It took some time -- longer than he would have liked -- but Mike Yastrzemski finally is making a name for himself at the big league level.
Yastrzemski spent six seasons in the Baltimore Orioles' farm system before the Giants traded for him in March. Since donning the SF orange and black, he has helped transform the Giants' outfield from one of the worst in baseball into one of the team's strengths.
In 74 games for the Giants, Yastrzemski is hitting .259 with 17 home runs, 47 RBI and an .890 OPS. His emergence with the Giants has made one person, in particular, very proud: His grandfather, Boston Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski.
The younger Yaz helped the Giants go on a torrid run from the middle of June through the end of July, putting them in the thick of the NL wild-card race. While the Giants have fallen back to Earth in August, they still will visit the Red Sox at Fenway Park next month with something to play for.
Watching his grandson patrol the same outfield he did for the final time 36 years ago will be a special moment for Carl Yastrzemski.
“To see him come play at Fenway ... that’ll be something,” Yaz told Buckley. “And me ... playing here for 23 years, and then see my grandson come in and play here. It’ll be emotional, yes.
“I know how hard he worked, and to see him there, and having them announce the name Yastrzemski, I feel great because of him, how much he wanted it.”
Mike's father, Carl Yastrzemski Jr. died in 2004 after complications from hip surgery. Mike's success, in Carl's eyes, has a lot to do with how much his father worked with and helped him at a young age.
“His father saw me play,” Carl Yastrzemski said. “And his father was here for my 3,000th hit and my 400th home run. And to emulate his success — my grandson has to owe it all to his father. He spent a lot of time with him, working with him and stuff like that. When they would do things as far as baseball and working out, I kind of stood in the background. His father did the most with him.”
There will be a lot of Yastrzemskis on hand at Fenway Park on Sept. 17-19 to watch Mike take the field on the hallowed grounds his legendary grandfather famously called home for 23 seasons.
Mike made some tweaks to his swing in the offseason, and it's paid dividends. One part of his game, in particular, stands out to Yaz.
“He’s got good power to all fields,” Carl said of Mike. “The more often you use the whole field, it’s better as far as people trying to defense you. You don’t want to pull and pull and pull. With that shift they use now it’s pretty hard to get a base hit. The only thing I’ve mentioned to him is that you have good power to all fields, so use all fields.”