Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hall of Fame Thursday - Carl Yastrzemski

1972 Topps #38 Carl Yastrzemski In Action

20 years ago today the Boston Red Sox retired Carl Yastrzemski's #8.

Carl Yastrzemski played 23 seasons for the Boston Red Sox. His 3308 games played is 2nd on the all-time list behind only Pete Rose. Yaz played more games with one team than anyone in the history of the game. During those 3000+ games he racked up 3419 hits (6th all time), 452 Homers (33rd), 1816 runs (16th), 1844 RBIs 12th, 5539 total bases (8th).

In 1967 Yaz was the last player to win the triple crown. He batted .326 with 44 homers and 121 RBIs (OPS+ of 193). This year Albert Pujols is positioned to make a run at the rare accomplishment. After Wednesday's games Pujols led the league in Homers(36) and RBIs(97) and was 5th in BA at .324. He is behind Hanley Ramirez who is batting .340 and a few others.

In the age of Sabermatic stats is the Triple Crown important? or is it a novelty like hitting for the cycle? With all the new stats avaiable to us clearly Batting Average and RBIs are not held as highly as they were 40 years ago. At a bare minimum I think Batting Average should be replaced by On-Base Percentage. RBIs is always panned by Sabermaticians, but it is a stat I am fond of, to me very few player stats are so easily translated as contributions to the team.

If Pujols wins the triple crown, will Topps create a whole line of cards to commemorate the event, or will they just do a single seasons highlight card? I would love to see a subset featuring Pujols and pair it with another subset of the past triple crown winners.

For the Collector

There is an official Carl Yastrzemski Web Page. It features autographed items as low as $100 but most items are much higher.

Yastrzemski's rookie card is the 1960 Topps #148 which has gone for $44.22 recently. Graded versions have sold for $50.95. Roughly a dozen Yaz rookie cards sold for $56 to $75 over the last few weeks. Mint Condition cards sold for $3000-$5000.

As far as Autograph cards,
A Fading 07 Sweet Spot Classic #d to 35 went for $20. There were a handful of other autos out there, (mostly stickers) ranging from $31 to $100.

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