Carl Yastrzemski

There seems to have been an odd relationship between Yaz and the Boston faithful. Part of that seemes to stem from unfair expectations early in his career, when he replaced Ted Williams in left field. Boston fans wanted him to be like Ted, but of course he couldn’t possibly be. As Robert Creamer wrote in Sports Illustrated in 1963:

Yastrzemski is not as scientific a batter as Williams. Ted never swung at a pitch he considered out of the strike zone, and he received a great many walks, but Yaz is so eager to hit the ball that he often goes after bad pitches. He acts as though he would rather be hanged from the left-field wall in Fenway Park than take a pitch that might be called a strike.

In the same article, Boston GM Pinky Higgins unwittingly made the case for why Yaz should be in left field on this team rather than Williams:

“You ought to see Yastrzemski play that field. Ted played the wall pretty good, you know, but Yastrzemski plays it perfectly. He takes balls off that wall like — well, I don’t believe there’s a ball hit off that wall that he doesn’t hold it to a single. And he cuts off runs. They don’t score from second when he takes a base hit off the wall. That’s why he’s there. He’s more valuable in left than in center.