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Yastrzemski (Icons of Major League Baseball) Hardcover – June 3, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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From the Publisher

Major League Baseball produced YAZ DVD included in the book!

About the Author

Carl Yastrzemski succeeded Ted Williams as left fielder for the Boston Red Sox. He led his team to the American League pennant in 1967, when he was also voted Most Valuable Player. In 1975, at the age of 37, he drove the Sox to the World Series again. Yastrzemski was the first AL player to reach 3,000 hits and 400 home runs and the last player to win baseball's fabled Triple Crown. In his 23 years with Boston, "Yaz" established numerous AL endurance records, including most games, most at bats and most consecutive seasons. He retired in 1983 and was enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.

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Product Details

  • Series: Icons of Major League Baseball
  • Hardcover: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Rugged Land; Har/DVD edition (June 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590710894
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590710890
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 8.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,435,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was a 7 year old Red Sox fan when Yaz was a rookie in Boston and I attended his last game in 1983. As did many fans, I spent most of my life assuming his name would be third in the line-up that day. Yet, in a city that has an obsessive relationship with its baseball team, Yaz' place in the hearts of Red Sox fans is a curious one.

On the plus side, he almost singlehandedly lifted the Sox out of the mediocrity of the late Williams era and into the World Series in 1967. He was at his best in the clutch (7 hits in 8 at bats in the final deciding games that year). He was a 5 tool player, albeit in moderate amounts, a Hall of Famer, the last Triple Crown winner and the first in the AL with 3000 hits and 400 home runs.

On the other hand, he made the mistake of following the legendary Ted Williams in leftfield. He hit 40 home runs 3 times from 1967 to 1970 and, due to the effect of injuries, never approached those power levels again. Yaz made the last out in game 7 of the 75 World Series and the 78 playoff game against the Yankees, both of which were decided by one run. Most importantly, Yaz seemed to be a cranky guy, smoking cigarettes in the runway, uncomfortable in interviews and often fighting injuries. He did not have the majesty of Williams, the grace of Lynn or the charisma of the always smiling Luis Tiant.

This book is a perfect antidote to that image. In the first person, Yaz tells of his endless preparations growing up in Eastern Long Island as well as the passion, work and focus he brought to every game. In an amazingly frank revelation, he tells us: "I'll level with you; I never enjoyed it. I never had any fun.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The late great sports writer of the Los Angeles Times, Jim Murray, once said, "You don't pronounce the name Yastrzemski, you sneeze it." The format of this book is great. It has several colored photographs with sufficient text material to keep youngsters interested who may be turned off by too much reading material. The accompanying DVD also provides the reader with highlights to add to the text. An interesting part of the DVD is the Carl Yastrzemski song which was recorded on The Impossible Dream LP record following the 1967 season. Here, on the DVD, however, the song is shortened from the original. Why only four stars? The book needed more careful editing. Page 138 mentions "Don" McAuliffe of the Detroit Tigers who ended up the 1967 season by grounding into his one and only double play of the season. The correct name, of course, should be Dick McAuliffe. In other instances just last names of opposing players are often used which made me think that perhaps the first name had been forgotten. Page 197 has a misprint stating, "The guy who led the club in winds in '77 was Bill Campbell..." Obviously the correct word would be wins. Page 237 begins the page with the capital letter "Y" in a box for the first word of "The." These were careless errors that should have been caught by a proofreader. I may sound picky, but the book rates a strong four stars with me. A great lesson for youngsters in this book is that, although Yaz and other athletes have ability, they still have to struggle and work hard to become the player they are. You don't simply show up and play the game. I know of three former Little Leaguers of mine from the 1970's who were big Yaz fans and are going to receive this as a gift. If you know of a young baseball fan treat him to this book, he'll love both the photos and text, and let him learn about a true sports hero. Our young people certainly need them.
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Format: Hardcover
One thing that's great about being a Red Sox fan is the huge selection of books about the team and its players. Here is a new autobiography of Yaz, apparently all in his own words since no co-author is listed. It's a very admirable package. The book is nicely written, capturing Yaz's development as a player and all the key moments in his career, a career highlighted by the memorable 1967 and 1975 seasons. Like Ted Williams before him, Yaz's individual achievements were enormous but the highest achievements of the teams he played for consisted only of near-misses. His greatest legacy, perhaps, is that he was a player who gave it everything he had, day in and day out, and made the utmost of his ability. Yaz confesses that he did not enjoy playing baseball so much as it was something that consumed him.

The collection of photographs in this book are the best I have seen in any baseball book, large, high-quality pictures spanning the period from the early days of baseball right up to Yaz's retirement. Many of the shots come from Sports Illustrated magazine.

As for the DVD, I can't give it any points for being well-organized. The clips are thrown together haphazardly with no narration to hold them together. Nonetheless there are some vintage moments captured, from Yaz's homers in the 1967 World Series to his emotional farewell at Fenway. It's hard to believe that farewell came 24 years ago.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm writing this review at a time when (1) Michael Vick has just been indicted for hosting dog fighting events (2) Mr. "I Didn't Know I Was Taking Steroids" Barry Bonds is on the threshold of breaking Hank Aaron's all time home run record (3) riders in the Tour de France are dropping like flies thanks to positive drug tests (4) NFL player Pacman Jones is under investigation for his involvement in a fight in Las Vegas that involved firearms and left one man paralyzed and a few other scandals that I just can't recall right now.

Carl Yastrzemski reminds me of a time - an era when the game and sports in general wasn't so "corrupted" by money. Of course, baseball, and every other sport has ALWAYS been a business, but money was, in my opinion, always a secondary thing. Now it seems, an athlete sees his sport as nothing more than a stepping stone to a lucrative endorsement contract. And sponsors couldn't give a damn about the character of the player who's pitching their product. The athlete could be an axe-murdering child molester for all NIKE cares - as long as he sells lots of running shoes for the company.

I came of age in the 60's and glommed onto the Boston Red Sox (despite living in southern California) as my favorite team at a very young age. And Yaz quickly became my favorite player.

I guess what I admired about him was the fact that he may not have been as gifted as some other players of the era or been blessed with incredible athletic prowess, but he worked very, very hard at his craft and always gave 100% effort. A consumate professional.
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