Carl Yastrzemski played a season of freshman baseball and basketball at the University of Notre Dame before the Red Sox signed the skinny shortstop from Long Island for a $108,000 bonus in November 1958.
He filled out a bit and eventually settled in left field before making the major league club in spring training in 1961 … as the replacement in left field for legendary Ted Williams.
It took a couple of years for Yaz to get comfortable, but he broke out in 1963, going to his first All-Star Game, winning his first Gold Glove and winning the American League batting title while also leading the league in hits, doubles, walks and on-base percentage.
Yastrzemski topped the 20-homer mark in 1965 while leading the AL in doubles, OBP, slugging and OPS and led the league in doubles again in 1966.
In 1967, everything came together.
Yaz won the AL’s first Triple Crown since Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees in 1966, hitting .326 with 44 homers and 121 RBI, winning the MVP award while driving the Red Sox to their first pennant in 21 years.
He was fourth in the MVP voting in 1970 after hitting 40 home runs and leading the league in runs scored and total bases and continued to be productive right up until the end.
By the time Yaz retired at the end of the 1983 season, he was an 18-time All-Star, a three-time batting champ (he picked up No. 3 in 1968) and a seven-time Gold Glove winner.
He is also the only player in Red Sox history with at least 3,000 hits in their uniform finishing his 23-year run with 3,419.
Yaz hit .285/.379/.841, an OPS+ of 130, with 452 home runs, 1,844 RBI, 1,816 runs scored and 168 stolen bases.
In two postseasons, he hit .369/.447/1.047 with four homers, 11 RBI and 15 runs in 17 games in 1967 and 1975. He had three home runs and was 10-for-25 in Boston’s seven-game loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1967 World Series.
Yastrzemski earned induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first time on the ballot in 1989.