Celebrating Boston Red Sox baseball great Carl Yastrzemski.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Captain Carl

Boston Globe reporter Stan Grossfeld spends a day fishing the Merrimack River with Number 8.

    SOMEWHERE NEAR PLUM ISLAND -- The striped bass are in a feeding frenzy, splashing about in shallow waters, gorging on bait fish. Carl Yastrzemski glides his boat upriver, grabs his fishing pole, and sends the lure screaming toward them. A line drive throw that approximates the distance from Fenway's Green Monster to second base. A throw Captain Carl perfected in a 23-year Hall of Fame career.

    Yaz works the rod, making the lure zigzag like a minnow. One striper breaks loose and chases it, snaps and misses. Strike one. Yaz giggles, and slows down his reeling, ever so slightly. The striper bolts again and there's a big splash as it gulps the lure. Yaz laughs, pulls back, sets the hook, his fists wrapped tightly over the rod, his hands up high, as in his old batting stance. He reels in the striper, which is not a keeper. Then he pulls out the needle-nose pliers and releases the hook. He leans forward and asks the striper a direct question: ''Where is your father?" The fish disappears back into the river.

    The great Yastrzemski, the last man to win the Triple Crown in 1967, is drifting downstream. It is a perfect September day. The weather is warm, the pennant race is hot. We will see more geese than people, and Yaz likes it that way.

    --- snip ---


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