Celebrating Boston Red Sox baseball great Carl Yastrzemski.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Swinging Hard

Carl Yastrzemski first pitch 2007 World Series

Yaz gets the 2007 World Series off to a successful start!

Yaz was joined last night by 1967 Sox manager Dick Williams and 21 other members of the Impossible Dream team: Mike Andrews, Gary Bell, Dennis Bennett, Darrell Brandon, Galen Cisco, Hank Fischer, Russ Gibson, Dalton Jones, Bill Landis, Jim Landis, Jim Lonborg, Dave Morehead, Jerry Moses, Rico Petrocelli, Bill Rohr, Jose Santiago, Norm Siebern, Lee Stange, Jerry Stephenson, George Thomas and Gary Walewski. Richie Conigliaro, the brother of the late Tony Conigliaro, also took part in the pregame ceremony.

Many members of the 1967 team were also at Fenway Park for the home opener to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their American League title, the franchise’s first in 21 years.

“Not only did it bring the franchise back to life,” Yaz said of the 1967 team, “but I think it changed the whole attitude in the Red Sox’s organization. I think the organization became winners. I think after ’67, you expected to go out and win.”

Yaz thought the Sox would become a dynasty, but Tony Conigliaro got beaned, Lonborg tore up his knee skiing and Santiago popped out his elbow early the next season.

“You don’t replace players like that,” Yaz said.

Yaz compared Lonborg favorably with Josh Beckett, who started Game 1 last night.

The 1975 World Series is among the most famous in baseball history — especially for Carlton Fisk waving his game-winning home run in Game 6 fair, but Yaz thinks the 1967 World Series was just as memorable.

“I’d like to have seen Lonborg with one more day’s rest,” he said. “What a matchup that would have been between him and (Bob) Gibson.”

Yaz also wonders what would have happened if Jim Rice wasn’t hurt for the ’75 World Series.

“A lot of people forget that Rice didn’t play,” Yaz said. “A lot of people forget Conigliaro didn’t play in ’67.”


“This guy gave everything,” said Dwight Evans, Yaz’s former Red Sox teammate. “He wasn’t a man of big stature, but he had tremendous heart, tremendous drive. I played with him for 11 years and learned a lot from his just by his example. If someone asked me who was the best player I ever played with — it was Carl Yastrzemski.”

“The athlete is just bigger nowadays,” Yaz said. “Look at the shortstops in the ’60s and early ’70s, they’ll all Luis Aparicio-sized, and then the bigger shortstop came in with (Cal) Ripken.”

So how did he hit 452 home runs with such a slight build?

“Swung hard,” he said simply.


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