Date of birth: 22 August 1939
Primary position: Left Fielder
Elected to Red Sox Hall of Fame: 1995
Elected to Red Sox Hall of Fame: 1989
When Red Sox legend Ted Williams retired after the 1960 season, Opening Day of the 1961 season saw a fresh-faced rookie with the number 8 on his back take Williams’ spot in left field. 23 years later, Carl Yastrzemski, or “Yaz” as Red Sox fans everywhere knew him, retired with the assurance that he would follow Williams into the Hall of Fame.
Yastrzemski was already well-known by 1967, having made the American League All-Star team three times in his first six seasons, but that was the year that the Red Sox went from finishing ninth the year before to winning the American League pennant for the first time in 21 years. He won not only MVP honors but the batting Triple Crown after averaging .326 at the plate, driving in 121 runs, and leaving the yard 44 times; he is the last player to have accomplished that feat in either league and joined Williams as the only Red Sox players to earn this recognition. Although the Red Sox would lose the Fall Classic in seven games to St. Louis, Yaz batted .400 with three home runs and five RBI.
Steady production at the plate continued to be the norm for Yaz through his career, batting .285 for his career and better than .300 in six different seasons. He also managed to collect 3,419 hits, sixth all-time in major league history, and hit 452 home runs, the only American League player and the fourth player ever to collect 3,000 hits and 400 home runs, joining Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays.
Yaz also won seven Gold Gloves as an outfielder between 1963 and 1977, though he also saw many games at first base and, later in his career, as the designated hitter. In addition, Yaz appeared in one other post-season as a member of the 1975 pennant winners. In the AL championship series against Oakland, Yaz was again clutch at the plate, batting .455 with a home run and two RBI; in the World Series, he batted .310 with four RBI.
Yastrzemski finally retired after the 1983 season after playing in 3,308 games for Boston, the most appearances by a player in a Red Sox uniform. Elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1989, he is also one of only seven former Red Sox players to have his number (8) retired.
Career Batting Statistics through 2018 Season
Awards and Recognition with Boston
All-Star Game MVP Award, 1970
Batting Champion (.321), 1963
Batting Champion (.326), 1967
Batting Champion (.301), 1968
Batting Triple Crown (0.326, 44 HR, 121 RBI), 1967
Gold Glove Award (LF), 1963
Gold Glove Award (LF), 1965
Gold Glove Award (OF), 1968
Gold Glove Award (OF), 1969
Gold Glove Award (OF), 1971
Gold Glove Award (OF), 1977
Home Run Champion (44), 1967
Hutch Award, 1967
Most Valuable Player Award, 1967
RBI Champion (121), 1967
The Sporting News Major League Player of the Year, 1967
Memorable Moments for Carl Yastrzemski
- 28 November 1958 - The Red Sox sign Notre Dame sophomore Carl Yastrzemski to a minor league contract worth $108,000.
- 11 April 1961 - Carl Yastrzemski makes his major league debut at Fenway Park, going 1-for-5 with a single as the Sox lose the season opener 5-2 to the Athletics.
- 9 May 1961 - In Los Angeles playing against the expansion Angels, Carl Yastrzemski hits his first career home run in an 8-7 loss.
- 14 May 1965 - Carl Yastrzemski hits for the cycle, blasts two home runs, and drives in five runs, but the Red Sox still suffer a 12-8 loss to the Tigers at Fenway Park.
- 16 April 1967 - Outfielders Carl Yastrzemski and Tony Conigliaro collect five apiece, but Boston loses 7-6 in 18 innings versus New York and Yankees Stadium.
- 15 November 1967 - Triple Crown winner Carl Yastrzemski easily walks away with the American League Most Valuable Player award, receiving 19 of 20 first-place votes.
- 10 April 1968 - Carl Yastrzemski hits two home runs in a season-opening 7-3 win over the Tigers in Detroit; the first is of the inside-the-park variety and the second clears the outfield fence.
- 2 October 1972 - Needing to win two-of-three in Detroit, Boston loses the first game 4-1 in part to a costly base running mishap; the Red Sox lose the next day and finish a half-game out of first place behind the Tigers.
- 25 July 1974 - Carl Yastrzemski collects his 300th career home run in a 12-4 win over the Tigers in Detroit; the blast comes off 1968 World Series MVP Mickey Lolich.
- 16 June 1979 - Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski collects his 1,000th extra-base hit and shortstop Rick Burleson hits an inside-the-park home run as Boston beats Chicago, 11-5.
- 24 July 1979 - Carl Yastrzemski sets another mark in the Red Sox record books with his 400th home run in the seventh inning in a 7-3 victory over the Athletics at Fenway Park.
- 12 September 1979 - Facing the Yankees, Carl Yastrzemski collects the 3,000th hit of his career, a single in the eighth inning, as Boston wins 9-2 over New York at Fenway Park.
- 25 May 1981 - Carl Yastrzemski plays in his 3,000th career game, all coming with Boston, and scores the winning run in an 8-7 win over Cleveland at Fenway Park.
- 1 October 1983 - Carl Yastrzemski is honored during pre-game ceremonies at Fenway Park and takes two "final laps" around Fenway Park as the home team loses 3-1 to the Indians.
- 2 October 1983 - In his 3,038th and final game, Carl Yastrzemski plays left field for the first time all season and goes 1-for-3 with a single as Boston bests Cleveland 3-1 at Fenway Park. "Yaz" takes one more "final lap" at the end of the game and also spends an hour following the game signing autographs outside the park.
- 9 January 1989 - Carl Yastrzemski is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot.
- 6 August 1989 - The Red Sox retire Carl Yastrzemski's number eight and Boston follows the pre-game ceremonies with a 6-2 win over Cleveland.
- 12 January 2009 - Former Red Sox left fielder Jim Rice, who spent all of his 16 years in baseball with Boston, is elected to the Hall of Fame in his final year of eligibility. Rice becomes the third player in Red Sox history to spend the bulk of his career playing left field for Boston, following in the footsteps of Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.
- 2 May 2014 - Second baseman Dustin Pedroia hits his 100th career home run, a grand slam off of Athletics pitcher Ryan Cook, as Boston wins 7-1 over Oakland at Fenway Park. Pedroia becomes the third Red Sox player behind Mo Vaughn and David Ortiz to reach the milestone with a grand slam and the second player in team history behind Carl Yastrzemski to reach 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases.