Carl Yastrzemski left his mark in baseball as one of the elite hitters of his generation. The eighteen-time All-Star became one of the greatest of all the Red Sox despite having to fill the shoes of one of the greatest in history, Ted Williams, in left field.
Yaz may not have been Ted Williams, but who has? Today I am going to discuss the career of a true Red Sox legend.
Carl Michael Yastrzemski was born on August 22, 1939 in Southampton, New York. The family later moved to Bridgehampton, New York when Carl was young, and he was raised on his father's potato farm. Yastrzemski was always known as a hard worker for his father and during his childhood, he played a lot of "sandlot" baseball.
But as a child, Yastrzemski grew up with a great round ball talent as well and attended Notre Dame on a basketball scholarship. He also had a passion for baseball, and Yastrzemski decided to sign with the Boston Red Sox after being drafted in college.
When Yaz signed with Boston, he was sent to their minor league facility in Raleigh, North Carolina. There he led the league in batting average and quickly went through the minor leagues.
When called up to the Red Sox in 1961, Yastrzemski was given high expectations as he was supposed to be the next Ted Williams in left field. Though he did not meet those expectations in the first two seasons, Yaz had shown his true potential in his third year after finishing in the top ten in MVP voting while winning a batting title.
During the best year of Yaz's career, he won the Triple Crown in 1967 as part of the 1967 "Impossible Dream Team", one of the most famous turnaround stories in sports' history. After eight staright losing seasons, the Sox won an incredibly exciting four-team scramble for the pennant, sweeping the Minnesota Twins to win the AL by one game over the Detroit Tigers.
Though Yastrzemski and the '67 Sox did not win the World Series, they did make it to the Series for the first time since 1946.
From 1967 to 1974, Yaz won the batting championship in 1967 while hitting over 40 home runs (44) for first time in his career in 1969. Over the rest of his career, Yastrzemski was one of the premiere hitters for Boston.
By the end of his career, Yaz could boast a long list of accomplishments. He finished up with 3,419 hits, 452 home runs, 1,844 RBI, and 1,845 walks.
After his retirement at the age of 44 in 1983, Yastrzemski held the major league record for the longest stint with a single team after being on the Boston Red Sox for 23 seasons, tied with Brooke Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles.
Yastrzemski was an 18-time All-Star, a seven-time Gold Glove winner, and had won an MVP and a Triple Crown (1967). Yaz is known throughout baseball as one of the greatest of all-time, and he is was ranked No. 72 in Baseball America's Top 100 Players list.
On his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot, Yaz easily waltzed into the Hall after recieving over 90 percent of the votes. He had his number (8) retired by the Boston Red Sox that year as well.
Yaz was known for his great attitude towards the game, his outlook on life, and his passion for baseball. He was also known for his very unique batting stance which led many people wondering on how he had hit so well in 20-plus years of baseball.
Carl Yastrzemski is one of the most recognizable names in sports and is highly regarded by most everyone. Yaz was a great man and an even greater player.
Facts credited to Wikipedia.org as well as Carl Yastrzemski's official website. This is a DJ Rallo original article, but facts can be found at those websites.