Statue will honor Yaz’s career … (which meant a lot to mine)

Former Red Sox slugger Carl Yastrzemski played a leading role in my choice of career


Maybe it would have happened anyway, but I have always believed that my journey toward a career in journalism began during the Boston Red Sox "Impossible Dream" season of 1967 and was driven by the exploits of that team's star player, Hall of Famer and triple crown winner Carl Yastrzemski.

So you'll have to forgive me a wistful reminiscence this afternoon upon learning that the Red Sox will be placing a statue of Yastrzemski outside of Fenway Park.

I was 10 and for the first time in my life the Red Sox mattered ... a lot. Every morning that summer I would walk the half-mile from my house to Ouimet's Market (now Bob's Market) to buy a copy of the Boston Herald so I could read about the previous night's game, and most importantly, see how many hits and home runs Yaz had contributed to both the team and his quest for the triple crown.

Soon I became as enamored of the sportswriters - and the idea that they got paid to watch baseball - as I was of the players (except for Yaz; he was still tops and would remain there until the day he retired). Before the season ended with that painful World Series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, I knew that I, too, would be a sportswriter someday, because what job on earth could possibly be cooler.

Two years later I was writing for my junior high school's mimeographed "newspaper." In high school, I was sports editor of the yearbook and covered high school football games for the local newspaper and radio station. In college I veered away from sports toward news - never to return -- but at my 25th high school reunion I must have been asked six times whether I was still a sportswriter.

Without Yaz and the '67 Red Sox maybe I wouldn't have gotten into reading newspapers and dreamed of someday writing for one.

I certainly wouldn't have learned how to spell Yastrzemski. 

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