Red Sox Fans

Oct. 22, 1967

Tom Yawkey shared his reasoning for making Carl Yastrzemski the second Red Sox player with a $100,000 per-year contract.

(Yastrzemski’s predecessor in left field, T. Williams, was the first.)

“He had a great year,” Yawkey said in an interview with the Globe’s Will McDonough. That was fairly inarguable. American League MVP, batting championship, triple-crown – .326 average, 44 homers, 121 RBIs – is a pretty great. Oops … forgot the Gold Glove.

Yawkey also cited “his leadership. His inspiration for the younger players.

“… He did things above and beyond the call of duty.”

Yaz’s only problem in 1968, and beyond, was not maintaining that level of production. Hoping for it, – never mind the absurdity of expecting it, was silly. But New England did, and a fair number of Red Sox fans took to booing his every move at Fenway Park.

Then in 1969 he had a feud with Dick Williams, leading to Williams’ firing. The masses sided with Williams.

But by the mid-1970s Yastrzemski was beloved once more. The only thing missing from his Hall of Fame resume was a World Series ring.

Understanding that the Red Sox’ eternal problem – pitching – was responsible for that bit of jewelry, writers voted him in the Hall, anyway.

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