He was simply known as Yaz.
Yaz proved the best way to follow an icon on the same team while playing the same position is to become a Major League Baseball Hall of Fame legend, too.
That’s exactly what Carl Yastrzemski accomplished in 1961.
As a 20 year-old rookie left fielder for the Boston Red Sox, Yaz replaced the brilliant “Splendid Splinter” Ted Williams.
Yaz’s strong work ethic, marvelous athleticism and unparalleled commitment to the game equipped him to escape the looming shadow of the beloved Williams’ incredible career. He, too, would become one of Major League Baseball’s best players ever.
After 23 years in the same Red Sox organization, Boston’s iconic #8 etched the following impressive numbers in Major League Baseball history books upon retirement.
Yaz finished 1st in total games played with one team, 2nd in total games played in MLB history, 3rd in total at bats, 6th in bases on balls, 8th in hits, total bases and doubles and 13th in career RBI’s.
Yaz Voted into Cooperstown on First Ballot
It’s no wonder he became a first ballot Cooperstown inductee.
Carl Yastzremski was the son of Polish potato farmers living in Long Island, NY. Yaz never forgot the promise he made to his parents to graduate from college. Few fans know that Yaz originally attended the University of Notre Dame, playing for the Irish on a basketball scholarship. Additionally, he had once broken NFL Hall of Fame RB Jim Brown’s Long Island high school basketball scoring record.
However, like Jim Brown, Carl Yastrzemski chose another sport in which to excel. Yaz left college in order to join the Boston Red Sox franchise as a second baseman. The club quickly changed his position from infielder to outfielder, but fortunately failed to convince Yaz to change his unusual swing.
As soon as he got his start in the big leagues in 1961, Yastrzemski became known for his unorthodox batting stance. The young left-handed hitter held his bat high over his head. This odd approach led to a dramatic arced swing in which fans almost expected to hear an audible swoosh.
Immediately, baseball players of all ages copied Yaz’s batting stance, but none experienced the same success as the young Boston Red Sox left fielder.
Yaz dominated pitchers at the plate. He compiled a .285 career average, belted 452 dingers, collected 3,419 hits in 3,308 games and hit for the elusive Triple Crown as the American League MVP in 1967.
Yastrzemski also excelled in the daunting environs of Fenway Park. He won seven Gold Gloves for being the best at his craft in spite of dealing with the dastardly 37’ wall, the intimidating and unpredictable Green Monster, in Boston’s left field.
An 18 time MLB All-Star, Yaz may be best remembered for more than his athletic excellence. He was an amazingly committed and loyal guy who did more than just play his entire 23-year career with one organization.
Carl Yastrzemski kept the promise he made to his parents after skipping out on his basketball scholarship at Notre Dame. Yaz made his family proud in 1966 when he graduated from Merrimac College in North Andover, Massachusetts.
With a big bat and a bigger heart, it’s easy to understand why this son of Polish potato farmers swings in at #7 in Boston Sports Icons.Click on the purple cover above to safely download my FREE sports comic book titled Boston Sports Icons.
And, even while reading the book, you’ll almost hear the audible swoosh of Yaz’s swing!