcher due to a longer stride and greater height dropped by the forward foot. Everyone points to Bob Gibson's 1.12 ERA during the 1968 season as the principal motivation to lower the mound from 15 to 10 inches for the 1969 season) of course, this was combined with shrinking the strike zone to the top of the knees to the armpit (rather than shoulders and knees).

In any case, I doubt the 2-inch difference in height from Gibson's 6'1" to Pedro's 5'11" would make that much of a difference. Pedro would have still been great...because even under the conditions he pitched - post mound lowering, Gibson's 258 ERA+ ranks 6th behind, who you may ask? Pedro's 291, of course.[/SIZE]
That extra 5” of height combined with the bigger strike zone would have rendered Pedro unhittable.

Yaz was my favorite player as a very young Sox fan, primarily bc he was a lefty handed hitter like I was, and I had a bat with his name on it.

Sports fandom is funny. If I never got that Louisville Slugger bat with the “Carl Yastrzemski” inscription, I probably don’t go to Yaz’s last game…and I’m not sure I’d be the hardcore fan I am today. That choice in the Dedham Toys R’ Us led to so much.
Heh, I had that same bat.
 

Minneapolis Millers

Wants you to please think of the Twins fans!
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
4,462
Twin Cities
My older brother was the bat boy in the late 60s and, among other duties, would pick Yaz up from the airport, etc. when he needed to go places. As a youngster, I remember riding in Yaz's white Ford Thunderbird. Yaz wasn't in it (but remember, he owned at least one car dealership). Still... sweet car!
 

Zedia

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 17, 2005
5,998
Pasadena, CA
I hate Roger Clemens as much as the rest of you, but come on…

edit - I mean the “after Yaz“ discussion.
 
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BillLeesJumpShot

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
121
Williston
Hiding behind Yaz's double-knits, cored-out earflap and lazy wrist twirl was the harsh reality that man is mortal and everything is going to end.

His immediate predecessor, Ted Williams, lived some kind of charmed life where he could accomplish whatever he wanted to through the sheer force of being Ted. He was a 6’ 3” live wire, a bulldog Picasso or Hemingway with a bat. Yaz? He was you or me, some guy who wouldn’t get two glances on the street, but was somehow able to push himself to the very limits of what he could do and live out there in that ether for 23 years. If Ted Williams was Superman, some freakish alien life form given powers by the yellow sun, then Carl Yastrzemski was Batman, a human residing on the edge of his own capabilities because that is what he was driven to do. Williams left us by hitting a home run in his last at-bat, still lifting that car as effortlessly as he did on the cover of Action Comics #1. Yaz, on the other hand, bore the visible scars of battle, ones dealt not only by foes on the diamond but by time itself. And because of this we identified with him all the more.

I was 12 during Yaz's last season, when his Batman avatar began to pixellate and break down, a marker of the passage of time, leaving me to wonder what rooting for the Red Sox would be like without him. At that tender age, my fanhood was based solely on the identification with the players. The laundry hadn’t really come into focus yet because the turnover rate in my short window of rooting for the Sox was minimal; I was too young and disconnected to feel the pain of Tiant and Lee leaving, and only impotently aware of Lynn’s and Fisk’s departures. What else was there but to root for this man who had embodied not only being a Red Sox, but also represented the honor bestowed in the fight itself, as opposed to the outcome?

The funny thing is that for all my anxiety over Yaz’s impending retirement, it wasn’t like I was seeing anything remotely resembling his prime, as if I knew what I’d be missing. It’s just that he had Always Been There. Not just for me, but for my father. Particularly for my father. This worrying about my father’s feelings about any outside developments whatsoever was a shaky new concept. He had been a sophomore in high school the spring that Yastrzemski made his debut, for Chrissakes, surely some bell must have been tolling in his consciousness: if #8 was getting too old to hack it, then maybe so was my Dad. Which meant so would I at some point down the road. These aren’t things you want to think about when you’re 12.

Yaz occupies a curious spot in the Red Sox pantheon. A first ballot Hall of Famer who may have been an accumulator more than anything else. Owner of a Triple Crown and a multiple Gold Glove winner, but a reclusive and somewhat aloof person who did little off the field to endear himself to the fandom. Very few kids my age even liked him during his playing days, as they thought he was some old fart whose presence was somewhat comical in contrast to that of Lynn and Rice, and later on, Evans. You look at some of his years and it’s not surprising, these sentiments: .254 with 15 home runs in 1971? .264 with 12 home runs in 1972? His late-career renaissance perhaps coincided with the position change to first base, or with the rising fortunes of the team after its post-’67 doldrums, but as the ’70s progressed he became a cagey veteran. Mortal or not, no man was more fearless and determined once he put on that uniform. He was the original Dirt Dog.

The Yaz story that most defines him for me is one from the last-gasp winning streak at the end of the ’78 season which ultimately forced a one game playoff with the Yankees. On Sunday, September 24th, one game into said winning streak, the Sox had forced the Blue Jays into extra innings at Exhibition Stadium. Balor Moore had been pitching for 2+ innings, and in the top of the 12th Moore struck out Rice to bring Yastrzemski to the plate. Moore got a little cute and sailed a fastball up and in on Yaz, who sprawled to the ground to avoid being hit. He got up, slowly collecting himself, and stood in the batter’s box awaiting the next pitch, which he promptly launched for a triple. Blue Jays manager Roy Hartsfield yanked Moore from the game, and once they got to the dugout he dressed him down: “Pitching to Yaz is like being in a gunfight, only if you miss with yours, he never misses with his.”

Yet for all of that, he never won a ring, and to add insult to injury, he made the last outs of the ’75 and ’78 seasons, both with the Sox behind by a mere run (and in the case of ’78, with Remy on third).

The Kid had the same “didn’t win it all” collar around his neck (and had lesser numbers in what would be considered the “clutch” times during his career), but he is not cast in the same light. To me, Ted was Zeus, hurling lightning bolts from on high. Yaz? He was Sisyphus. I learned about the myth of Sisyphus in 11th grade English and I immediately thought of Yaz. Then I extrapolated it out to simply being a Red Sox fan. But then again, none of us were actually rolling that rock up the hill. Yaz was.

In John Updike’s famous essay “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,” he sums up Ted quite nicely as he observed that Ted didn’t tip his cap after his career-ending clout, despite the impassioned pleas of the few thousand who were in the stands that day: “Gods do not answer letters.”

On the other hand, Yaz took a lap around Fenway Park the day before his last game, exchanging high-fives and handshakes with anyone lucky enough to be sitting in the first few rows. A far more stoic man than Ted ever was, he nonetheless placed himself into the open palms of Boston and said, “This is what I can offer you as thanks.” On his last day, as he walked off the field for one last time after being pulled during the top of the 9th, he unbuttoned his jersey and gave it to a boy in the front row behind the dugout before he descended down the steps for good. Carl Yastrzemski was not Superman or Zeus. But he showed us that a man battling against that which limits him — whether it was his own physical attributes or the unyielding opponent of time itself — is as compelling as any myth, while displaying an honor that was actually earned.

That. Was. Epic.

Yaz made me a Sox Fan in 1967 and I too tried to emulate his stance in Babe Ruth League. This post and others made the room dusty as I read them.

Thank you.
 

Bergs

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 22, 2005
18,911
Hiding behind Yaz's double-knits, cored-out earflap and lazy wrist twirl was the harsh reality that man is mortal and everything is going to end.

His immediate predecessor, Ted Williams, lived some kind of charmed life where he could accomplish whatever he wanted to through the sheer force of being Ted. He was a 6’ 3” live wire, a bulldog Picasso or Hemingway with a bat. Yaz? He was you or me, some guy who wouldn’t get two glances on the street, but was somehow able to push himself to the very limits of what he could do and live out there in that ether for 23 years. If Ted Williams was Superman, some freakish alien life form given powers by the yellow sun, then Carl Yastrzemski was Batman, a human residing on the edge of his own capabilities because that is what he was driven to do. Williams left us by hitting a home run in his last at-bat, still lifting that car as effortlessly as he did on the cover of Action Comics #1. Yaz, on the other hand, bore the visible scars of battle, ones dealt not only by foes on the diamond but by time itself. And because of this we identified with him all the more.

I was 12 during Yaz's last season, when his Batman avatar began to pixellate and break down, a marker of the passage of time, leaving me to wonder what rooting for the Red Sox would be like without him. At that tender age, my fanhood was based solely on the identification with the players. The laundry hadn’t really come into focus yet because the turnover rate in my short window of rooting for the Sox was minimal; I was too young and disconnected to feel the pain of Tiant and Lee leaving, and only impotently aware of Lynn’s and Fisk’s departures. What else was there but to root for this man who had embodied not only being a Red Sox, but also represented the honor bestowed in the fight itself, as opposed to the outcome?

The funny thing is that for all my anxiety over Yaz’s impending retirement, it wasn’t like I was seeing anything remotely resembling his prime, as if I knew what I’d be missing. It’s just that he had Always Been There. Not just for me, but for my father. Particularly for my father. This worrying about my father’s feelings about any outside developments whatsoever was a shaky new concept. He had been a sophomore in high school the spring that Yastrzemski made his debut, for Chrissakes, surely some bell must have been tolling in his consciousness: if #8 was getting too old to hack it, then maybe so was my Dad. Which meant so would I at some point down the road. These aren’t things you want to think about when you’re 12.

Yaz occupies a curious spot in the Red Sox pantheon. A first ballot Hall of Famer who may have been an accumulator more than anything else. Owner of a Triple Crown and a multiple Gold Glove winner, but a reclusive and somewhat aloof person who did little off the field to endear himself to the fandom. Very few kids my age even liked him during his playing days, as they thought he was some old fart whose presence was somewhat comical in contrast to that of Lynn and Rice, and later on, Evans. You look at some of his years and it’s not surprising, these sentiments: .254 with 15 home runs in 1971? .264 with 12 home runs in 1972? His late-career renaissance perhaps coincided with the position change to first base, or with the rising fortunes of the team after its post-’67 doldrums, but as the ’70s progressed he became a cagey veteran. Mortal or not, no man was more fearless and determined once he put on that uniform. He was the original Dirt Dog.

The Yaz story that most defines him for me is one from the last-gasp winning streak at the end of the ’78 season which ultimately forced a one game playoff with the Yankees. On Sunday, September 24th, one game into said winning streak, the Sox had forced the Blue Jays into extra innings at Exhibition Stadium. Balor Moore had been pitching for 2+ innings, and in the top of the 12th Moore struck out Rice to bring Yastrzemski to the plate. Moore got a little cute and sailed a fastball up and in on Yaz, who sprawled to the ground to avoid being hit. He got up, slowly collecting himself, and stood in the batter’s box awaiting the next pitch, which he promptly launched for a triple. Blue Jays manager Roy Hartsfield yanked Moore from the game, and once they got to the dugout he dressed him down: “Pitching to Yaz is like being in a gunfight, only if you miss with yours, he never misses with his.”

Yet for all of that, he never won a ring, and to add insult to injury, he made the last outs of the ’75 and ’78 seasons, both with the Sox behind by a mere run (and in the case of ’78, with Remy on third).

The Kid had the same “didn’t win it all” collar around his neck (and had lesser numbers in what would be considered the “clutch” times during his career), but he is not cast in the same light. To me, Ted was Zeus, hurling lightning bolts from on high. Yaz? He was Sisyphus. I learned about the myth of Sisyphus in 11th grade English and I immediately thought of Yaz. Then I extrapolated it out to simply being a Red Sox fan. But then again, none of us were actually rolling that rock up the hill. Yaz was.

In John Updike’s famous essay “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,” he sums up Ted quite nicely as he observed that Ted didn’t tip his cap after his career-ending clout, despite the impassioned pleas of the few thousand who were in the stands that day: “Gods do not answer letters.”

On the other hand, Yaz took a lap around Fenway Park the day before his last game, exchanging high-fives and handshakes with anyone lucky enough to be sitting in the first few rows. A far more stoic man than Ted ever was, he nonetheless placed himself into the open palms of Boston and said, “This is what I can offer you as thanks.” On his last day, as he walked off the field for one last time after being pulled during the top of the 9th, he unbuttoned his jersey and gave it to a boy in the front row behind the dugout before he descended down the steps for good. Carl Yastrzemski was not Superman or Zeus. But he showed us that a man battling against that which limits him — whether it was his own physical attributes or the unyielding opponent of time itself — is as compelling as any myth, while displaying an honor that was actually earned.

Fantastic.
 

The Talented Allen Ripley

holden
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 2, 2003
12,493
MetroWest, MA
Not to nitpick and maybe I’m wrong but I thought he tossed his hat into the crowd not his jersey.
Am I remembering it wrong, or didn't Yaz do the lap around the field in both games of his last weekend?
It's late and I've had a few, but these sorts of comments are why this site is dying. I say this not to lay blame on these two posters, they made some relatively innocent comments in the grand scheme of things, but I do it to point out something that's become endemic to online discourse. You can write a post that's several paragraphs long, something that puts forth a particular thesis or notion that hopefully spurs further discussion, and it generally devolves into extracting one or two things to refute, while completely ignoring what was being said and why. Because it's easier to do that.

I want to be corrected when I'm wrong. Oftentimes I'm an insufferable asshole who has a quick quip for those who are wrong, but I'm also one of the more self-deprecating posters here, if anyone's been paying attention. So I know I am a mere mortal and I will surely get things wrong from time to time, although I almost always do the appropriate research ahead of time to minimize those instances. But being wrong is OK. You can be wrong, I can be wrong, we all can be wrong. I don't have a problem with any of this being pointed out, even if it's at my expense, so that's not why I'm responding here. I am not beyond reproach, nor is my writing. Or my art.

Why am I responding?

Well, first of all, I'm not wrong. If Yaz threw his cap into the crowd or took a lap on both days (which he may well have), it does not negate anything I wrote; I never said he didn't do those things. He took a lap on Yaz Day and he gave his jersey to a kid as he left the field for the last time during his final game; we know those things happened, and that's what I wrote about.

What concerns me more is that I wrote what I wrote and these are the sort of passive-aggressive responses that naturally occur. It's inevitable, because it's the internet. Not unique to SoSH, it's not specific to SoSH by a long shot, it's an internet thing. But I do know many insightful, knowledgeable, and talented posters who have bailed on this site, because who wants to spend time and effort into writing anything here only to have it picked apart on some non-tangential basis that has nothing to do with the idea they were progressing? We're a weird bunch here, but we're not masochists (not that there's anything wrong with masochism, if you're into that).

I know these people and why they left, I talk/chat/text with them every day. It gets old. I'm very close to joining them.

We all rhapsodize how SoSH is a special corner of the internet, which it is in a lot of ways. Could it be even more special by avoiding this common internet trap? Sure, but I don't think it can be avoided. I think it's a human nature thing.

I fully realize there's no way I could raise this topic without sounding like a whiny asshole, but I'll take that bullet because I care about this place that much. A lot of my friends have left, but I'm still here, and maybe there's a reason for that.

Now if you excuse me, I'm going to go yell at a cloud.
 
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SoxJox

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2003
5,366
Rock > SoxJox < Hard Place
I know. The knives arrived yesterday and were treated to their first cut of tenderloin.

BTW TAMR, you've expressed something that has been pent up in me for a while also. Great posts...the original, and this one as well.
 

worm0082

Penbis
SoSH Member
Sep 19, 2002
4,213
Passive aggressive responses? Dude, I was a toddler when Yaz day happened. I was legit only asking a question. All the video of Yaz ive ever seen, all that’s available online Anyway, is the one of him tossing the cap into the stands. The post you wrote was a wonderfully written trip down memory lane. Sorry if it came across as unappreciative.

edit:View: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ak1ZG1EOqZA
5 min in, he takes it off but doesnt give it to anyone. He gave the kid his hat
 
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