Celebrating Boston Red Sox baseball great Carl Yastrzemski.

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.


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