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Carl Yastrzemski's odd career

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
    Like I said Yaz was productive in the 1970's but hardly the elite player he was from 1964-70.
    Yaz 62-66: 132 wRC+, 5.6 WAR per 600 PA
    Yaz 67-70: 169 wRC+, 8.5 WAR per 600 PA
    Yaz 71-77: 125 wRC+, 4.0 WAR per 600 PA
    Yaz 78-83: 109 wRC+, 2.0 WAR per 600 PA

    I cut out his rookie season, because it sucked compared to his 62-66. Otherwise, his career falls into 4 pretty distinct categories. He had a huge 4 year run from 67-70. But on either side of that run he was a very good, but not great, player. Then he struggled a bit at the end of his career, understandable as he was in his late 30's and 40's.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by willshad View Post
      If you look at it closely, Yaz actually only had three (MAYBE 4) 'great ' seasons. other than that, he was 'good' for many years. In fact, if you take out his three best seasons, he is a very good match for Harold Baines, maybe worse if we consider his huge home/road splits.
      Setting aside the fact that if we gave Harold those four seasons he would waltz into the hall of fame, Yaz has 183 fielding runs above average, Baines -12.

      You know, when I was living in Boston in the 70s, every baseball year would start with "fans" wondering how Yaz was going to let them down this year and would end with them talking about what a mutt he was. But I never heard a word said against his defense, and it was always a pleasure to out to the park and watch him at first or in left.
      Last edited by Jackaroo Dave; 01-03-2013, 01:33 AM.
      Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

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      • #18
        --Declining in your 30s is not odd, but abruptly dropping off several levels from your peak and staying at that level for a very long time IS odd. Yaz was quite posssibly the best player in baseball in the back half of the 1960s (or 66-70 to be precise). He was a threat to win the batting title AND hit 40 Hr in those years. After 1970 he was never close to doing either.
        --His batting eye stayed intact, but the results when he actually hit the ball dropped to something close to league average. His BA dropping off is pretty common for even the biggest stars in their 30s, but the accompaning power outage far less so. Young Yaz had a rep for being a superstar from the neck down. He figured things out and put it all together for a tremendous peak. Then he was pretty clearly was not the same guy physically in the 2nd half of his career, but was still able to be a good player because he retained the mental stardom.

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        • #19
          Yaz got the most out of his ability and was not a huge physical guy. He made numerous great plays in left field, and I still can picture one play where Yaz threw out a runner at the plate and he ended up on his hands and knees. He was an aggressive baserunner when he was younger and that no doubt contributed to his injuries. I recall he changed his batting stance from time to time.

          But the major reason for his declining numbers was copying my batting stance in the 1970's. ;-)
          "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
          "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

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          • #20
            there's nothing odd about being great during the first half of a career and not as great during the second half of a career.
            My top 10 players:

            1. Babe Ruth
            2. Barry Bonds
            3. Ty Cobb
            4. Ted Williams
            5. Willie Mays
            6. Alex Rodriguez
            7. Hank Aaron
            8. Honus Wagner
            9. Lou Gehrig
            10. Mickey Mantle

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            • #21
              I just realized he has an awful amount of hits for someone that never had a 200+ hit season. I'm going to guess no one else has 3,400+ hits without at least one.
              Lou Gehrig is the Truest Yankee of them all!

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              • #22
                --Ted Williams never had 200 hits either. Great batting eyes tend to get less hits cause they are taking the free pass if pitchers are throwing strikes. Of course Yaz only had a few years where he hit like Williams did almost every year and the years he was winning batting titles hits were harder to come by then any other time in baseball history.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by leecemark View Post
                  --Ted Williams never had 200 hits either. Great batting eyes tend to get less hits cause they are taking the free pass if pitchers are throwing strikes. Of course Yaz only had a few years where he hit like Williams did almost every year and the years he was winning batting titles hits were harder to come by then any other time in baseball history.
                  Yes but Ted also doesn't have 3,000 hits, let alone 3,400+.
                  Lou Gehrig is the Truest Yankee of them all!

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                  • #24
                    I remember reading as a teen back in the late '80s an interview with Yaz. In it he said he didn't think of himself as a great player, just a good one that worked hard every day and was fortunate enough to play in as many games as he did (3,308) over as many years as he did (23). He said that was why he amassed all those counting numbers, staying in relatively decent health over the long haul. Of course that doesn't explain the steep decline, just the steadiness of his long career in Boston.

                    Looking at his numbers right now, it is amazing that he managed 3419 hits, 646 2B (only hit 30 once after 1968), and 1844 RBI (only drove in 100+ 5 times and only twice after 1970). He was just a decent hardworking player after 1970. My friend got to meet him in spring training back in the early 1070s (Yaz was his idol) and was surprised that he would downplay his accomplishments. My grandfather met him a couple times in the 1980s and said the same thing. Just wanted to be seen as a steady player, not a superstar.
                    "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." Dizzy Dean

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                    • #25
                      Yaz is tied with Cobb for the AL record for most seasons with over 100 hits(22).Pete Rose has the ML record of 23.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Nimrod View Post
                        Yaz is tied with Cobb for the AL record for most seasons with over 100 hits(22).Pete Rose has the ML record of 23.
                        Wow, Jeter only has 17, would love to see him break it but 5 years just to tie the AL record will be tough. Then again, 5 more decent years and he's over 4,000.
                        Lou Gehrig is the Truest Yankee of them all!

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                        • #27
                          I'm too young to remember, but I am curious as to what the general pereception of Yaz was during the 70s. I would think that, after 1967 expectations for him were ridiculously high, and he was seen as a huge disappointment every year except for 1970. Yet, he was still being voted to the all star team every season until 1979, and received MVP votes almost every year until 1978 as well. obviously, the fans as well as the media still viewed him as a great player. Was he just getting votes based on reputation, or because he was so 'beloved'? Anyone could see that he wasn't the player he once was. if you compare him to someone like Tim Raines, who had a similar career path, Raines never made the all star team after age 27, and only had one 17th place MVP finish, despite some solid seasons.
                          Last edited by willshad; 01-05-2013, 01:37 PM.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by willshad View Post
                            I'm too young to remember, but I am curious as to what the general pereception of Yaz was during the 70s. I would think that, after 1967 expectations for him were ridiculously high, and he was seen as a huge disappointment every year except for 1970. Yet, he was still being voted to the all star team every season until 1979, and received MVP votes almost every year until 1978 as well. obviously, the fans as well as the media still viewed him as a great player. Was he just getting votes based on reputation, or because he was so 'beloved'? Anyone could see that he wasn't the player he once was. if you compare him to someone like Tim Raines, who had a similar career path, Raines never made the all star team after age 27, and only had one 17th place MVP finish, despite some solid seasons.
                            Again, living in Boston I felt that fans made Yaz bear the weight not only of his own "shortcomings" but their perennial disappointment in the team's finishes (except 75, of course, and in 78 they were distracted. Nevertheless, I'm sure that anyone who had an all star vote in Boston picked Yaz.

                            To be fair, the disappointment stemmed from their expectation every year that the old Yaz was coming back.

                            This is just one subjective opinion, but I think you have hit on something. It's common, of course, for a superstar to get named to the all star team even in an off year, especially if the other candidates are in their first all star calibre season. Again, it's my impression, but it seemed as if Yaz was seen as having an off year 10 years in a row, rather than just declining. Perhaps because it started so early, and he stayed at the same lower level for so long, rather than going further downhill fast.
                            Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

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                            • #29
                              I for one am convinced Yaz has been over-rated. He is standard-bearer for someone who starts out GREAT and then declines and levels off while still very young. And he still gets full credit for being at that high level for the whole era by fans who don't bother to look up the numbers.

                              There is another good example in the same league, just ten years before in Al Kaline.

                              Want a pitcher? Robin Roberts is of that mold. Hitters tend to be better examples of what I am talking about. If you are little below expectations as a pitcher, you are tougher to hide. Vida Blue was a good candidate for this type of over rated player but he quit playing for relevant teams by the age of 26. So fans stopped rating him one way or the other. Plus pitcher injuries are blamed for much of that decline and unrealized early expectations.

                              I am not saying Yaz is something less that a terrific player. I just think many fans took the memories of his early years and stretched them out over his entire LONG LONG career.

                              He slugged .430 for the last 7300 plate appearances of his career. And if you visited Boston from 71-83, all they would want to talk about would be his years 67-70 and the fact he managed 300 total bases at the age of 22.
                              Last edited by Second Base Coach; 01-05-2013, 05:58 PM.
                              Your Second Base Coach
                              Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey started 833 times and the Dodgers went 498-335, for a .598 winning percentage. That’s equal to a team going 97-65 over a season. On those occasions when at least one of them missed his start, the Dodgers were 306-267-1, which is a .534 clip. That works out to a team going 87-75. So having all four of them added 10 wins to the Dodgers per year.
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5hCIvMule0

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Second Base Coach View Post
                                I for one am convinced Yaz has been over-rated. He is standard-bearer for someone who starts out GREAT and then declines and levels off while still very young. And he still gets full credit for being at that high level for the whole era by fans who don't bother to look up the numbers.

                                There is another good example in the same league, just ten years before in Al Kaline.

                                Want a pitcher? Robin Roberts is of that mold. Hitters tend to be better examples of what I am talking about. If you are little below expectations as a pitcher, you are tougher to hide. Vida Blue was a good candidate for this type of over rated player but he quit playing for relevant teams by the age of 26. So fans stopped rating him one way or the other. Plus pitcher injuries are blamed for much of that decline and unrealized early expectations.

                                I am not saying Yaz is something less that a terrific player. I just think many fans took the memories of his early years and stretched them out over his entire LONG LONG career.

                                He slugged .430 for the last 7300 plate appearances of his career. And if you visited Boston from 71-83, all they would want to talk about would be his years 67-70 and the fact he managed 300 total bases at the age of 22.
                                What do I need your numbers for, man? Who do you think knows more about him, the fans that watched, and loved, him? Or some spreadsheet? [/parody]

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