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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Shaughnessy: Out of spotlight, Yastrzemski stays in game his way

Decent Shaughnessie, Yaz, and other rare sightings.

He is the lion in winter, wheeling into the shabby minor league complex at the dead end of Edison Road every morning before 8. Fifty years after his rookie season, the greatest living Red Sox player doesn’t want to be around the millionaire big leaguers and he doesn’t want to be around baby boomer fans he thrilled all those years ago. He just wants to work with anonymous young hitters, walk around the warning track by himself for an hour, then retreat to an afternoon of fishing or golf.

Carl Yastrzemski is our New England sports Salinger. Ava Gardner. Sandy Koufax. He just wants to be left alone. He knows you love him and you appreciate those glory days, but truthfully, it probably means more to you than it means to him.

“I’m not much of a conversationalist,’’ says the 71-year-old legend. “I don’t like to reminisce about when I played. I had my day in the sun and it’s over with.’’

...That’s Yaz when 55-year-old fans start talking about that final weekend series against the Twins in ’67.

“I find that everyone remembers more about it than I do,’’ says Yaz. “I just never think about having played baseball. I was very fortunate, very gifted. I think once I retired, I kind of said, ‘That’s it, there’s another life out there.’ ’’

Repoz Posted: March 16, 2011 at 09:38 AM | 53 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame, history, prospect reports, red sox, scouting

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   1. toratoratora Posted: March 16, 2011 at 12:37 PM (#3771487)
the greatest living Red Sox player


I think not...and this is coming from a guy who grew up worshipping Yaz as a kid.
Who's the greatest living Sox?
Pedro? Clemens?
I think it has to be one of those two. Each are in the short discussion for best of all time at their position, which is something that no other Sox, including Yaz, can say, or am I missing someone?

My money is on Pedro.

edited for spelling
   2. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 16, 2011 at 12:44 PM (#3771489)
Until radiated salt water gets into the system, it's still Ted Williams.
   3. toratoratora Posted: March 16, 2011 at 12:47 PM (#3771491)
You're stretching the definition of living a bit there. :-)
Lets say, the greatest living Sox, non-cyrogenically frozen TV dinner category....
   4. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: March 16, 2011 at 12:48 PM (#3771493)
If there's one thing Dan likes, it's white ex-Red Sox.
   5. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: March 16, 2011 at 12:49 PM (#3771494)
The greatest living Sox, btw, is Pedro, followed closely by Manny.
   6. Rally Posted: March 16, 2011 at 01:11 PM (#3771498)
Pedro, Clemens, Manny (and Boggs) only played part of their careers with the RS. By career value, I'd say it has to be Yaz.
   7. TomH Posted: March 16, 2011 at 01:12 PM (#3771499)
if you only count seasons in a Red Sox uniform, choosing other than Yaz is quite absurd, unless you are so peak-centric that you are using "wins above all-star level", or maybe 'greatets' only counts if you win a ring, so we have to give the award to pinch-runner Dave Roberts.
   8. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: March 16, 2011 at 01:15 PM (#3771500)
Yaz only played part of his career with the Sox, as well. He also played with the Millers and Capitals.

It's stupid to declare that because a player played on other Major League teams that he's somehow a lesser Red Sox.
   9. Rally Posted: March 16, 2011 at 01:23 PM (#3771502)
That a player played for other teams does not disqualify them. But what they do for other teams doesn't seem too relevant for ranking among greatest Red Sox ever. Yaz did more in his 20+ years as a Red Sock than Manny did in his 8 years. If you can't accept that, then let's just end the discussion with greatest Red Sock ever = Babe Ruth.

Actually, Yaz has a better peak than Manny anyway. OPS+ from 1965-1970 is 158. For Manny, 2001-2006, it's 161. The vast difference in defense gives Yaz the advantage.
   10. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: March 16, 2011 at 01:24 PM (#3771503)
I think it's probably Yaz. While players like Clemens and Pedro had incredible peaks while in Boston, let's not forget how amazing Yaz was at his peak. Few players' career stats were more impacted by the late 1960s dead-ball era than Yaz. 1965-1970 (ages 25 to 30), OPS+ for Yaz: 156, 119, 193, 170, 135, 177.


During that six year stretch, he won a triple crown, two batting titles, four times led the league in OBP, three times in SLG, four times in OPS. Four gold gloves, three top-10 MVP finishes, won it once. He was a first-ballot HOFer.

Also, although before my time, it is clear that most Red Sox devotee Baby Boomers see Yaz as the key to the surge in fandom for the Red Sox in New England, lasting up to this day. The Bruins and Celtics were dominant teams in New England in the 1960s, and the 1967 Impossible Dream Red Sox put them back on the map.

Add to that that he replaced Williams in LF, and did at a HOF level of a couple of decades, that he kept his mouth shut and just played baseball...well, for a lot of people, he is the logical successor to Williams as the greatest living Red Sox.
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 16, 2011 at 01:24 PM (#3771504)
Well, there has to be a limit somewhere. If Barry bonds had played a season as the Red Sox DH at 46, would he be the greatest living Red Sox?

I tend to count a player more as a Red Sox guy in the vast majority of his peak occurred with the Sox. I tend to count a player more as a Red Sox guy if he came up through the Sox system. So, I'd take Clemens as a Red Sox thanks to his being a Sox guy through the minors, and Pedro as a Red Sox because he only had one great season out of a Red Sox uniform. Manny actually had several of his best seasons with Cleveland and came up through their system - he's a split-career, in my mind. (he's also really obviously an inferior player to Yaz.)

The guy missing from the discussion is Wade Boggs. Depending on how you measure defense, he could easily have been better than Yaz for peak and xareer. I'd take Clemens' whole career over Boggs or Yaz, but depending on how much you discount the fact that for two of Clemens' four best seasons he was winning games for Toronto instead of the Red Sox, a good case could be made for either of Boggs or Yaz. A tendentious and heavily peak-focused case could be made for Pedro, especially if you take account of awesomeness.

EDIT: the fact that Boggs had four or five compiler seasons with the Yankees doesn't really detract from his case compared to Yaz's for me. Boggs' entire peak was with the Red Sox.
   12. Flynn Posted: March 16, 2011 at 01:29 PM (#3771506)
Yaz played for the Red Sox twice as long as Clemens and three times as long as Pedro. He's got great, great seasons of his own (1967, 1968 and 1970 I'll take against almost anybody not in the elite, tippy top of the Hall of Fame), he's got good seasons and then he's got a bunch of seasons where he wasn't an All-Star but added value. Pedro doesn't have those at all. He was either great, hurt, or an Expo/Met. Clemens has a much stronger case - there it's more what type of peak you prefer vs. career value. Clemens was definitely more valuable year in, year out, but he didn't hit Yaz's heights or have Yaz's longevity.
   13. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 16, 2011 at 01:40 PM (#3771509)
Clemens was definitely more valuable year in, year out, but he didn't hit Yaz's heights or have Yaz's longevity.
Clemens' 1990 is often lost to time, because the Sox got their asses beat in by the A's in the ALCS, but because I was 11 at the time, I'm never going to forget it. That was one of the greatest pitching seasons of all time - Clemens absolutely carried an otherwise-mediocre Red Sox team to the playoffs. I wasn't there for '67, obviously, but on the merits, Clemens' run from the All-Star break on was at least the equal of Yaz' run to the finish that year.

In August and September, Clemens started 8 games and allowed 10 runs (8 earned) in 60 innings. He went 7-1 with three complete games and two shutouts. (And this isn't even including Clemens' eight runs allowed in six starts in July.) He was a beast.

(WAR has Clemens' 1990 about exactly equal to Yaz' 1967 - both 9.5 WAR seasons, and that's giving Yaz credit as the best defensive corner player in the league.)
   14. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: March 16, 2011 at 01:42 PM (#3771511)
It's stupid to declare that because a player played on other Major League teams that he's somehow a lesser Red Sox.


Personally I would only count performance with the Red Sox in determining any kind of "best of" Red Sox. For example, I certainly would not include Tom Seaver on any Red Sox greatest list though obviously he would belong in the discussion with Pedro/Rocket.

Boggs, Clemens, Pedro and Manny all have overall bodies of work that probably push them past Yaz but for purposes of "greatest living Red Sox" all I'm interested in is their performance with the Red Sox. Just using BB Ref WAR Yaz' best eight year stretch is in fact better than Manny's tenure with the club.

Best 8 years with Boston
Boggs - 60.5 (damn!)
Yaz - 51.2
Manny - 35.8
   15. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 16, 2011 at 01:48 PM (#3771515)
Clemens' best eight years with Boston (1986-1992, 1994) are the equal of Boggs' by WAR. (59.1 total). Total Zone thinks Boggs was a gold glove defender, and if you discount him to being just pretty good - let alone discount him to the merely passable that most contemporary observers thought he was during his offensive peak - he falls behind Clemens and back toward Yaz.

Pedro's best eight seasons with Boston are actually seven seasons, and he's just about right there with Yaz, at 47.6 WAR with a better peak.
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 16, 2011 at 01:54 PM (#3771519)
The greatest living Red Sox player is obviously Carlos Quintana.
   17. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 16, 2011 at 01:57 PM (#3771520)
I've not no real standing here, but since Red Sox fans have no problem opining about the Yankees, what the hell.

1. Clemens - A longer peak in Boston than any other living player, including Yaz, especially when you factor in the level of competition. And 11 (technically 13) years is certainly long enough a stay to get him into the discussion.

2. Yaz - Great peak, but it didn't last very long compared to the others here, and it was in a weak league with far fewer leaderboard rivals than he would have had in the NL. But 23 years of 129 OPS+ should be enough to put him over anyone but Clemens.

3. Pedro - the best of the five in terms of talent, but even though his peak in Boston blows Yaz's out of the water (191 ERA+ at the height of the offensive era), he was only there for 7 years.

4. Boggs - Close enough to Manny in terms of rate stats (142 vs 155 OPS+) that his positional and fielding skills advantage plus his 3 extra years in Boston put him in the 4th spot.

5. Manny - Only 8 years in Boston, and his offensive advantage over Yaz isn't enough to make up for either that, or his defensive shortcomings.
   18. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: March 16, 2011 at 02:07 PM (#3771526)
I agree with a Yankee fan. My day is ruined.
   19. booond Posted: March 16, 2011 at 02:21 PM (#3771535)
Peak - Pedro (greatest pitcher of all-time or, at worst, top-5 in those years. Was the reason they went from contender to champion)

Career - Clemens (Longer peak than any of them and one of the 10 best pitchers ever.)

Yaz has great longevity but wasn't a great player beyond the age of 30.
   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 16, 2011 at 02:22 PM (#3771539)
Yaz, Boggs, Clemens, Pedro, Manny, in a somewhat subjective order. The non-Boston careers of Clemens & Manny (and to a lesser extent, Boggs) would seem to dilute their "Soxiness" a bit, as would the controversies around their departures, but YMMV.
   21. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 16, 2011 at 02:25 PM (#3771541)
So who's the greatest all-time Oriole, Cal or Cakes or Steady Eddie?
   22. toratoratora Posted: March 16, 2011 at 02:37 PM (#3771544)
tendentious


MCoA,
Thanks for a new word.
   23. Squash Posted: March 16, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3771545)
I guess Shaughnessy doesn't know it wasn't Gardner who said she wanted to be left alone.
   24. villageidiom Posted: March 16, 2011 at 02:39 PM (#3771547)
So who's the greatest all-time Oriole, Cal or Cakes or Steady Eddie?
Double-Stuf.
   25. villageidiom Posted: March 16, 2011 at 02:40 PM (#3771549)
I guess Shaughnessy doesn't know it wasn't Gardner who said she wanted to be left alone.
I just assumed she told him to leave her alone.
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: March 16, 2011 at 02:41 PM (#3771551)
Clemens' 1990 is often lost to time, because the Sox got their asses beat in by the A's in the ALCS, but because I was 11 at the time, I'm never going to forget it. That was one of the greatest pitching seasons of all time - Clemens absolutely carried an otherwise-mediocre Red Sox team to the playoffs. I wasn't there for '67, obviously, but on the merits, Clemens' run from the All-Star break on was at least the equal of Yaz' run to the finish that year.


And then the moron got his sorry ass tossed out of a playoff game. Not that they had any prayer of coming back (in the game, let alone the series), but that's the day rooting for Dear Rocket became a lot more difficult for me.

And it's Yaz.
   27. Flynn Posted: March 16, 2011 at 02:47 PM (#3771556)

(WAR has Clemens' 1990 about exactly equal to Yaz' 1967 - both 9.5 WAR seasons, and that's giving Yaz credit as the best defensive corner player in the league.)


It's equal to Yaz's offense. With defensive credit, Yaz's 1967 season is tied for 10th on the all-time list of position player single-season WAR.

And why wouldn't he be the best defensive corner outfielder in the league? His reputation certainly was that, even into his 30s. Heck, Zimmer put him out there instead of a 16 years younger Jim Rice for the playoff game.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 16, 2011 at 02:53 PM (#3771564)
It's equal to Yaz's offense. With defensive credit, Yaz's 1967 season is tied for 10th on the all-time list of position player single-season WAR.
I read the columns wrong. You're absolutely right.
   29. RJ in TO Posted: March 16, 2011 at 02:56 PM (#3771566)
And then the moron got his sorry ass tossed out of a playoff game.

For calling the ump a \"####### gutless ##########."
   30. Nasty Nate Posted: March 16, 2011 at 03:05 PM (#3771578)
Carl Yastrzemski is our New England sports Salinger. Ava Gardner. Sandy Koufax. He just wants to be left alone.


...but god forbid an active player whose first language is not English be like that, right, Shanky?
   31. Fridas Boss Posted: March 16, 2011 at 03:46 PM (#3771624)
8. Fly, the most judgment-free human being on Earth Posted: March 16, 2011 at 08:15 AM (#3771500)

Yaz only played part of his career with the Sox, as well. He also played with the Millers and Capitals.

It's stupid to declare that because a player played on other Major League teams that he's somehow a lesser Red Sox.


Tee hee.
   32. Dread Pirate Dave Roberts Posted: March 16, 2011 at 04:02 PM (#3771634)
So who's the greatest all-time Oriole, Cal or Cakes or Steady Eddie?
Double-Stuf.


*chuckle*

The greatest living Red Sox player is obviously Carlos Quintana.


I wish I could find it easily, but I remember reading a stat at the time saying that in 1990, when Carlos Quintana hit a fly ball or a line drive into left field, he was something like 50 for 52. He kind of gets short-changed for his very short career and that he preceeded Mo Vaughn at 1st for the Sox, but had he not gotten hurt in the car accident in 1992 he may have put up a career similar to Doug Mientkiewicz or David Segui. OBP heavy 1st baseman with plus defense and little power -- the type of player that doesn't lead someone to a pennant but definitely has some value so wouldn't hurt you.

Clemens' 1990 is often lost to time, because the Sox got their asses beat in by the A's in the ALCS, but because I was 11 at the time, I'm never going to forget it. That was one of the greatest pitching seasons of all time - Clemens absolutely carried an otherwise-mediocre Red Sox team to the playoffs. I wasn't there for '67, obviously, but on the merits, Clemens' run from the All-Star break on was at least the equal of Yaz' run to the finish that year.

In August and September, Clemens started 8 games and allowed 10 runs (8 earned) in 60 innings. He went 7-1 with three complete games and two shutouts. (And this isn't even including Clemens' eight runs allowed in six starts in July.) He was a beast.


But, but, but.... Bob Welch had 27 wins!!! Clemens couldn't beat Dave Stewart!!!
   33. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: March 16, 2011 at 04:10 PM (#3771640)
So who's the greatest all-time Oriole, Cal or Cakes or Steady Eddie?

Lefty Grove.
   34. booond Posted: March 16, 2011 at 04:34 PM (#3771655)
I wish I could find it easily, but I remember reading a stat at the time saying that in 1990, when Carlos Quintana hit a fly ball or a line drive into left field, he was something like 50 for 52. He kind of gets short-changed for his very short career and that he preceeded Mo Vaughn at 1st for the Sox, but had he not gotten hurt in the car accident in 1992 he may have put up a career similar to Doug Mientkiewicz or David Segui. OBP heavy 1st baseman with plus defense and little power -- the type of player that doesn't lead someone to a pennant but definitely has some value so wouldn't hurt you.


Agree. Mark Grace-lite.
   35. Rally Posted: March 16, 2011 at 04:49 PM (#3771669)
Clemens couldn't beat Dave Stewart!!!


That was uncanny, how Stewart owned Clemens. Stewart was sort of a lessor Jack Morris, considered a gamer, a tough SOB, and a guy who had a ton of value in the amount of innings he could pile up.

Stewart had a late start and not the same kind of postseason success, compared to Morris. They were both guys whose reputations as frontline starters were not supported by the ERAs they put up. They won a lot of games while pitching for teams that supported them well both offensively and defensively. Stewart had some ballpark help as well. At the time their innings totals were not as shocking, since a few others did it too (including Clemens). But looking back on it, I'm sure teams today would kill to have a 260 IP, 110 ERA+ horse at the front of the rotation.

I'll have to look up the Clemens-Stewart head to head games.
   36. Flynn Posted: March 16, 2011 at 04:56 PM (#3771675)
They even had similar stuff..a good, but not overpowering fastball with a splitter as their strikeout pitch. Both guys had more than the usual number of K's, but nothing exceptional. Both had more than the usual number of walks too, but nothing too bad.

And they both had mustaches that were part of their mystique.
   37. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 16, 2011 at 05:10 PM (#3771695)
I'll have to look up the Clemens-Stewart head to head games.

I don't know what the betting odds were on the first time that Clemens and Stewart matched up, but considering the records both of the two pitchers and their two teams, it had to have been one of the top shockers in baseball history. Clemens was 14 and 1 and pitching at home for the first place Red Sox, while Stewart had been kicking around both leagues as a prematurely washed up middle reliever, and was now pitching for a team that was buried in the AL West basement. Stewart didn't pitch all that well, but he ran into Clemens' worst start of the year out of 33 games, and the hex began.
   38. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: March 16, 2011 at 05:11 PM (#3771697)
And they both had mustaches that were part of their mystique.

Stew wore his hat better.
   39. Buzzkill Posted: March 16, 2011 at 06:03 PM (#3771762)
How does Yaz perform after 30 and what does his peak look like with a steady regiment of the cream and the clear?

Look what they did for Barry. From legendary to absolute alien.

Give me a break. Yaz hands down, end of story.
   40. McCoy Posted: March 16, 2011 at 06:13 PM (#3771779)
Wasn't Yaz doing "nautilus" at a pretty early stage in the baseball weight-lifting timeline?
   41. SoSH U at work Posted: March 16, 2011 at 06:25 PM (#3771789)
Wasn't Yaz doing "nautilus" at a pretty early stage in the baseball weight-lifting timeline?


Yes, he was among the very first who acknowledged working out.
   42. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: March 16, 2011 at 06:33 PM (#3771799)
Yes, he was among the very first who acknowledged working out.

Honus Wagner was the earliest proponent I am aware of. Seems to've done OK for him.

Having seen pictures of Mantle with his shirt off... did he really not lift weights, or do tons of pushups, or SOMEthing?
(I know, groupies drinking blah blah blah.)
   43. . Posted: March 16, 2011 at 06:36 PM (#3771803)
Yes, he was among the very first who acknowledged working out.

BB-Ref has Yaz at 5-11, 175. In other words, a midget.(**)

Someone please tell me that's a typo.

(**) David Eckstein at 5-7, 175 is stockier.
   44. Flynn Posted: March 16, 2011 at 06:41 PM (#3771807)
Yastrzemski was probably 5'11" insofar as actually being 5'11" rather than 5'9" but listed at 5'11", which happens a lot these days. There's no way in hell Eckstein is 175 lbs, for example.
   45. SoSH U at work Posted: March 16, 2011 at 06:47 PM (#3771816)
There's no way in hell Eckstein is 175 lbs, for example.


I find it a lot more likely that Eckstein is 175 than Yaz (at least latter-day Yaz) was.
   46. Eddie A Posted: March 16, 2011 at 06:55 PM (#3771828)
The Bruins and Celtics were dominant teams in New England in the 1960s


Well, the Celtics were. The Bruins sucked most of the decade.
   47. Steve Phillips' Hot Cougar (DrStankus) Posted: March 16, 2011 at 06:56 PM (#3771830)
In August and September, Clemens started 8 games and allowed 10 runs (8 earned) in 60 innings. He went 7-1 with three complete games and two shutouts. (And this isn't even including Clemens' eight runs allowed in six starts in July.) He was a beast.


It's fine and all that, but just two years before Orel Hershiser had an even better pitching performance down the stretch. 5 shutouts in a row, and it would have been 6 if the Dodgers had scored one run for his 10 innings of shutout ball in his final game of the year.
   48. Rally Posted: March 16, 2011 at 07:33 PM (#3771856)
I don't know what the betting odds were on the first time that Clemens and Stewart matched up, but considering the records both of the two pitchers and their two teams, it had to have been one of the top shockers in baseball history.


That wasn't their first matchup, they faced each other on 8-11-1984, when Stewart was a Ranger and Roger a rookie. Clemens won that matchup. Stewart won the next 9 (including playoff games.)
   49. Repoz Posted: March 16, 2011 at 09:29 PM (#3771978)
How does Yaz perform after 30 and what does his peak look like with a steady regiment of the cream and the clear?

Pretty damn good...provided it happened after the 1992 season.
   50. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 16, 2011 at 09:41 PM (#3771992)
I don't know what the betting odds were on the first time that Clemens and Stewart matched up, but considering the records both of the two pitchers and their two teams, it had to have been one of the top shockers in baseball history.

That wasn't their first matchup, they faced each other on 8-11-1984, when Stewart was a Ranger and Roger a rookie. Clemens won that matchup. Stewart won the next 9 (including playoff games.)


Didn't realize that, and it's good to know.
   51. bond1 Posted: March 16, 2011 at 10:23 PM (#3772021)
mantle spent his summers in the mines with his dad swinging a sledge hammer. He was a "screen monkey" whos job it was to break large rocks into smaller ones.
   52. Darren Posted: March 17, 2011 at 02:00 AM (#3772136)
Yaz had them all beat on peak if you do 1, 2, 3, or 4 year peak. When you get to 5, Boggs and Clemens catch up. Pedro is never particularly close and neither is Manny. Needless to say, he destroys them all on career Red Sox value.

Yaz was a super-duper star in his prime but that's easily forgotten because he peaked in the late 1960s and spent so many years after that as a good, not great player with an ugly-looking batting average.
   53. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: March 17, 2011 at 05:51 AM (#3772262)
And then the moron got his sorry ass tossed out of a playoff game. Not that they had any prayer of coming back (in the game, let alone the series), but that's the day rooting for Dear Rocket became a lot more difficult for me.

QFT. And I was there.

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