Boston Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski turns 79 on Wednesday, and you can’t discuss Yaz’s greatest feats without recalling his incredible 1967 season.
The Sox legend, of course, won the Triple Crown by leading the league with a .326 batting average, 44 home runs and 121 RBIs. It’s considered one of the best offensive seasons in Red Sox history, and the Triple Crown went unmatched in baseball until Miguel Cabrera accomplished the feat in 2012.
Yaz and Miggy might have company this season, too. Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez is in the midst of a season that ultimately could surpass that of Yastrzemski. Martinez, who is hitting .377 in his last 18 games, has seen his batting average go from .323 to .331 in that time during August. In that same time, teammate Mookie Betts — who still leads the league in batting average — has fallen off some, and Martinez is now one torrid streak away from wresting away the league lead in average away from Betts.
And of course, Martinez’s power numbers remain through the roof. He now has company atop the league lead in home runs with 38 (tied with Oakland’s Khris Davis), and his 106 RBIs lead the league. Add all of that up, and Martinez is a legitimate threat to win the Triple Crown this season.
So, what will it take to get there? For starters, repeating his season-ending hot streak from a season ago certainly would help. Martinez was a man on fire with the Arizona Diamondbacks, hitting .396 with 16 home runs and 36 RBIs in his final 25 games. If — and it’s a gigantic “if” — Martinez was able to go on the same exact 25-game run right now, he’d have a .343 average with 54 home runs and 142 RBIs. We’d like his chances to capture the Triple Crown with those numbers.
That’s, um, unlikely to happen, especially when you consider four of those 16 home runs came in one game. However, if Martinez gets anywhere near that sort of a stretch, he definitely would be putting the pressure on Betts for the batting title and likely would be running away with the lead for homers and RBIs.
So, happy birthday, Yaz. You might want to enjoy your special standing in Red Sox history while it lasts.
Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images