8/8/08: A Tribute To Yogi Berra, Bo Jackson and Carl Yastrzemski

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eights.jpgHey it's one of those neat days where the number repeats that we only get to experience 12 times each century. I have an irrational love for these days, and also an irrational love for three players that wore the number 8 in their playing days. So I salute them and wonder if they'll smile when they look at the calendar today. Well, Yaz won't because he's a huge grouch. But maybe the other two will.

Yogi Berra: While he's one of the most enduring faces of New York baseball, Lawrence Peter Berra was actually born in St. Louis. He transcended baseball as somewhat of a folk icon with his wacky Yogi-isms. Everyone knows em by heart, and I'm sure the goofy persona hasn't hurt his wallet over the years, but unlike say, Bob Uecker, you never got the sense any of it was very calculated.

Fewer people are familiar with some of the jaw dropping numbers associated with Yogi's playing career. He was a 3 time MVP and 15 time All-Star. He won ten world championships, a baseball record. He's one of only 4 catchers to ever field 1.000 over a an entire season (1958). In 2,120 career games played, he hit 359 home runs and had a career OPS of .830. He also has an endearingly huge bulbous nose that makes him look comical. That's our Yogi!

Bo Jackson: Vincent Edward Jackson is one Alabama's most famous sons. The most dominant of a handful of professional American multi-sports stars Bo was ubiquitous in the late 80s and if you're of a certain age, you rooted for Bo no matter what team you called your own. Cause Lord knows it probably wasn't the Royals.

He showed streaks of brilliance in baseball before his sporting career was derailed by injuries. From 1987-1990 he hit 107 HR. In 1990, his final somewhat healthy season in his prime, he slugged .523 and had an OPS+ of 142. He had a propensity for strikeouts and making some outfield errors, but Bo Jackson the baseball player always seemed like a force of nature. He could run up walls and I loved him for it.

He's the gold standard for the multi sport athlete. You hear that Jeff Smarjshahfsa? You should jump off a building for taking this picture. You're a relief pitcher, idiot. Bo could snap you over his knee.

Carl Yastrzemski: Carl Michael Yastrzemski grew up on a Long Island potato farm. A fitting beginning for a man who would carve out his legend hitting tater tots. He came up in 1961, taking over left field from Ted Williams. Huge shoes to fill , but early on Yaz proved himself to be a much better defensively than Williams. Later in his career he would move to first base, but in his day he played the Monster better than anyone would.

1967 is the definitive Yaz year, and in many ways a definitive year for the entire Red Sox organization. In the year of "The Impossible Dream," Yaz became the last player to hit for the Triple Crown. He hit .326 with 44 HR and 121 RBI to lead the Sox to an out of nowhere World Series appearance and a crushing 7 game loss to the Cardinals. He's second all-time in MLB history with 3,308 games played. He hit 452 HRs and drove in 1,844 runs. He also has a song about him that will now be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

He's also the reason I wore #8 from tee ball on. But trust me, you don't want to see my career stats.

Editor's Note: Bo only wore #8 in his later 2 season stint with the White Sox. Oh well, still counts. In my defense, my memory is better in some areas than others. The only Yaz stat I had to look up was games played.

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31 Comments

Don't forget Kruk, and Gammons' line about 8 serving as both Kruk's uniform number, and his silhouette.

My last year of little league I was 6-24 with 18 strikeouts.

I had contact issues.

In my last year of little league, the only hit I got was a baseball to the left eye. I'm not exaggerating. I went 0-for-the-season with probably a .200 OBP from never, ever swinging.

@Gorge

Never heard that one. That's great.

Also, Kruk and I wore the same number and have the same birthday. I hope I don't get ball cancer.

Nice read, CTC. Good job!

My last year of little league I ended up on the DL. Which is where I met my good friend Mike Hampton.

Nice cross promotion with the AT&T "more bars" picture.

Why was everyone afraid of the number eight?

Because 7 8 9.

@matt t, I thought it was "why was 10 scared?" because 7 8 9

god dammit, I can't even get a lame joke right.

Matt,

-1

@matt, I hear that joke on my daughter's CD by The Wiggles every time we are in the car. having a kid will make you a bad joke expert.

@ matt_T

I thought your joke mishap was your version of a yogi-ism. You know in honor...

That Yaz song just keeps going on doesn't it? What's weird is I've never figured out what this Yaz song had to do with baseball.

I wanna hug Yogi and never let him go.

What do you mean felony assault?

"I have an irrational love for these days"

Hey CTC, are you or any fellow commenters asian? I ask because my fiance is getting a Masters in nursing, and has been working in the hospitals in SF. She says all the pregnant asian women have been trying to schedule C-Sections for today so their kid can be born on 888. Good luck, or something. Just wondering if someone here can shed light on the belief because it is interesting.

Best multi-sport athlete: Bo Jackson, or Dave Winfield, who could have gone pro in 4 sports?

@CTC:
I actually read somewhere that you once threw a no-hitter in little league...
Oh yeah, that was your T-shirt.

@Fartie:
What about Jim Thorpe? And didn't Jim Brown play lacrosse?

@Fartie

I actually made a point to say professional American multi-sports stars, so as to sidestep the questions about Winfield's prowess. I've only seen him play baseball but I think he's the only person to ever be drafted in 3 sports.

A) Why did you link to a picture of Bo wearing #16?

B) It's "Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 8 9."

C) Tony Gwynn is still the San Diego State leader in assists (basketball), and was drafted by both the Padres and the Clippers (then of San Diego) on the same day. Sure he's a fucking planet now, but 30 years ago dude could move.

Jim Thorpe doesn't count because a REAL athlete would have prevented the theft of his people's land.

Too Soon?

Jim Brown was considered the greatest Lacrosse player in the world. Aside from a bunch of white rich kids in the Northeast (and currently in the affluent Lamorinda area in the Bay Area)...nobody cares.

Fartie,
That's definitely true about the number 8. They are very big into numerolog, and soe people pay large sums of money for their phone numbers to contain the lucky numbers


We're having some site issues today. I know this because i just tried to edit this post to say that Bo only wore #8 with the White Sox.

Because i'm stupid.

Please welcome our newest intern, Todd Jones!

Thanks for giving everyone the head's up Todd.

Thanks matt_T. WOW = education

if you're of a certain age, you rooted for Bo no matter what team you called your own

This is true, but only because Phil Knight is Freddy Krueger

I wouldn't be surprised if that's the REAL Todd Jones.

Todd, please throw a fastball. If it's below 60 mph, we know you're the real one.

Todd Jones is no Bo Jackson.

Best pro athelete definitely Bo Jackson. Before his owies, the man was the shit.

PRIME TIME WAS THE BEST MULTISPORT ATHLETE EVER

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