Boston Red Sox top 25-man roster in franchise history

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Bench – Outfielder

Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports /

Carl Yastrzemski

Career Stats: .285/.379/.462, 452 HR, 1844 RBI, 168 SB, 94.8 WAR
With Red Sox: Played entire career in Boston

Carl (Yaz) Yastrzemski (pronounced YAS-TREM-SKI, as noted in 2004 movie “Fever Pitch”) may not have Boston Red Sox in his name anywhere, but he may as well have. Playing his entire 23-year career with the Sox, he is by no small measure one of their greatest players in history and could well stake claim to the title. He is the Red Sox all-time leader in hits, singles, doubles, runs, RBIs and games played. Indeed, he ranks number one in the history of baseball for games played with one club. He hit for the AL Triple Crown in 1967, something not replicated until 2013. So should you still struggle to pronounce the surprisingly straightforward name – you can always call him “Mr. Red Sox”.

Why then would Yaz be languishing on our bench? Well, possibly the only hitter who was his better at his natural position of left field was his predecessor, Ted Williams. Williams indeed, is the only player in Red Sox history to club more homers than Yaz and was a bigger offensive threat, there’s no doubt. But that’s not to suggest Yaz takes a back seat here, indeed he was in many respects the superior player to Williams. He had not just a prolific bat but majestic fielding ability, winning 7 Gold Gloves to go along with his obscene 18 appearances at the All-Star game.

It would be impossible to compile any list of greatest baseball players ever, never mind just the Red Sox, and not have Yaz somewhere in the offing. What does he bring from the bench? An impact bat, capable of making consistent contact late on in games, providing an insurance policy for Williams, or just about anyone really.

And his defence. His defence that, perhaps more than any offensive left fielder in Boston’s history, stands out. He knew the Green Monster intimately and played it flawlessly. Stick him in with a Red Sox lead and pitchers can go about their business confident that any rogue fly-balls sent to Yaz’s domain are as good as caught. Yaz is elite, clutch, impenetrable, every baseball superlative you can think of and best of all – he’s ours.

Next: Bench Outfielder