There’s an old joke about the woman who marries a Polish man and how she got something long and hard on her wedding night. The punch line, of course, is her new last name.
Now, there’s a long history of baseball players of Polish descent. One of the most famous of these ballplayers was Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox. Having the unenviable task of replacing Hall of Famer Ted Williams in the Boston lineup, Carl Yastrzemski went on to post his own Hall of Fame career.
Carl Yastrzemski played 23 seasons and finished his career with 3,419 hits, 452 home runs and 1844 RBIs. An 18-time All-Star selection in his career, Carl Yastrzemski also won the Gold Glove Award seven times in his career. Carl Yastrzemski became a master playing left field in Boston, one of the toughest outfield positions in all of baseball due to the presence of the Green Monster. Carl Yastrzemski was the best at playing all of the unusual bounces from both the high left field wall and the unusual configuration of the seats down the left field line.
A fine ballplayer his first six seasons in the league, Carl Yastrzemski broke into the nation’s consciousness during the 1967 season. That year, Carl Yastrzemski became the last ballplayer to win the Triple Crown, as he led the American League in batting, home runs and RBIs. Carl Yastrzemski was one of just four players in the AL that season to top the .300 mark in batting and his 44 home runs more than doubled his previous high of 20.
Just as importantly, Carl Yastrzemski was the driving force behind the “Impossible Dream” team of the Red Sox in 1967. It had been eight years since Boston finished above .500 and they had not won the pennant since 1947. The American League race had three teams battle to the final day that season and a fourth squad finish just three games out. Given how bad the Red Sox had been, the dramatic race, and the offensive output of Carl Yastrzemski in the middle of the biggest pitching era since the coming of Babe Ruth, the 1967 season of Carl Yastrzemski is one of the most clutch offensive performances of all time.
This is the 13th time I have typed the name Carl Yastrzemski in this article. You can bet your last dollar that the sportswriters of the time did not like typing his name (especially in the era before PCs and the automatic do-overs with a typo). Just as today Mike Krzyzewski becomes Coach K, Carl Yastrzemski became simply “Yaz”.
Yaz is one of the great baseball nicknames of all-time. It’s both simple and elegant. It has the advantage of being necessary and somehow descriptive at the same time. Just typing the word Yaz, I automatically conjure up an image of the player with the dark hair and the big nose standing in the batter’s box with his bat held high in the air, which made him seem even wirier than his 5-foot-11, 182-pound frame.
So, imagine my surprise when I’m watching TV and a commercial comes on for a new birth control pill called Yaz!
Is nothing sacred? Did the people in charge of marketing for this product not understand that particular name was already taken?
Perhaps the phrase “I’m on Yaz” was once uttered by a friend of Margo Adams, but really, that’s the only acceptable connotation between sex and that name.
I like baseball and I like sex but I don’t really want to mix the two. I know some men like to use baseball stats as some type of stall tactic but that has always seemed unholy to me. Besides, it’s a pretty big leap from temporarily contemplating .326-44-121 to looking over on the nightstand and seeing the name Yaz on the birth control box.
I guess it could have been worse. It could have been a diaphragm instead of a pill. Just imagine getting intimate and then hearing your woman say, “Wait, I’ve got to put Yaz in.”
Well, Carl Yastrzemski did end his career as a designated hitter.