There’s no argument over who the best hitter in Boston Red Sox history is. Ted Williams’ incredible .344 career batting average and 521 home runs make him the king.
But who the No. 2 guy is has come into question.
A few years ago, you could ask anyone on the streets of Boston, and they’d likely tell you Carl Yastrzemski is the Red Sox’s second-best hitter of all time. But with David Ortiz passing Yaz on Major League Baseball’s all-time home run list with 455 and counting, Big Papi has made a case for himself.
And Yaz himself agrees.
“I would say as a hitter, I would say (Ortiz is) next to Ted,” Yastrzemski told The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy. “…I would put him ahead of me. He had more power than I had.”
Even though Ortiz has Yastrzemski’s vote, the Big Papi-Yaz debate still is a tough one. Ortiz never will have Yaz’s 23 seasons, 18 All-Star selections, seven Gold Gloves or his Triple Crown. But Ortiz does have three World Series rings, six Silver Sluggers and some of the most incredible postseason numbers you’ll ever see.
You could argue that’s what Ortiz is supposed to do as a designated hitter, while Yaz did it playing the field. Yaz doesn’t necessarily agree with that either.
“DH-ing is very difficult, and he seems to have mastered it,” Yastrzemski said. “It’s not that easy. When I DH’d my last year, I hated it. To go to the plate and get yourself mentally prepared. It’s not easy to do when you’re not in the game. You’re watching the game, and then all of a sudden, it’s like, ‘Boom,’ you’ve got to go up there. I give him a lot of credit.’’
Yaz just might be trying to be modest, but that’s still a heck of an endorsement for Big Papi.
Photo via USA Today Sports Images