Written by Jim Amato (Contact & Archive) on May 29, 2008
I've never been a Boston Red Sox fan but I do admit to being fond of some of their players over the years. I just caught the tail end of Ted Williams' great career. I was a big fan of Tony Conigliaro and Rico Petrocelli too. Just when I started following the game the Red Sox had Frank Malzone and Pete Runnels. Jim Lonborg was an outstanding pitcher in 1967, the year the Red Sox lost to St. Louis in the World Series. I guess my favorite after Tony C. had to be Carl Yastrzemski or to the fans, " Yaz ". What a stellar career he had.
In today's age of the free agent market very few players of note stay with the same team their whole career. The last one I can remember is Kirby Puckett. When I was growing up it was easier to identify with teams because certain key players remained on the club for years. Some like Mickey Mantle, Al Kaline and Yaz stayed with one team their whole career. Yaz broke in with the Red Sox in 1961 and stayed through the 1983 season. Twenty three years and Yastrzemski built up quite a legion of fans. Deservingly so as he was a consistant ballplayer, at the bat or in the field.
In 1962 Yaz set personal record of 646 at bats and 191 hits. In 1967 Carl had a break out year with 44 home runs, 121 RBI's and a .326 batting average pacing the club to the American League pennant. In the years 1969 and 1970 , Yastrzemski belted forty round trippers in each. He would never again hit the thirty home run plateau. Five times in his terrific career he drove in over 100 runs. Five times he would hit over .300.
Although Yastrzemski had some great years, the key to his success was his steadiness. Year in and year out he made solid contributions to help his club He appeared in 3,308 games for the Red Sox and had 11, 988 at bats while collecting 3,419 base hits. Yaz launched 452 home runs and drove 1, 844 across the plate. He even swiped 168 bases. His defense was highly respected.