Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Simply Yaz

Someone recently mentioned that there hadn't been a poll on this blog for some time. I normally don't reward people for telling others what to do on their blog. But I'm in the right kind of vintagey mood, and a poll is needed for this.

It's time to determine the best 1970s card of another '70s star. I apologize for the blog title. But it's hard to come up with something catchy for Carl Yastrzemski. He wasn't the kind of player who drew attention to himself.

Yastrzemski was a constant presence when I grew up. He was already an aging veteran by the time I started following baseball, and it wasn't long before I knew that this was a guy that you revered. He played the game right and anyone who followed the Red Sox looked up to Yaz. In fact, I'd say that anyone who wasn't a Yankees fan had respect for Yastrzemski.

Yaz seemed to be a living, breathing example of the Red Sox's nearly century long struggle to win a World Series title. I wasn't around when Yaz won the Triple Crown, so maybe the game was easy for him as a youngster, but when I knew him it seemed like a bit of struggle. He was all concentration and business. But he always seemed to have a pained look on his face. During his final years, his body wasn't holding up.

He made the final out in the Red Sox's loss in the 1975 World Series and again in the 1978 special playoff game against the Yankees. I remember watching his foul pop to third base in the basement rec room of a Yankee fan.


So, Yaz WAS the Red Sox for me, and when I heard his 3,000th hit on the radio (yes, the radio), I was as thrilled for him as a family member.

Without too many more words, here are his 1970s cards. Vote for the best in the poll on the left.

1970: This is one of three 1970s Yaz cards that I don't have. Here, Yaz poses in Yankee Stadium. He grew up on Long Island. I wonder if he was a Yankee fan?

1971: Again, Yaz at Yankee Stadium. It's possible this was from the same shoot as the 1970 card. This is one of the less than 100 cards that I need to complete the '71 set.

1972: Yaz is holding the bat a little higher than in the 1970 card. This pose appears a lot on his cards. Not an exciting guy, not an exciting poser. (His 1972 In Action card is a lot better).

It looks like he's posing next to a plot of land being groomed for a housing development.


1973: I have a feeling Yastremski didn't want to do a lot for these photos. This appears to be another spring training shot. This is the last of the '70s Yaz cards I don't have.

1974: Here, Yaz is going with the bat extended pose. That's about as much excitement as you're going to get from him. Notice, he hasn't cracked a smile yet. And he won't.

1975 Topps: Ah, another batting pose shot. At least we get to see his No. 8 here. Yastrzemski was so consistent that even the card number on the back stayed the same. He is card No. 280 in 1974 and in 1975.

1976: OK, children of the '70s, you knew this one was coming. This card BETTER win. It is one of the best cards of the '76 set and it is far and away Yaz's best card of the '70s (his 1980 card is pretty good). I believe this is Comiskey Park. Is that guy with the red cap on pumping his fist?

1977:  This is the first Yaz card I ever saw. And as you can tell, it hasn't been upgraded since. This card features Yaz's trademark grimace, or is it a smile? I don't know. At least it's a pose you don't see much on cards. Not from that angle anyway.

1978: This was one of THE CARDS to get in 1978 for my brothers and I, as well as select friends. It's almost like the All-Star shield has been placed on Yaz's chest. It's practically an iconic card in the set. One of the most meaningful of my growing up years.

1979:  Hoo-boy. It looks like Yaz is still waiting for whatever he was looking at in 1978 and it's STILL not coming. Perhaps it's that World Series title.

Topps could have gone with something a little different this year.

Yaz is from an era that's gone. The Red Sox have won two World Series titles in recent years and some of their fans are a bit cocky and annoying. A lot of fans of other teams don't even remember the times when people would always root for the Red Sox (except when they played their own team) because they were the anti-Yankees. I wish that time still existed. But it doesn't.

Although, I still consider the Rays bigger competition for the Yankees this year than the Red Sox.

There, Adam, you happy? A poll and a Red Sox Hall of Famer.

Now vote!


  1. This is great!!!

    I have been slacking myself so nobody has been writing Red SOx posts lately. So thank you very much.

    I'm going with 73 for no other reason than I like it the best. To be honest I can't see anything that sticks out of any of them except that they are Yaz.

    My all time favorite Yaz though is 66. If oddball cards would count I would go with 1964 Topps Stand-UP. It would have fit in great with your favorite set(75). Sadly I don't own either of them.

  2. I have all of these I think. The '76 is a no brainer. At least to me it is.

  3. Comiskey Park did not use yellow paint on the box seat area until the 80's. They were painted white for most of the 70's.

    As a White Sox fan, I started EARLY in my card collecting career collecting Yaz cards. I was born in 1960 so a 60 Yaz is one of my favourite cards. Any wax pulled Yaz card was a big call for celebration.

    Love the 1976...the design and photo are perfect together.

  4. '76 isn't even in the top three for me.

    Gotta go with the '78 Yaz with the big sideburns. I traded a Bob Horner rookie card for that one.

  5. I'm pretty sure that the 1973 card was the "Muttonchop Yaz" card that Milhaus wanted to buy in the episode of the Simpsons

  6. I only have a few of them, and not the '76, which is my favorite. I helped a guy out with some photos for a book about local baseball, and he thanked me with the Boston Herald-American from the day after Yaz hit 3,000 and the special section from a day later.

    Pretty awesome. If only Williams had been as humble as Yaz.

  7. 1975's Boston color combo is eye-popping and the autograph is almost like a living thing, so that's my fave!

  8. The 71 is the best, I like to see the guy's face.

  9. i had to vote for the 78 in honor of that set, that card, the all star shield, and milhouse.

  10. You don't like being told to have a poll, but you did because it was the right thing to do. I'm the same about 1976 Yaz. When you said that 1976 should be the clear winner I wanted to vote for something else just to defy you. But you're's awesome. 1976 got my vote.

    I always wondered which Yaz card Milhouse wanted and looking at all of his 70's cards together it looks like any of a number of them would fit the description.

    Yaz was quite the sideburn guy, wasn't he?

  11. Oh, ok. 1976. But 1980 is my favorite (thankfully it's up on the site right now) the composition of that card is beautiful. All the elements fit together perfectly to make one of the best cards of that 1980 set.