Carl Yastrzemski

From Academic Kids

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Carl "Yaz" Yastrzemski

Carl Michael Yastrzemski (born August 22, 1939 in Southampton, New York, United States) was a Major League Baseball player of Polish origin. He had an excellent 23-year career, playing only for the Boston Red Sox. Primarily a left fielder, he played some first base and served as a designated hitter as he aged.

Raised on his father's potato farm, "Yaz" attended Notre Dame briefly before embarking on his baseball career and began his major-league career in 1961. From the beginning, there was tremendous pressure on him to perform, as he succeeded to the position of Sox legend Ted Williams. His first two years are viewed as being solid but not spectacular, but in 1963 he won the American League batting championship with a batting average of .321.

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Yaz - last at-bat in Tiger Stadium, Detroit, Michigan, 1983

Yastrzemski enjoyed his best season in 1967, when he won the American League Triple Crown with a .326 batting average, 44 home runs and 126 RBI. He is the last hitter to have won the Triple Crown. However, five different pitchers have since won the pitchers' version. He was voted Most Valuable Player almost unanimously (one voter chose CÚsar Tovar of the Twins).

1967 was the season of the "Impossible Dream" for the Red Sox, who rebounded from a ninth-place finish a year before to win the American League pennant. The Red Sox lost the World Series, by four games to three, to the St. Louis Cardinals, losing three times to Bob Gibson. In that season, Yastrzemski also won the Hickok Belt as top professional athlete of the year and Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award.

Again in 1968 Yastrzemski won the batting championship. Because of the competitive advantages pitchers enjoyed between 1963 and 1968, Yastrzemski's .301 mark has been the lowest average of any batting champion in major league history. He had many more strong seasons, consistently finishing in the top ten in the league in many statistical categories.

Yastrzemski and the Boston Red Sox would suffer another World Series loss in 1975, losing 4 games to 3 to the Cincinnati Reds. Yaz was the final out in Game 7, trailing by one run. Coincidentally, he also made the final out of the 1978 one-game playoff for the AL East division championship which was decided by Bucky Dent's homer.

Yastrzemski retired in 1983 at the age of 44. No player has had a longer career with only one team. His final career statistics include 3308 games played (second all-time), 452 home runs, 1844 RBI, and a batting average of .285. He had 1845 walks in his career, sixth all-time. Yaz is the only American League player to ever collect over 3,000 hits and 400 home runs.

An 18-time All-Star, Yastrzemski was an outstanding defensive player: he mastered the art of playing the tricky bounces that result from line drives hitting Fenway's Green Monster, and won seven Gold Glove Awards in his career. One of the top players of his era, he was elected to the United States Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, with the support of 94% of voters.

In his career with the Red Sox, he wore uniform number 8 from start to finish. The Red Sox retired this number after Yaz was elected to the Hall of Fame. He is currently a roving instructor with the Red Sox.

Regular season stats


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