Sunday, February 22, 2009

#37 & 38 -- Carl Yastrzemski

Carl Yastrzemski

If Rico Petrocelli is a Red Sox hero, here's a guy who's in the Red Sox Pantheon of Gods. He’s a Hall of Famer, but on a back field in Spring Training in the main card. I think at this time the Red Sox were in Winter Haven, FL. (They shouldn’t complain….when Babe Ruth played for them, Spring Training was in Hot Springs, AR. Of course, that may have been so Mr. Ruth could play the horses.) Looks like the same dumpy place Rico Petrocelli was, without the other player in the background.

Yaz looks young on the main card. I remember him more from the mid-70's when he'd gotten the older and harder look to him. The card pose is the classic batting stance, which I like. The only complaint about the card is the cartoon on the back. If it's talking about him leading the league in assists, why does it show him making a catch? Would it have been too difficult to draw an infielder tagging a guy with the ump in the background making an out sign with the infielder having a word balloon saying something like, "Thanks, Carl!!"?

During a stretch in the late 60’s, Yaz was as good as anyone in the League. He was hitting .300 in 1968 when no one else in the AL could. He was hitting 40 homers when the mound was high and pitchers ruled. He was also the best defensive left fielder of his day and was remarkably consistent at the plate.

OK, the photo on the action card isn’t horrible. Looks like Yaz has smoked one on a hit and run. Is that Munson behind the plate? It looks like he's got dark Yankee colors, but that could also be Billy Freehan of the Tigers or Ray Fosse of the Indians.

Think about Yaz’ career. He replaced Ted Williams in left field for the Red Sox. How does it go replacing a legend? Ask Gene Bartow when he was at UCLA or Bobby Murcer following Mickey Mantle into centerfield. Sometimes no matter how great you are in your own right, it'll never be good enough.

Yaz was one of the few that could follow a legend. Then, Jim Rice replaced him in 1975, as Yaz moved to DH and play 1B until 1983. Just think, from about 1939 until 1986 the Sox had 3 regular left fielders and all of them were dominant MVPs during their career (Mike Greenwell was looking good to extend this. For a while). And now, they’re all in the Hall of Fame.


  1. I wouldn't be surprised if it was Munson as he's worked himself into a lot of cards during the '70s (I did a post on it awhile ago).

    But I can't check myself as I've wanted that Yaz in action card for awhile, but haven't gotten around to getting it.

  2. This reminds me of one of my favorite parts of the '72 set: two cards for many players, especially the best ones.