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Sunday, April 12, 2020

Today in Baseball History: Carl Yastrzemski debuts, records first hit

The Boston Red Sox lost 5-2 to the Kansas City Athletics on Opening Day. Boston collected 10 hits but stranded 12 men on base. So began the post-Ted Williams era in Boston, a brave new world that lacked the presence of arguably the greatest hitter to ever live.

The Sox had new left fielder that day, as necessitated by Teddy Ballgame’s retirement. A 21-year-old from New York, the kid struck out twice and registered his first big league hit, and was promptly caught stealing for the third out of the inning. His name was Carl Yastrzemski, and the hit was the first of 3,419 he would record in the big leagues.

It boggles the mind that the Red Sox so easily transitioned from one Hall of Fame-level franchise cornerstone to the next. Yaz’s first season was relatively unremarkable, but he leaped from a 91 OPS+ to a 120 the next year and didn’t look back. He didn’t register an OPS+ under 100 for a season until he was 41, and went back to above-average marks for his final two years in the league.


QLE Posted: April 12, 2020 at 12:28 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: carl yastrzemski, history

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   1. John Northey Posted: April 12, 2020 at 02:13 AM (#5938754)
It is funny how franchises have that happen sometimes.

Red Sox LF: Williams, Yaz, Rice - Yaz last year in LF full time was 1972, 1974 Rice comes up at 21, 75 he is more or less full time in LF (lots of DH games). In 1988 Mike Greenwell took over LF while Rice went to DH, not a HOF'er but solid (25 WAR lifetime). Ramirez took over in 2001 (free agent) and was there until 2008, very productive (33.2 WAR) and if not for PEDs would be a HOF lock. But since his heyday it has been a mess.

As a Jays fan 1B was like that, not HOF quality but HOVG for a long time - Cecil Fielder (could've been wow, but was dumped to make room for the next guy), Fred McGriff (near HOF), John Olerud (58 WAR), Carlos Delgado (44 WAR). A few half decent guys since but no real stars (Encarnacion was wow, but more at 3B at first, then DH rather than 1B). When Vlad moves to 1B maybe a new generation of wow can start.
   2. Gch Posted: April 12, 2020 at 12:34 PM (#5938827)
This is cheating in the middle but the Jays at 3B basically went from Corey Koskie (not HOVG but he was averaging around 4 WAR/year before he came to Toronto) to Troy Glaus to Scott Rolen to a mix of Edwin and Jose to Brett Lawrie to Josh Donaldson to Vlad, which sounds like a pretty good 15 year run given the turnover.
   3. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 12, 2020 at 01:04 PM (#5938833)
spanning about 25 years, the Browns had Motley, Jim B, and then Leroy Kelly (though there were a couple years of Chet Hanulak and Ed Modlewski between Motley and Brown)
   4. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: April 12, 2020 at 01:38 PM (#5938840)
The DiMaggio to Mantle transition is famous, but it's easy to forget that DiMaggio was preceded by another hall of famer in Earle Combs. (Granted there were a couple years there where Combs shared the job with Ben Chapman, but Chapman was no slouch himself.)
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 12, 2020 at 02:18 PM (#5938849)
Bill Dickey to Yogi Berra to Elston Howard to Thurman Munson was a pretty good 50-year run (1929-79), with but a few short gaps when the NYY catcher position was briefly manned by less worthy folk.
   6. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 12, 2020 at 02:37 PM (#5938855)
The St. Louis Cardinals had a good run of first basemen: Bottomley to Mize to Musial to Cepeda to Hernandez to Clark.
   7. Ron J Posted: April 12, 2020 at 02:46 PM (#5938858)
#4 And don't forget Bobby Murder. Sure, didn't live up to the hype but he was a pretty good player.
   8. AndrewJ Posted: April 12, 2020 at 03:26 PM (#5938872)
The St. Louis Cardinals had a good run of first basemen

Decent run of left fielders, too.
   9. Itchy Row Posted: April 12, 2020 at 03:36 PM (#5938875)
The White Sox had a 40-year run at short with Hall of Famer Luke Appling, all-star Chico Carrasquel, HOFer Luis Aparicio, MVP vote-getter Ron Hansen, and Aparicio again.

If Jose Abreu hits 42 more HR, their last three first basemen over the last 30 years will be the top three in career HRs in team history.
   10. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: April 12, 2020 at 03:40 PM (#5938879)
The Reds started Concepcion then Larkin at SS more or less continuously from 1970 to 2004. 1986 was the transition year, with Kurt Stillwell getting a plurality of starts over the other two, before losing the job to Larkin and getting traded to KC.
   11. Hysterical & Useless Posted: April 12, 2020 at 03:43 PM (#5938882)
Bottomley to Mize to Musial to Cepeda to Hernandez to Clark.

Bill White had some very good years for the Redbirds between Musial and Cepeda.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: April 12, 2020 at 04:35 PM (#5938904)
And don't forget Bobby Murder.

with apologies to John Sterling:

"it's a long drive, deep to left and.... it's GONE! A MURDER INCORPORATED!


   13. Ron J Posted: April 12, 2020 at 06:20 PM (#5938938)
Damn you autocorrect. Perils of posting on a phone.

That's twice in fairly short order.

Ah well, I always wanted to be the comic relief.
   14. ramifications of an exciting 57i66135 Posted: April 12, 2020 at 08:37 PM (#5938974)

Jose Canseco @JoseCanseco
Happy Easter to everyone except Alex Rodriguez
   15. Walt Davis Posted: April 12, 2020 at 08:40 PM (#5938976)
We Cub fans look at it the other way. Somebody looked at this for me a few years ago and Cub (main) SS between Banks and Starlin Castro (followed by Russel/Baez combo) averaged around 1 WAR over about 50 years. And of course 3B post-Santo was a problem for a long time. And other than some good seasons out of Rick Monday and Dexter Fowler (and Jerome Walton that one time), CF has been lousy for 50 years too. That's right, PI can kinda look at this stuff.

From 1962 to 2009 ... the highest WAR was a 4 WAR season by Kessinger. Only 10 of 40 seasons (100+ game at SS) topped 2 WAR, 2 by Kessinger, 2 by DeJesus. Only 22 seasons toppped 1 WAR. 10 seasons were below replacement, 4 of those a full win below replacement. Kessinger had 3 of those below-replacement seasons and 3 more below 0.5 WAR. Naturally he was my favorite player as a kid.

And they are mostly recognizable names ... and most of them were there for several years. Kessinger 11, Dunston 7, DeJesus 5, Bowa and Theriot 3 each. DeJesus with 8.3 WAR in 5 fullish seasons was probably the best Cub SS of those 48 seasons.

3B wasn't nearly so bad in reality. Madlock hit, ARam hit, Cey was OK.

CF ... first, over the last 60 years, we've had only 36 seasons where any one player even got 100 games out there. 17 times they've made it to at least 2 WAR (I forget how much b-r hates Monday's defense). Only 27 times in 60 years has a CF played at least 100 games and produced at least 1 WAR. The best have been Adolfo Phillips (12 WAR in 3 years then off a cliff), Brian McRae (9 WAR in 3 years) and Fowler (6.5 WAR in 2 years). Even Jerome Walton's "big" year now rates just a 1.9 bWAR.
   16. Howie Menckel Posted: April 12, 2020 at 09:04 PM (#5938983)
Ah well, I always wanted to be the comic relief.

I owe you something stronger than the traditional BBTF Coke for putting that one up one a tee!

   17. Ron J Posted: April 12, 2020 at 09:12 PM (#5938985)
At least you nailed it real good.
   18. Howie Menckel Posted: April 12, 2020 at 09:25 PM (#5938991)
it's all about teamwork, Ron J

   19. baudib Posted: April 13, 2020 at 02:50 AM (#5939046)
My takeaway from posts 1 & 2 is that the Jays have really underachieved over the past 35 years, even with two WS titles.

In addition to the talent at the corners, they had Tony Fernandez, who was traded for a Hall of Famer at the beginning of his prime in Roberto Alomar. They had the best outfield in baseball in the mid-80s with Bell, Moseby and Barfield, later replaced by Devon White and Joe Carter + cast of characters. They had another Hall of Famer, Paul Molitor, for a couple years.

After the glory years, the team still produced Shawn Green, Shannon Stewart. Pitching, the farm system spit out two Cy Young winners in Pat Hentgen and Chris Carpenter. They signed Roger Clemens as a free agent and got another two Cy Youngs out of him. They traded Clemens for Wells but added another Hall of Famer in Roy Halladay.

Obviously they didn't get anything out of Carpenter, and they were a little thin at C and SS a lot of years, but man. That's a lot of talent going through there to only have 1 postseason appearance in 26 years.

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