The Great Carl Yastrzemski

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NJ Fan

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Adding to the "was he a good fielder?" question...
 
Unless I've missed it, I don't recall reading in this thread that Yaz was signed as a SS.  So IIRC, converting him to LF was a way to take advantage of his SS mentality.  Others upthread have well-documented his phenomenal yearly assist totals.  Growing up in NJ and only being able to see Yaz play perhaps 15 games a year (imagine that...) on TV, I vividly recall his ability to deke base runners and batters when a ball was hit over his head.  He would nonchalantly pretend that the ball was destined to go over the Monster, only to turn around at the last second, field the ball cleanly off the wall (it was famously said that he knew every inch of the Wall and all it's idiosyncrasies), whip around and fire the ball to 2nd (or 3rd) to nail runners.  A thing of beauty.
 

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Bergs said:
 
If only there were some sort of...I don't know...baseball reference website or something like that...
 
Left Field assists rank:
1961 AL  11 (2nd)
1962 AL  16 (1st)
1963 AL  17 (1st)
1965 AL  11 (1st)
1966 AL  15 (1st)
1967 AL  13 (1st)
1968 AL  12 (2nd)
1969 AL  17 (1st)
1971 AL  17 (1st)
1972 AL  10 (2nd)
1977 AL  16 (1st)
1978 AL  7 (5th)
Career  177 (4th)
 
 
Double Plays from left field:
1962 AL  3 (1st)
1963 AL  3 (1st)
1965 AL  2 (3rd)
1966 AL  2 (1st)
1968 AL  3 (2nd)
1969 AL  2 (2nd)
1971 AL  4 (1st)
1972 AL  1 (4th)
1974 AL  1 (5th)
1978 AL  2 (3rd)
Career  27 (9th) 
 
Total Zone Runs as LF:
1962 AL  19 (1st)
1963 AL  13 (2nd)
1966 AL  24 (1st)
1967 AL  23 (1st)
1968 AL  25 (1st)
1969 AL  11 (2nd)
1970 AL  5 (5th)
1971 AL  14 (2nd)
1977 AL  10 (1st)
Career  135 (2nd)
 
 
So yeah. One of the top left fielders of all time for a decade.
 
Edit: Interestingly, he also led all left fielders in errors in '67!!! I wonder if those were aggressive throws, pure misplays, or a function of getting to balls at the edge of his range but not making the play. Anyone know a way to find that out?
 
As you yourself acknowledge, stats like assists and errors are context dependent.  Assists in particular can be misleading, in the sense that outfield assists are often driven by a poor defensive reputation.  To give examples from the era you cite, Willie Stargell - a poor outfielder - made more than a few appearances on the list in the 60s.  Hell, Manny Ramirez led the league in 2005.
 
If you knew how to play the wall at Fenway in the 60s you were going to generate a lot of assists and get a lot of chances to make DPs.  And as I acknowledged, Yaz knew how to play the wall and was a good outfielder.  So these stats neither surprise me nor make the case that he was an all time great out there.
 
Beyond this, I'm not sure why you laced your response to me with snark, but whatever ...
 

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NJ Fan said:
Adding to the "was he a good fielder?" question...
 
Unless I've missed it, I don't recall reading in this thread that Yaz was signed as a SS.  So IIRC, converting him to LF was a way to take advantage of his SS mentality.  Others upthread have well-documented his phenomenal yearly assist totals.  Growing up in NJ and only being able to see Yaz play perhaps 15 games a year (imagine that...) on TV, I vividly recall his ability to deke base runners and batters when a ball was hit over his head.  He would nonchalantly pretend that the ball was destined to go over the Monster, only to turn around at the last second, field the ball cleanly off the wall (it was famously said that he knew every inch of the Wall and all it's idiosyncrasies), whip around and fire the ball to 2nd (or 3rd) to nail runners.  A thing of beauty.
 
They converted him to LF in 1960 (in the minors) expressly because they tabbed him the heir-apparent to Ted.  He'd never played the outfield growing up because the fields he played on didn't have fences and he didn't like the idea of having to chase balls forever when they got in the gaps.
 
He took pride in his ability to hold hitters to singles on balls off the wall.  But also, one of his ultimate goals was to record a 7-3 force out.  In his attempts to accomplish that, he used to play so shallow when big slugging righties like Frank Howard came to the plate that he was practically in the SS's back pocket.  His logic was that if the guy hit it over his head, it was either over the Monster and unplayable or he could get back fast enough to play the ball off the wall and hold the guy to second if not first if the ball was hit hard enough.
 

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MuzzyField said:
Not good enough to play CF or RF?

 
He was a great left fielder as supported by all the gloden gloves, and this was due to a combinaiton of defensive skill and coordination, his insitinct to charge the ball off the crack of the back, intelligence, and an accurate arm than nailed many lead runners making the small turn at third base on a single. However, I don't think that this would translate nearly as well to other positions. I remember a story where Yaz and Reggie Smith had a good natured competition about how far they coud throw. Yaz stepped out of the dugout, threw, and hit the base of the wall. When it was Reggie Smith's turn, he threw it into the net above the monster! So Yaz' arm would probably not have been strong enough for the ideal Fenway RFer, and his no better than decent speed would have limited him as a center fielder compared with others in the league. He would have been pretty good at these positions - as he was at first base - but left field was his ideal position.
 

RoDaddy

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He was a great left fielder as supported by all the gloden gloves, and this was due to a combinaiton of defensive skill and coordination, his insitinct to charge the ball off the crack of the back, intelligence, and an accurate arm than nailed many lead runners making the small turn at third base on a single. However, I don't think that this would translate nearly as well to other positions. I remember a story where Yaz and Reggie Smith had a good natured competition about how far they coud throw. Yaz stepped out of the dugout, threw, and hit the base of the wall. When it was Reggie Smith's turn, he threw it into the net above the monster! So Yaz' arm would probably not have been strong enough for the ideal Fenway RFer, and his no better than decent speed would have limited him as a center fielder compared with others in the league. He would have been pretty good at these positions - as he was at first base - but left field was his ideal position
 

patinorange

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bankshot1 said:
Exactly 
 

 
go to around 2:35 in this you tube, Opening day '67: this is one of my favorite memories about Yaz.
That catch. It's still one of the best I have ever seen. It temporarily saved Rohr's no hitter.

He was terrific when he had to go back to left field in the 75 playoffs against Oakland when Rice broke his hand late in the season.

He's a boyhood hero so it's tough for me to be objective.

Something that sticks out in my fading memory is Al Hrabosky, the mad Hungarian, who was at the peak of his left handed powers, trying to slip a fastball by Yaz late in his career.
Boom!
 

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He was a great left fielder as supported by all the gloden gloves, and this was due to a combinaiton of defensive skill and coordination, his insitinct to charge the ball off the crack of the back, intelligence, and an accurate arm than nailed many lead runners making the small turn at third base on a single. However, I don't think that this would translate nearly as well to other positions. I remember a story where Yaz and Reggie Smith had a good natured competition about how far they coud throw. Yaz stepped out of the dugout, threw, and hit the base of the wall. When it was Reggie Smith's turn, he threw it into the net above the monster! So Yaz' arm would probably not have been strong enough for the ideal Fenway RFer, and his no better than decent speed would have limited him as a center fielder compared with others in the league. He would have been pretty good at these positions - as he was at first base - but left field was his ideal position
His vast experience playing the Wall certainly helped as well. In Yaz's time the Wall wasn't a single continuous structure, rather a series of interconnected smaller plates. So .. a ball hitting Plate A might bounce straight back .. but the one right next to it might go off at a completely different angle. It took years to learn how to play it well. Which may have been a contributing factor (among the more obvious ones) in the longevity of the LFs from Williams right up to Rice.
 

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Toast of the town in '67.  I have never seen any Boston athlete capture the public like Yaz did that year.
 
I mean - the guy had a song written about him ( ".......the man they call Yaz").  And he had bread named after him (Yaz Bread) - someone may have a loaf still hanging around in some sort of time capsule.  
 

jmcc5400

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He was terrific when he had to go back to left field in the 75 playoffs against Oakland when Rice broke his hand late in the season. 
 
Stop trying to tell us he wasn't unclutch.  I mean that '75 ALCS against the back-to back-to back champs?  .455/.500/.818?  The two run homer off of Vida Blue (.220/.291/.275 against LHB) in Game 2 to cut the A's 3-0 lead to one?  Choker. 
 
As for his defense, Yaz played primarily in CF in '64 and led the AL in OF assists from that position that year. 
 

nighthob

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Average Reds said:
After playing in left for many years, Yaz learned how to play the wall and was very good at it.
And well enough to win five gold gloves while "learning to play it". (EDIT: In the 60s he won 5 Gold Gloves in the OF, he won a couple more in the 70s, once in the early 70s, and then once in the late 70s the year he replaced Rice in left.)
 
Average Reds said:
But it's telling that Yaz was being transitioned out of left field beginning in 1970 (when he played the majority of his games at 1B) and that from 1973 - 76, he was a first baseman who would occasionally go to left.
It's also telling that they had the Conigliaro brothers, Dwight Evans, Reggie Smith, and Tommy Harper on their roster in the 70-73 time frame when they began playing Yaz some at first. When you have four or more outfielders that hit that well you do whatever it takes to make sure all four bats are in the lineup. Heck, they moved The Boomer over to third base during that time, and it sure wasn't because he was a crappy first baseman.
 

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Average Reds said:
 
As you yourself acknowledge, stats like assists and errors are context dependent.  Assists in particular can be misleading, in the sense that outfield assists are often driven by a poor defensive reputation.  To give examples from the era you cite, Willie Stargell - a poor outfielder - made more than a few appearances on the list in the 60s.  Hell, Manny Ramirez led the league in 2005.
 
If you knew how to play the wall at Fenway in the 60s you were going to generate a lot of assists and get a lot of chances to make DPs.  And as I acknowledged, Yaz knew how to play the wall and was a good outfielder.  So these stats neither surprise me nor make the case that he was an all time great out there.
 
Beyond this, I'm not sure why you laced your response to me with snark, but whatever ...
 
Because I'm hungover and generally an asshole anyway.
 
You make a good point about context, but your original contention was that "the reputation as a master of left field is post-career hype," and the data simply don't support that interpretation, nor do the eyeballs of any of us who saw him play out there.
 

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Al Zarilla

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Yaz was sent back out to his old position, left field, for the 1975 post season because Jim Rice was out with the HBP wrist injury. I don't remember how his OF play was against Oakland in the ALCS, but in the world series, he was great out there. R[SIZE=13.63636302948px]acing in to make s[/SIZE]liding catches on his stomach, plays at the wall, etc., had the announcers remarking about his great play. He played like a 20 something year old again. Maybe it was a matter of opportunity in the WS (the Reds hitting several balls a left fielder could barely get to). He did and he made them all, as I recall. Was Rice only competent as an outfielder and that's why Yaz was moved to first base? 
 

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In the 1975 ALCS Yaz had a 1305 OPS. He played LF so well that Reggie Jackson said he took the A's out of their offense. One specific play in particular that stands out in my memory is when Yaz threw out Jackson at second base trying to stretch a single to a double on a hit to the gap in Oakland in game three as the A's were trying to mount a comeback in the game and series (the gap in Oakland!). Jackson was laudatory in his praise for Yaz that series. In 1977 Yaz played an errorless left field. Zero errors in 138 games at his advanced age. I have never seen a better defensive LF, ever, in all my years watching baseball.

In my opinion those that want to diminish the excellence of Yaz and diminish his importance and excellence in Boston baseball simply want to be contrarian. That is fine, but it only serves its purpose in being contrarian, it loses credibiity beyond that. guess every player whoever made a final out in a championship game is a bum. By that reasoning, only Joe Carter and Bill Mazeroski truly deserve our praise.
 

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Bergs said:
 
Because I'm hungover and generally an asshole anyway.
 
You make a good point about context, but your original contention was that "the reputation as a master of left field is post-career hype," and the data simply don't support that interpretation, nor do the eyeballs of any of us who saw him play out there.
 
I saw him play a lot, so we'll agree to disagree.
 

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Al Zarilla said:
Yaz was sent back out to his old position, left field, for the 1975 post season because Jim Rice was out with the HBP wrist injury. I don't remember how his OF play was against Oakland in the ALCS, but in the world series, he was great out there. R[SIZE=13.63636302948px]acing in to make s[/SIZE]liding catches on his stomach, plays at the wall, etc., had the announcers remarking about his great play. He played like a 20 something year old again. Maybe it was a matter of opportunity in the WS (the Reds hitting several balls a left fielder could barely get to). He did and he made them all, as I recall. Was Rice only competent as an outfielder and that's why Yaz was moved to first base? 
 
Yaz was moved to first well before Rice broke into the big leagues. 
 

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nighthob said:
And well enough to win five gold gloves while "learning to play it". (EDIT: In the 60s he won 5 Gold Gloves in the OF, he won a couple more in the 70s, once in the early 70s, and then once in the late 70s the year he replaced Rice in left.)
 

It's also telling that they had the Conigliaro brothers, Dwight Evans, Reggie Smith, and Tommy Harper on their roster in the 70-73 time frame when they began playing Yaz some at first. When you have four or more outfielders that hit that well you do whatever it takes to make sure all four bats are in the lineup. Heck, they moved The Boomer over to third base during that time, and it sure wasn't because he was a crappy first baseman.
 
So you're telling me that Jeter has been an awesome shortstop after all?  Good to know.
 

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gryoung said:
 ... And he had bread named after him (Yaz Bread) - someone may have a loaf still hanging around in some sort of time capsule.  
Did someone say Yaz Bread? 

 
This is a thread started to praise the man that more than anyone else, reignited a long dormant love affair between the fans and the team in the Fens.  IMO, there is no Red Sox Nation without Yaz and his heroics of 1967.
 

snowmanny

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Al Zarilla said:
Yaz was sent back out to his old position, left field, for the 1975 post season because Jim Rice was out with the HBP wrist injury. I don't remember how his OF play was against Oakland in the ALCS, but in the world series, he was great out there. R[SIZE=13.63636302948px]acing in to make s[/SIZE]liding catches on his stomach, plays at the wall, etc., had the announcers remarking about his great play. He played like a 20 something year old again. Maybe it was a matter of opportunity in the WS (the Reds hitting several balls a left fielder could barely get to). He did and he made them all, as I recall. Was Rice only competent as an outfielder and that's why Yaz was moved to first base? 
 
He was very good in the ALCS, including a key throw to nail a runner and end a threat with two on and the Red Sox down 2-0 in game 2.  And this was all in stark contrast to Claudell Washington, who was so lost in LF in game 1 the A's put him at DH for game 2.
 

WenZink

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In regards to Yastrzemski's defensive skills, I can attest that he did seem to have a quick read on the path of the ball; I watched a lot of games at Fenway pre-1967, and as a high school outfielder, that was one of the things I noticed.  Far from being as adept as Jackie Bradley Jr, but so is everyone else.  And when they played on the road, I remember young Yaz at being very good at cutting the ball off before it got to the gap.  He broke his leg/ankle? in ST 1972, which cost him most of the year, and, to my memory, his wheels never quite recovered -- but by then he was already entering his mid-30's.
 
Before 1967, Yaz was the whipping boy in the Boston media.  Before the days of the proliferation of the radio talk shows, certain sports writers (Cliff Keane, Tim Horgan and Larry Claflin) used to portray him as a diffident underachiever.  Yaz was presented as the epitome of the "Country Club" attitude that was in the clubhouse in the days before Dick Williams.  Remember, in the off-season before 1967, the Sox almost traded Yaz to the Athletics for 2B Dick Green.  In fact, Yaz was by far the Sox best position player since the retirement of Ted after 1960.  Tony C. was a star, but he also swung at too many bad pitchers, was a horrible situation hitter and was a wild card in RF and on the bases.  The fact is, that very few people SAW Yaz play that many games.  Back in the '60s, only 35-40 games were telecast, and the Sox drew well under a million each year.  And in the days preceding video tape, there were very few highlights to be seen on TV, save for a few hastily developed feet of film from the early innings of a home game and shown on the old Channel 5 by Don Gillis.  Die-hard fans HEARD Yaz playing on the radio. (Yaz' play to preserve Rohr's no-hitter was the greatest catch i ever HEARD -- Ken Coleman's voice went up more octaves than Yma Sumac.)
 
The amazing thing about Yaz is how, at the age of 28, he somehow committed himself to an off-season program of conditioning that made him into the complete offensive player.  Working with Gene Berde at the Colonial CC in Lynnfield.  I still don't know how 3 months of training made such a difference.  If that happened today, we'd swear Gene Berde had put him on a PED regimen that would be the envy of Balco.  In any event, his 1967 season was the best I ever saw -- maybe Cabrera's 2012 season matched, but the 1967 Red Sox were a very average team, save for the best starter, in Lonborg, and the best player in Yaz.  He basically revitalized the franchise, and also saved Fenway Park.  (If the Sox had continue to languish near the bottom, they would have ended up playing in Foxboro in some horrid multi-purpose stadium.)  I heard Felger this summer, discounting Yaz' impact, noting how he never won a title, and all he did in 1967 was lead the Red Sox to second place. That's how ignorant turds, raised on NHL style playoff systems, view losing a World Series.  Fact is, before 1969, in MLB, you played 162 games to finish first in your league.  Then the two pennant winners played a best of seven.  Winning a pennant meant something in 1967.  Playing in a World Series meant a lot, as well.  After 45 years of baseball playoffs, it's easy to forget.
 

rlsb

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snowmanny said:
 
He was very good in the ALCS, including a key throw to nail a runner and end a threat with two on and the Red Sox down 2-0 in game 2.  And this was all in stark contrast to Claudell Washington, who was so lost in LF in game 1 the A's put him at DH for game 2.
The real big play of the 1975 ALCS clinching game 3 was his lunge dive to snag a sure Jackson triple and hold him to a single.  His would have been the tying run with one out.  Instead, Rudi the next batter hits into a double play and the last big Oakland threat of the game was over.  It was THE play of that game I believe.
 

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WenZink said:
The amazing thing about Yaz is how, at the age of 28, he somehow committed himself to an off-season program of conditioning that made him into the complete offensive player.  Working with Gene Berde at the Colonial CC in Lynnfield.  I still don't know how 3 months of training made such a difference.  If that happened today, we'd swear Gene Berde had put him on a PED regimen that would be the envy of Balco.  In any event, his 1967 season was the best I ever saw -- maybe Cabrera's 2012 season matched, but the 1967 Red Sox were a very average team, save for the best starter, in Lonborg, and the best player in Yaz.  He basically revitalized the franchise, and also saved Fenway Park.  (If the Sox had continue to languish near the bottom, they would have ended up playing in Foxboro in some horrid multi-purpose stadium.)  I heard Felger this summer, discounting Yaz' impact, noting how he never won a title, and all he did in 1967 was lead the Red Sox to second place. That's how ignorant turds, raised on NHL style playoff systems, view losing a World Series.  Fact is, before 1969, in MLB, you played 162 games to finish first in your league.  Then the two pennant winners played a best of seven.  Winning a pennant meant something in 1967.  Playing in a World Series meant a lot, as well.  After 45 years of baseball playoffs, it's easy to forget.
 
The 3 months made a difference because it was 3 months of training that 99% of ball players at the time weren't doing.
 

nighthob

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So you're telling me that Jeter has been an awesome shortstop after all?  Good to know.
I would hope that we can all agree that the 30 year old face of baseball's flagship franchise winning a Gold Glove is pretty much the exact equivalent of a 22 and 23 year old player plying his craft at two OF spots in a baseball backwater for a cellar dweller. Well done.

We get it, you watched mid 30s Yaz and couldn't figure out what the big deal was. But he was a pretty damned good defensive OF in the 60s.
 

WenZink

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Red(s)HawksFan said:
 
The 3 months made a difference because it was 3 months of training that 99% of ball players at the time weren't doing.
 
Still, it was only 3 months... and there were always a few fitness freaks playing back then.  I don't remember that Gene Berde was from Hungary and had "new" methods of training for the time.  He was about adding bulk by lifting barbells and throwing around the medicine ball.  But it was just 3 months.  My take is that the workout regimen was more of Yaz recommitting himself to his profession.  He probably even cut back to 1 pack a day of smokes and stopping after 3 beers.
 

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I was born in 1961, and "Yastrzemski" was one of the first words I remember.  I knew how to spell "Yastrzemski" properly before I know how to spell "spell".  Every year until I was something like 25, I sent him a birthday card.  I was thrilled when my second son was born on his birthday, August 22, in 1995... while my eldest was reared a MFY fan (don't ask), I refused to capitulate on the younger one.  And he's the son who will be remembered in my will.  When we dropped him off for freshman year in college this year on August 22, my 19th birthday present to him was the 1961 Yaz Rookie card that I'd been given by my friends on my 50th birthday.  [Re-gifting, I know, but I think legit in this case.]
 
I read "Yaz", his autobiography ghosted by Al Hirshberg, for the first time when I was 7 -- by far the biggest book I'd ever read.  I read it for the 50th time when I was 8.  I can skill recall, from memory, his descriptions of summer baseball played on Long Island with the Sconiecznys.  How he blew off tests but crammed for finals at Notre Dame.  How his dad negotiated increasing contract offers from the Yankees, the Phillies, the Reds, and finally the Sox.
 
Before I knew what "clutch" was, and how unproveable a concept it was, a teenaged Mugsy's Jock would tell anybody around that Yaz was the clutchest clutch guy out there.  Few of the simlarly-ignorant-but-similarly-hardcore baseball fans around me would disagree.  You really wanted Yaz up there in the 9th inning.
 
As I grew to learn more about Yaz the person, I can't say I found him as charming.  He was a tough old bastard and didn't have much of a sense of humor.  But that was my boyhood hero, right there.
 
Yaz's Strat-o card pegs him at 1(-3)e8 in LF -- so that's good enough to prove he was fairly exceptional, right?
 

Homar

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The Red Sox signed Yaz on the day I was born, November 29, 1958.  But I was growing up in Colorado, where the nearest MLB team was the woebegone Kansas City A's.  Baseball to me was the Boulder Collegians, a semi-pro outfit, the box scores and the game of the week on NBC.  I remember the summer of 1967, getting news print on my elbows as I devoured the box scores on the living room floor.  The Cardinals, the cream of the NL had these amazing black men playing ball: Gibson, Flood, White. and I was drawn to them.  And then there was the AL, with this amazing team from Boston trying to go from the bottom to the top in a single season, powered by this guy Yaz.  
 
I ran home from school every day to watch the World Series, grainy black and white.  And as compelling as those Cardinals were, it was the white guy playing left for Boston that held my attention.  I rooted for the Cardinals, I confess, but Yaz was the man.  
 
Amazingly, he was still playing when life brought me to New England, and though he was just a shell of himself then, past 40 and creaky, he still commanded the screen.  A great ball player, one who insisted that attention be paid.  And in his twenties, he was as good as it gets.  I still admire the man, who never pretended to be anything that he wasn't, and who understands that he is a ballplayer, not anything else in the public eye.  
 

Dick Drago

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I loved his swing. Nobody, save maybe Reggie Jackson, swung the bat as hard as Carl. When he missed, he'd practically fall down he swung so hard.

Great OFer, at home and also on the road. He had good speed in his younger years, and could cover the expansive parks pretty well.

I remember 1980 against Billy Martin's A's, he crashed into the wall making an incredible catch. Cracked his ribs, and I think missed the rest of the season.

All-time great, even stole 23 bases one year.
 

Dahabenzapple2

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I remember as he lost some of his power in the early 70's that we found out and often talked about his "warning track power" especially in Fenway

In retrospect, he was still a very good player for a decade after his incredible peak years.
 

threecy

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Prior to his well documented 1967 pre season training which resulted in a career best 44 home runs, Yaz was averaging 16 home runs per season (1 20 HR season, in which he lead the league in slugging).  One has to wonder what numbers he could have put up had he started that program in the early 1960s.
 
A further thing I noticed whilst looking at that, 1961-66 he average 16 home runs per season.  1971-83 he averaged 16 home runs per season.  1967-70 he averaged 37 home runs per season.  He amassed a third of his career home runs in just four seasons!

 
 

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Dick Drago said:
I loved his swing. Nobody, save maybe Reggie Jackson, swung the bat as hard as Carl. When he missed, he'd practically fall down he swung so hard.

Great OFer, at home and also on the road. He had good speed in his younger years, and could cover the expansive parks pretty well.

I remember 1980 against Billy Martin's A's, he crashed into the wall making an incredible catch. Cracked his ribs, and I think missed the rest of the season.

All-time great, even stole 23 bases one year.
 

yazisgod

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threecy said:
Prior to his well documented 1967 pre season training which resulted in a career best 44 home runs, Yaz was averaging 16 home runs per season (1 20 HR season, in which he lead the league in slugging).  One has to wonder what numbers he could have put up had he started that program in the early 1960s.
 
A further thing I noticed whilst looking at that, 1961-66 he average 16 home runs per season.  1971-83 he averaged 16 home runs per season.  1967-70 he averaged 37 home runs per season.  He amassed a third of his career home runs in just four seasons!

 
 
I guess we know where my loyalties are.
 
Even more amazing was that Yaz was hitting his home runs during the "pitchers' era," where these HR totals were not as common as they are today.
 
Does anyone remember, or have a copy or a link to, a Yaz Tribute video that one of the Boston stations put together about the time of his retirement?  I remember it was set to "My Way" (making Jeter a copycat, I guess), and when it got to the "Regrets, I've had a few" section of the song it showed the hilarious video of Yaz piling dirt on home plate after disagreeing with a called third strike.  The umpire (Flaherty, maybe?) didn't know what to do so he threw Yaz out of the game.
 

reggiecleveland

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threecy said:
Prior to his well documented 1967 pre season training which resulted in a career best 44 home runs, Yaz was averaging 16 home runs per season (1 20 HR season, in which he lead the league in slugging).  One has to wonder what numbers he could have put up had he started that program in the early 1960s.
 
A further thing I noticed whilst looking at that, 1961-66 he average 16 home runs per season.  1971-83 he averaged 16 home runs per season.  1967-70 he averaged 37 home runs per season.  He amassed a third of his career home runs in just four seasons!

 
That is the weird thing he was an all star very good player, most of his career and all time great for about 4 years.
 

Clears Cleaver

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Aug 1, 2001
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The home run of Guidry in the playoff game. how many HRs did Guidry give up to lefties that year? He took a letter high fastball and turned on it. Awesome
 

ji oh

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Mar 18, 2003
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threecy said:
Prior to his well documented 1967 pre season training which resulted in a career best 44 home runs, Yaz was averaging 16 home runs per season (1 20 HR season, in which he lead the league in slugging).  One has to wonder what numbers he could have put up had he started that program in the early 1960s.
 
A further thing I noticed whilst looking at that, 1961-66 he average 16 home runs per season.  1971-83 he averaged 16 home runs per season.  1967-70 he averaged 37 home runs per season.  He amassed a third of his career home runs in just four seasons!

 
He had serious wrist injury from mid-71 to mid 72, and hit almost no hrs for that 12 month period.  It hurt so bad one time he wanted to tape the bat to his hand, and then someone pointed out he would have to run with it.
 

Dalton Jones

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MuzzyField said:
Moron doesn't seem strong enough in describing the FO.
When I think Yaz... This is what my brain recalls.
1) F-8 to Geronimo
2) FO-5 to Nettles
3) Victory lap around Fenway on the way to retirement.
Even those of you providing the eloquent descriptions of his greatness have to see 1 and 2 in you minds before recalling his 'happier' moments.
Under the brightest of lights, he didn't shy from the moment, but he came up empty not once, but twice with the opportunity to create his statue moment.
Fisk enjoyed the opposite... His moment is overrated. Mostly because of the camera angle, but there were no rings for being 1975 World Series Game 6 Champions.
This and the previous few efforts by the above poster are the most moronic contributions to this site I've seen in a very long time. Yaz's clutch moments speak for themselves. They are literally axiomatic and require no debate.
 

Sampo Gida

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Yaz was my favorite player after Tony C went down as a kid.  I still remember arguing with my grandfather at the breakfast table every morning that he was not a bum because he did not go 4-4 every night despite making more money than the President (165K).
 
As I am older now and like to think wiser, especially with B-ref,   I realize he still was a great hitter and great defender, perhaps even better than I thought after he retired.  After he passed age 30, he was more of an OBP guy than a power guy at a time when OBP was not valued as much, and perhaps a bit too pull happy (based on my memory). Like his predecessor Ted Williams, he was not afraid of taking a walk, and walks were not appreciated.
 
Defensively he was the greatest LF'er I ever saw at Fenway.  The wall was not as easy to play back in the day before they resurfaced it around 1975.  Balls took crazy bounces.  He deked runners with the best of them.  He had a good arm with a quick release, and on GB singles to LF he charged the ball as well as anyone I ever saw.  I wish defensive stats had H-A splits as i am sure he had pretty good assist totals on the road. 
 
My great regret in life is never getting to eat Yaz bread. Too expensive for us.  I also regret adopting his batting style which I am sure destroyed more young hitters than the worst hitting coach of alltime could ever destroy (whomever he is).
 

Hyde Park Factor

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I remember when Yaz had 2,999 hits and all of New England was on pins and needles waiting for the next one (I even remember New Martin' simple and eloquent call, "two-nine-nine-nine"). My whole family was together celebrating a couple of birthdays and as game time approached, my father announced, " Game's about to start, we better get down there... ". Even my grandmothers snapped to attention. And off we went, hoping that this would be the night the hit finally came.

It was. We went nuts. Everyone in that room thought Yaz was the greatest thing ever, and as far as we were concerned he had just proven it. It was one of the best nights we ever spent together as a family.

As a side note, I recall seeing a breakdown somewhere of the photo of Yaz's last at bat compared to a painting and for the life of me, I can't find it anywhere (either here or on the Internet. Did this really even happen?). Anyone else remember seeing this?

Edit: typo
 

Al Zarilla

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Hyde Park Factor said:
I remember when Yaz had 2,999 hits and all of New England was on pins and needles waiting for the next one (I even remember New Martin' simple and eloquent call, "two-nine-nine-nine"). My whole family was together celebrating a couple of birthdays and as game time approached, my father announced, " Game's about to start, we better get down there... ". Even my grandmothers snapped to attention. And off we went, hoping that this would be the night the hit finally came.

It was. We went nuts. Everyone in that room thought Yaz was the greatest thing ever, and as far as we were concerned he had just proven it. It was one of the best nights we ever spent together as a family.

As a side note, I recall seeing a breakdown somewhere of the photo of Yaz's last at bat compared to a painting and for the life of me, I can't find it anywhere (either here or on the Internet. Did this really even happen?). Anyone else remember seeing this?

Edit: typo
Was that Yaz's last at bat compared with a painting of Yaz, or something else? I really don't have any recollection of it, but that would narrow it down. 
 

Hyde Park Factor

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Al Zarilla said:
Was that Yaz's last at bat compared with a painting of Yaz, or something else? I really don't have any recollection of it, but that would narrow it down. 
It was a painting of a man and a baby (?) , by a fairly well know artist. The scene in the painting and Yaz's last at bat mimic each other perfectly: the man is holding something (a weapon?) in the air same as Yaz is holding the bat, the baby is in the background exactly as Gary Allenson is...

The painting has a classic, Victorian look to it if I had to try to describe it.

I really hope this all actually happened.
 

Al Zarilla

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Hyde Park Factor said:
It was a painting of a man and a baby (?) , by a fairly well know artist. The scene in the painting and Yaz's last at bat mimic each other perfectly: the man is holding something (a weapon?) in the air same as Yaz is holding the bat, the baby is in the background exactly as Gary Allenson is...

The painting has a classic, Victorian look to it if I had to try to describe it.

I really hope this all actually happened.
I still got nothing. Maybe somebody else...
 

Savin Hillbilly

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threecy said:
A further thing I noticed whilst looking at that, 1961-66 he average 16 home runs per season.  1971-83 he averaged 16 home runs per season.  1967-70 he averaged 37 home runs per season.  He amassed a third of his career home runs in just four seasons!
 
Just imagine how we'd interpret that information if his career had been 1991-2013. ;)
 
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