Spring Training 1961, Carl Yastrzemski Offers Hope To Red Sox Faithful
Early indications in the Red Sox spring training camp in Scottsdale, Arizona are that this trio will be patrolling the outfield for the Red Sox in 1961. (l-r) Carl Yastrzemski, Gary Geiger and Jackie Jensen. (March 1961 – photo: Sporting News)
After 1960, the Boston Red Sox would be without their stalwart star Ted Williams who had retired at the end of the season. The reins to lead the team would be passed to Carl Yastrzsemski and he would not disappoint. Yastrzemski was born and raised in Long Island, NY and was signed by the Red Sox organization in 1958 and rapidly advanced through the minor league system.
Yastrzemski would have a fine rookie season batting .266 with 11 home runs and 80 RBI’s. He became the face of the Red Sox and played his entire 23 year career for Boston. He was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.
As far as teh other fellows in the photograph, Gary Geiger hit 18 home runs in 1961, the most he ever hit during his 12 year career, but batted just .232.
Jackie Jensen had quit baseball after the 1959 season because of an intense fear of flying and his being separated from his family for extended periods of time. Jensen returned for the 1961 season and batted .263 and then retired for good after 1961 at the age of 34.
It wasn’t until 1967 that the Red Sox went to the World Series in no small part led by Yaz who won the triple crown and the American League MVP award that season. Even though Yastrzemski batted .400 in the series, the Red Sox lost the series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals. Bob Gibson won three games for the Cardinals and held the Red Sox to three runs in 27 innings.
In 1975 the Red Sox made it back to the World Series and once again lost in seven games, this time to the Cincinnati Reds. Yastrzemski once again had a great series hitting .310.
When Yastrzemski retired after the 1983 season at the age of 44, he had 3,419 hits, 452 home runs and 1,844 RBIs to go along with a .285 career average. Not bad for a kid from Long Island.