Carl Yastrzemski was one of the greatest players in MLB history, debuting in 1961 and spending his entire career with the Red Sox.
“Yaz” was a fixture at Fenway Park for more than two decades, playing 23 seasons and finishing with 3,419 hits, 452 homers, 1,844 RBIs and 1,816 runs. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 1989.
Here are 11 amazing facts that illustrate Yastrzemski’s enduring excellence.
• Yaz and Robinson also have another rare feat in common, as they are the only two players to win the All-Star Game MVP Award in a year when their team lost. Yastrzemski won All-Star Game MVP honors in 1970, going 4-for-6 with a double and an RBI in a game the American League lost 5-4 in 12 innings at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati.
• Yastrzemski won the AL Triple Crown in 1967. It was MLB’s last Triple Crown until Miguel Cabrera accomplished the feat in 2012. Yaz had 12.5 Wins Above Replacement (per Baseball-Reference) that year, which is the single-season high for any position player not named Babe Ruth during the Modern Era (since 1900).
• Yastrzemski also recorded 10.5 bWAR in 1968, making him one of 12 position players to register multiple seasons with at least 10.0 bWAR.
• Yaz debuted at age 21 in 1961 and played until he was 44 in 1983. He hit 202 home runs in his 20s ... and 202 home runs in his 30s.
• Yastrzemski hit 40-plus homers three times. He never had more than 28 in any other year, but he reached double figures in 22 of his 23 seasons. The only time he didn’t hit at least 10 home runs was the strike-shortened 1981 season, when he hit seven in 91 games.
• Yaz belted 10 homers in 119 games in 1983, his age-43 campaign. He’s one of two players to record a double-digit home run total in his age-43 season or older, along with longtime Red Sox teammate Carlton Fisk, who did it as a member of the White Sox in 1991.
• An expert at playing the carom off the Green Monster,Yastrzemski led the AL in outfield assists seven times. Only eight players have led their league in outfield assists four or more times, and Yaz is the only one to do it more than five times.
• Yastrzemski reached the postseason only twice in his career, but he made the most of his two appearances, hitting .369/.447/.600 with four homers, 11 RBIs and 15 runs in 17 games. After going 0-for-4 in his playoff debut, Yaz reached base safely in each of his final 16 postseason games. He owns the third-highest batting average in postseason history among players with at least 50 plate appearances.