Carl Yastrzemski was born on August 22, 1939, in Southampton, New York. He was raised on his parents potato farm and attended Notre Dame briefly before his baseball career.
"Yaz" signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1959 and began his career with the minor league Raleigh Capitals where he led the league in batting at .377. He was moved up to Minneapolis Millers for their post season and spent the 1960 season there.
Carl Yastrzemski debuted in the Major Leagues on April 11, 1961 for the Red Sox against the Kansas City Athletics at Fenway Park.
Right from the start, Yaz had tremendous pressure as the replacement for Red Sox legend Ted Williams.
Carl won the American League batting title in 1963 hitting .321. He also led the league in doubles and walks.
1967 was Carl Yastrzemski's best season. He won the Triple Crown (the last player to do so). He led in batting average at .326, Home Runs with 44 and tied Harmon Killebrew with 121 Runs Batted In. He was voted the American League's Most Valuable Player Award.
Yaz led the Red Sox to the American League pennant in 1967. He went 13 for 21 over the last six games of the regular season. The Red Sox lost the World Series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Three of those loses were to Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson.
Yaz won the 1967 Hickok Belt as the top professional athlete of the year and also Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year.
Carl Yastrzemski won another batting title in 1968. Yaz finished the season batting .301. The lowest average ever by a batting champ. This promted baseball to lower the pitcher's mound to cut down on the advantage for the pitchers and add some offense.
Yastrzemski smacked 40 home runs in both the 1969 and 1970 seasons. He got four hits in the 1970 All Star game to win the MVP even though the American League lost the game.
His 1970 batting average of .329 was his career best. But Yaz finished second behind Alex Johnson for the batting title.
The Boston Red Sox faced the Cincinnati Reds in the 1975 World Series. Considered one of the best series ever, the Red Sox needed to win game six at Fenway Park. In one of the most thrilling World Series games of all time, Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk hit an extra inning home run to win the game and send the World Series to a seventh game.
With two out in the ninth, Yastrzemski flied out to center. The Big Red Machine, led by series MVP Pete Rose took game seven for the series win. Yaz hit .409 for the series going 9 for 29 with four runs batted in.
In 1978, the Red Sox and their arch rivals the New York Yankees ended the season tied for first place. A one game playoff would be played at Fenway Park to determine the Eastern Divison champ.
Cy Young Award winner Ron Guidry started for the Yankees. He had finished the year at 25-3 with a 1.71 ERA. In the second inning, Carl Yastrzemski put the Red Sox in the lead with a home run. It was the only home run that the left handed Guidry allowed to a left handed batter all season.
Light hitting Yankee short stop Bucky Dent again crushed the Red Sox fans when he put the Yanks into the lead with a home run off Red Sox pitcher Mike Torrez. Reggie Jackson added a home run and the Yankees beat the Red Sox 5-4 to earn a trip to the American League Playoff Series against the Kansas City Royals. Again, Yaz made the final out, popping up to third.
Carl Yastrzemski retired in 1983 after 23 seasons with the Red Sox. He shares the record for most games played with the same team with the Baltimore Oriole's Brooks Robinson.
He became the first player to get 3,000 hits and 400 home runs exclusively in the American League. His hitting over shadowed his excellent fielding as he collected seven career Gold Gloves. He also led the league in assists seven times.
Carl Yastrzemski was elected to Baseball's Hall Of Fame in 1989 in his first year of eligibility. He received 94.63 percent of the votes.
His number 8 was retired by the Boston Red Sox.
Yaz is ranked number 72 on the Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players.
Carl Yastrzemski's Stats and Awards:
American League Most Valuable Player in 1967
Triple Crown Winner in 1967
American League Batting Champion: 1963(.321), 1967(.326), 1968(.301)
Led the American league in Runs Scored 1967(112), 1970(125), 1974(93)
Led the American League in Hits 1963(183), 1967(189)
Led the American League in Home Runs in 1967(44)
Led the American League in RBIs in 1967(121)
8 time American League All Star
14 Seasons Batting over .300
Lifetime batting Average .285
1967 Hutch Award Winner
Led the American league in On Base Percentage 1963(.418), 1965(.395), 1967(.418), 1968(.426), 1970(.452)
American League Slugging Percentage Leader 1965(.536), 1967(.622), 1970(.592)
Led the American league in Total Bases 1967(360), 1970(335)
American league Leaders in Doubles 1963(40), 1965(45), 1966(39)
He was the oldest player in the American League from 1977-1983
Games Played- 3,308
At Bats- 1,1988
Runs Scored- 1,816
Home Runs- 452
Runs Batted In- 1,844
Stolen Bases- 168
On Base Percentage- .379
Slugging Average- .462
Total Bases- 5,539
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