I am not a great speller but as Mark Twain said: I have no respect for a man who can only spell a word one way (or not). If it weren't for the little red squiggles on the bottom of the words, I would be in big trouble. In the age of typewriters, my editors would curse me, hate me, and eventually demote me to the sales department. This opening sort of introduces our subject today, Carl Yastrzemski. As someone who is both of Polish decent and multi-generations of Red Sox fandom, needless to say Yaz is a personal favorite. I was born in Albuquerque NM and that is the longest city I can spell without thinking. Similarly, because of my Boston and Red Sox roots, Carl Yastrzemski is the longest baseball player name I can spell without thinking. I once threatened to show off my Yaz collection and considering the Red Sox honored him outside Fenway on Sunday with a new statue, it seems an appropriate time to show it off.
First, let's look at the pages:
An interesting mix of faux vintage and very early all-time greats cards. That TCMA all time Red Sox cards has a great stadium light post in the background. It is also hiding a 1987 Hygrade Yaz. The 1990 Glossy all star in the middle is doubled up with the 1984 Glossy all star. I probably should have scanned the back of this one, huh? I am thrilled with how nice that 1986 Sportsflix card scanned; rarely do you get such a nice representation of a single picture much less the best one of the three.
Here we have an orgy of faux vintage goodness:
I was once very confused about the logo on that Golden Moments card. Turns out, it is considered a Red Sox logo because they used the red hats in the mid to late 70's - and the 'B' was blue on those (see the top two cards of this page for reference). The more you know...
We now get to some player era cards:
That 1983 Topps is not just one of my favorite Yaz cards, it is one of my all time favorite cards period. It is also his last Topps base card - pretty damn good way to go out. I am pretty sure that glossy mail in all star card in the middle is from the same series of photographs. The photo on that Drakes Big Hitters card is wonderful. It shows a full Fenway behind Yaz as he leaves the batters box. The crowd in that 1982 Fleer card celebrating his 3000th game? Not so impressive. Proof that Red Sox nation was not always so strong.
Some more early 80s's stuff.
Seeing double? Lots of 1981 cards on this page. And somehow, a couple of faux vintage cards wondered on to this page. I should probably reorganize my Yaz pages... The photo of him giving the raspberry on the American Pie card is quite amusing in an outtake sort of way. I wish they'd use more types of portraits like that on those reprint/faux vintage cards.
Ah, some gritty dark cardboard 70's Yaz cards:
Topps loved to celebrate his 1967 season, huh? There are four of them total on these pages, two of them alone on this one. I remember thinking as a kid how old Yaz looked on his 1978 and 1979 cards. I am now about the age Yaz was in the pictures on these cards. Funny how not-so-old he looks on them now. I have always been a big fan of both his 1977 Topps cards. I don't recall how I got that 1974 Topps card and I am still not sure if that is a b.b. hole or a pushpin gouge. Either way, that card was well loved or despised greatly by someone back in the day. The 1972 Topps has a great spring training shot and the 1970 Topps has a classic old Yankees Stadium pose. My, but Yaz has some fantastic cards. And if you are a hardcore devotee of Starting Nine, you know there is one more Yaz card hiding amongst my pages.
Alright, let's go to the boxes for some more shiny and vintage stuff:
That is the only game used Yaz I own and I pulled it from a box I bought when that product was new. I also pulled that Yaz manu-patch card back in 2009. I have good Yaz karma when it comes to these things, I suppose. That Topps Stars Progression card has quite the trio on it. I owned a 1960 Yaz rookie years and years ago and it was sold long ago in the big gotta-pay-the-rent purge of the early aughts. My shiny 2001 Archive Reserve reprint will have to do in its stead.
Some shiny numbered commemorative cards:
Oddly, that Passing the Torch card has no one on the other side. I thought the whole point of that set was to have players who passed the torch to other players. Shouldn't Jim Rice or Ted Williams be on the other side of that card? That 3000 hits club card is both die cut and too thick for the top loader it is in, thus it's crookedness.
Some more faux-vintage:
I am not 100% sure why these are in top loaders and not in the pages. Man, I definitely need to clean up my Yaz collection.
A foursome from the 1999 Fanfest:
The 1999 All Star game was at Fenway and I went to the Fanfest in the Hynes Convention Center. It was the first one I had ever gone to (but not the last). You had to buy a certain number of each companies pack and trade the wrappers in for their Yaz card. As you can see, I obediently did all four.
A few more inserts:
That Fleer one in the upper left should have the subtitle "keep your eye on the ball." Those Score cards on the bottom were some of the earliest retro insert cards. The one with Musial and Mantle is creatively titled 6-7-8. If I have to explain that to you, you are reading the wrong blog.
OK, I lied, a couple more inserts and finally some real vintage:
I once owned a beautiful 1971 Topps Yaz. It was clean, pack fresh, and well centered. If I believed in such things, I could/would have gotten it graded. I sold it on ebay relatively recently because I finally abandoned my overwhelming urge to build the '71 set. There is a much better looking 1974 Topps than the one in the pages. That 1973 Topps card is Milhouse's favorite. If I have to explain that to you, we cannot be friends.
One final batch of Yaz vintage cards:
As you can see, my vintage Yaz collection is not as impressive as my adoration of him may have suggested. Along with the rookie and the 1971, I once owned a 1961, 1962, and 1965. Alas, they are all gone. But let's focus on what I have rather than what I don't. Yastrzemski was a monster in the late 60's, setting hitting marks in an era when no was was hitting. Therefore, he shows up on a lot of league leader cards. In fact, he shows up first on the three big ones in the 1968 set due to his aforementioned monster 1967 Triple Crown year. It took until last year for that to happen again. My love of World Series cards wouldn't let me get rid of that epic 1968 card (also seen above in Archives reprint form). And of course, my eternal affection for oddball cards wouldn't let me sell that 1969 Topps decal. I am still not sure if they are like stickers or rubdowns or tattoos or what. While they are not super rare, I am not willing to find out.