Carl Yastrzemski

Mike Yastrzemski's mom recalls when her son fell in love with baseball

Mike Yastrzemski's mom recalls when her son fell in love with baseball

Mike Yastrzemski, the grandson of a Hall-of-Famer, was born into the game. It didn't take him long to show it, either. 

Anne-Marie Yastrzemski, Mike's mother, recalls that her son liked all sports from the time he was born, but it was clear "early, early on" that he had a special love for baseball. In a video celebrating Mother's Day, Anne-Marie told NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy Gutierrez that Mike was already preparing for his career while sitting in his crib.

"He would swing his toothbrush at a ping-pong ball and hit it," she said. "I was like, 'All right, this kid is definitely obsessed with baseball.' He would be on the front lawn with his diaper on hitting at his tee. People would come by and see me pitching to him nonstop and they would be like, 'Does he do anything else other than baseball?' "

Mike was born into New England baseball royalty. His grandfather, Carl, played 23 seasons for the Red Sox and is one of the most popular players in franchise history. His late father, Mike, starred at Florida State and played in the minors. Anne-Marie has spent decades around the game, and last season her son gave her two more special moments.

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She said she "went weak at the knees" when Mike made his debut for the Giants, explaining how she was overcome with a feeling that it was "all the hard work coming to fruition."

Later in the year, Mike made the trip back home to face the Red Sox at Fenway Park. He hit his 20th homer and caught the first pitch from his grandfather, and mom and son shared a special embrace in the midst of all the celebrating, an image that Mike later had etched into wood as a gift for Anne-Marie. 

"I had a flood of emotions coming over me, but nothing more strong than just this sense of pride," Anne-Marie said. "I was oozing with pride."

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Anne-Marie Yastrzemski was one of five Giants mothers profiled by Gutierrez, along with Lynn Crawford, Amy Rogers, Cheryl Rivers (Tyler Beede's mom) and Sandy Ritchie, who helped raise Mauricio Dubon after he moved to Sacramento from Honduras.

Giants' Mike Yastrzemski lives out boyhood dream of playing at Fenway Park

Giants' Mike Yastrzemski lives out boyhood dream of playing at Fenway Park

It's difficult to imagine Mike Yastrzemski's first visit to Fenway Park as a major league player going any better.

Not only have the Giants won each of the first two games of the series with the Red Sox, San Francisco's 29-year-old rookie outfielder also managed to hit a home run over the center-field wall in the first one, an act his grandfather Carl performed countless times all those years ago.

Hours before that special moment, Mike took a walk around the field at Fenway with NBC Sports Bay Area's Amy Gutierrez, soaking in the environment in which he learned to love the game of baseball.

"A lot of memories being brought up coming back here," the younger Yastrzemski told Amy G. "Moments that I've had in the stands more than anything. The smell in the air and just the overall visuals of being 10 years old and falling love with baseball and seeing some really cool moments."

Being the grandson of one of the most revered players in Red Sox history had its benefits, no doubt, but it also couldn't have been easy growing up in such a large shadow. However, as Yastrzemski explained, he grew to appreciate that shadow, rather than feel compelled to make his own larger one.

"You grow up with it and you think there's pressure when you're young, but then when you understand the magnitude of the impact that he had on this city, I stopped feeling pressure and started feeling pride," he said. "You start to understand how much of an impact he had and the numbers that he put up and how essentially unattainable they are in today's game.

"There is no pressure. I get to do what I love because I fell in love with the same thing that he did."

As Yastrzemski and Amy G made their way around Fenway, they eventually came upon the famous Green Monster in left field. On the inside of the scoreboard -- an area Yastrzemski admitted he hadn't been in for close to 20 years -- they came across countless signatures all over the internal walls. Yastrzemski revealed that those walls were critical in his ascension to becoming a major league player.

"A staple of my life was baseball and this wall," he told Amy G, "and I felt like I kind of used it as a dream and ambition and a way to kind of push a little further than maybe I even should have."

All that pushing culminated in his first major league call-up at the ripe age of 29 years old. It might have taken longer than he would have preferred. But, Yastrzemski says he's better able to appreciate it now due to the long journey it took to get here.

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"When you're young and you get here, you might feel that pressure and say, 'You know, I have to perform to a certain extent or else I'm going to be back and forth for my whole career. I don't want to be that guy.' Whereas for me, I was looking at it as: I just want one day. And if I get one day to just sit in the dugout and put on the uniform, I'm good.

"Every single extra step is just one more thing that I get to say, 'Wow, that was really cool.'

Hitting a home run in your first game at your Hall of Fame grandfather's old home park? Now that's really cool.

Watch Giants' Mike Yastrzemski catch first pitch from Carl at Fenway Park

Watch Giants' Mike Yastrzemski catch first pitch from Carl at Fenway Park

A night after hitting a home run at the ballpark his grandfather once called home, Giants rookie outfielder Mike Yastrzemski made another special memory at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

The 29-year-old caught the ceremonial first pitch ahead of San Francisco's game with the Boston Red Sox from a very special pitcher: his grandfather, Baseball Hall of Famer and Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski.

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The elder Yastrzemski played 3,308 games in 23 seasons with the Red Sox, winning a Most Valuable Player award when he won the Triple Crown in 1967. The younger Yastrzemski made his MLB debut this season, and he hit his 20th home run of his first big league campaign Tuesday night at Fenway.

Mike called that feeling "special," but Wednesday's first pitch just might have topped it.