Celebrating Boston Red Sox baseball great Carl Yastrzemski.

Friday, August 31, 2007

I Didn't Know That!

According to Jen's husband at Snowball's Chance ...

The last player ever to get a hit off Satchel Paige was another Hall-of-Famer, Carl Yastrzemski, who four years earlier made his Major League debut....against the Kansas City Athletics.

Wikipedia has more ...
In 1965, Kansas City Athletics owner Charles O. Finley signed Paige, 59 at the time, for one game. On September 25, against the Boston Red Sox, Finley invited several Negro League veterans including Cool Papa Bell to be introduced before the game. Paige was in the bullpen, sitting on a rocking chair, being served coffee by a “nurse” between innings. He started the game by getting Jim Gosger out on a pop foul. The next man, Dalton Jones, reached first and went to second on an infield error, but was thrown out trying to reach third on a pitch in the dirt. Carl Yastrzemski doubled and Tony Conigliaro hit a fly ball to end the inning. The next six batters went down in order, including a strikeout of Bill Monbouquette. In the fourth inning, Paige took the mound, to be removed according to plan by Haywood Sullivan. He walked off to a boisterous ovation despite the small crowd of 9,000. The lights dimmed and, led by the PA announcer, the fans lit matches and cigarette lighters while singing “The Old Gray Mare.”

Thursday, August 30, 2007

You Are Nobody In Hungary!

Secrets of '67 ...

‘‘To be involved in a pennant race, and not to be 30 games out of first place by the All-Star break, was a completely different experience for me,’’ Yastrzemski said on Opening Day at Fenway this season. ‘‘Baseball was fun again. I think that’s what made a big difference in my year that year. I’ve always said that - that if we hadn’t been involved in a pennant race I never would have won the Triple Crown.

‘‘You weren’t looking to go out and hit home runs and drive in runs (necessarily); you were looking just to get on base. If you got on base with a walk or made a defensive play, after the middle half of the ’67 season, you’d get a standing ovation. You didn’t have to hit a home run.’’

Of course, he did anyway. Forty-four of them - a total he would never eclipse.

The secret? A three-pronged one.

First, he had put himself through hell in the offseason, training with Gene Berde, a Hungarian-born physiotherapist in Lynnfield. In NESN’s essential documentary on the ’67 season, ‘‘Impossible to Forget,’’ Berde tells an interviewer back then that after Yaz became winded after a brief workout in their first meeting, Berde scolded him, saying, ‘‘You know what you are? You are nobody in Hungary!’’’

Combine that with a couple of well-timed batting tips that season from Ted Williams (close your stance) and hitting coach Bobby Doerr (hold your hands higher) and - viola! - a baseball god was born.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Manny Ties Yaz

South Coast Today:

Manny becomes the 12th player in Major League history to hit 20 home runs for 13 consecutive seasons, and the 52 ties Carl Yastrzemski for the fourth-most by any player ever against New York. (Hank Greenberg's 53 are next.)

I'll bet Yaz never wore his pants legs that low.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Houston's Gain

Yaz chimes in at Jeff Bagwell's retirement party
The ceremony included video tributes from several current and former major league players, including recently enshrined Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, Ken Griffey Jr., Luis Gonzalez and Chipper Jones.

But the biggest surprise came from Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, Bagwell's childhood idol.

"I begged the Boston Red Sox not to trade you," Yastrzemski said of the infamous deal that sent Bagwell to Houston for pitcher Larry Andersen in 1990. "Boston's loss is Houston's gain. See you in Cooperstown."

That was a really lousy trade, wasn't it?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Secret Fishing Hole

From the Brunswick Times Record

BRUNSWICK — The privacy and serenity of Walter Reil's Bath Road property became a favorite vacation spot for one of the most legendary Boston Red Sox players ever — but after 38 years owning and operating the New Meadows Motel, a frustrating discord with railroad operators stain his otherwise fairy tale memories.

If you're not looking for it, the quaint motel campus can be easily lost behind the trees next to Bath Iron Works' boisterous Harding Plant on the Bath Road in Brunswick.

"I don't know how many times I've heard people say, 'I've been driving down this road for 20 years and I never realized you were there,'" remarked Reil, who plans to sell the approximately 16-acre property and its small neighborhood of cabin-style buildings.

That relative anonymity is precisely what attracted Carl Yastrzemski, a 1989 inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the last person to lead the Major Leagues in batting average, homeruns and runs batted in during the same season. The legend, known to Red Sox fans everywhere as "Yaz," could settle in for long summer stretches at the New Meadows Motel and sneak out to the Kennebec River to fish without wading through seas of adoring fans.

Reil, an avid Red Sox fan himself, still remembers the day Yaz checked in for the first time, back in 1996. Early in the week, Reil had gone about his regular morning rounds volunteering to drive patients to dialysis appointments.

"When I got back (to the motel), my wife said, 'You're never going to believe who was here,'" he recalled. "I said, 'Who?' She said, 'Carl Yastrzemski,' and I said, 'You're right, I don't believe you.'"

But sure enough, the following weekend the famous ballplayer showed up for his stay. After Reil fixed the Hall-of-Famer's boat a summer day thereafter, the two became fast friends. The man whose No. 8 is now retired from use by the Sox became a regular visitor to the east Brunswick getaway.

Thursday afternoon, Reil stepped out of the August heat into his air conditioned workshop. Hunting trophies and family photos cluttered the comfortable surroundings, as did a signed Yastrzemski jersey, a "Yaz" poster and numerous pictures of Reil and the Red Sox legend celebrating heavy stripers freshly pulled from the Kennebec.

Stories rolled off Reil's tongue, like the time Yaz surprised Reil's buddies by showing up for a Tuesday night poker game unannounced. Naturally, the starstruck players didn't object when Yastrzemski wanted to change the card game from poker to baseball.

"I told those guys that the six of us were probably the only people in the state of Maine that can say we've played 'baseball' with Carl Yastrzemski," Reil recalled.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Eternity With Yaz

Do replica jerseys decompose?

We knew Matt Damon was a big Bosox fan, we just didn't know how big. On "Live With Regis and Kelly" yesterday, cohost Regis Philbin said he bumped into "The Bourne Ultimatum" star at the movie's premiere and that our man Matt revealed something kind of weird: He wants to be buried in a Red Sox uniform, and not just any Sox uni. When this diehard is dead, he wants to be dressed in a No. 8 Sox jersey in honor of his hero Carl Yastrzemski.