As a young boy growing up in the Boston area I was a big fan of Carl Yastrzemski. Who didn’t love Yaz though? I ate sandwiches on Big Yaz Bread. Everyone did. One evening my father and uncles took me into an autograph signing event where Yaz was the main attraction. In my Sox hat and #8 jersey I stood in line for probably an hour, overcome with anticipation and excitement. As we queued through the long line and got close to the signing table we were each handed an 8×10 glossy color photo of the champ. It was beautiful. Perfect for sporting the million dollar autograph that was momentarily to come. We clutched our photos in sweaty nervous hands as we slowly inched our way closer and closer to the moment when we would stand before the legend himself.

Finally I was up at the end of the long table where we then shuffled along down toward the other end where Yaz sat in his chair and signed the photos as they came before him, one after the other. As I got closer I watched him sign each one, “Yaz”, “Yaz” (nice big script!), “Yaz”, Yaz”, (wicked cool!), then the kid in front of me, “Yaz”, and then there I was right in front of the man. He looked right at me and said hello (I’ll never forget it) and I nervously handed him the glossy photo. He pulled it in front of him, and at the moment his pen was about to touch the photo paper, someone in the back yelled something at him. Yaz looked up and responded verbally to the unseen speaker. There was an exchange of words, I don’t remember at all what it was about. My eyes were glued to his pen and my photo. Things became confused. He began writing but he was still engaged in the verbal exchange. He was signing the photo without even looking at it or giving it a thought. The pen jerked and moved on the paper. Still without looking he shoved it over toward me and then grabbed for the next kid’s photo. Unknown hands shuffled me away from the table.

While snaking my way back out from the crowd I flipped the photo around and looked at it. It didn’t say “Yaz” like the others. I didn’t know what it said. I stared at it. It looked like it read “miy”. The best you could discern was it said “miy”, and that was the best you could say. There was no way you could get Yaz out of that. I was stunned. Shocked. I couldn’t believe it.

When I got home I put it in an old frame and hung it in my room. Many times I stared at it up on the wall there. “miy”. The thing always bothered me. I showed my friends my autographed photo of Carl. “That’s his autograph?”, they would say. “It looks like it says mig!”. Eventually I relegated this framed FUBAR to a less conspicuous location.

Tonight I was rummaging around, found it in an old box, and I hung it up on the wall above my work bench. The frame is even older looking now and the corner of the glass is chipped. But the photo is in reasonably good shape. The autograph has since faded on one end. It now looks like it says “mn”.  I am fonder of it now than I was back in those days.

24 Replies to “Yaz”

    Last Updated: 5:30 AM, July 26, 2009

    Posted: 3:05 AM, July 26, 2009

    A BOSTON Red Sox legend is being feted as one of the world’s biggest baseball jerks.

    Carl Yastrzemski, who grew up in Southampton but gained fame in Beantown, “is the Hall of Fame’s most infamous living misanthrope. Collectors, dealers and even baseball executives regard him as unfriendly and unpleasant,” writes Zev Chafets of the famed outfielder in “Cooperstown Confidential,” out from Bloomsbury. Chafets quotes a fan who bought an autograph from Yastrzemski, as fuming, “[I] asked him who the best hitter he ever saw was. He didn’t even bother looking up, much less answer. That hurts.” Yastrzemski’s rep didn’t get back to us.

  2. Jeesh. Sorry to hear that. I had attributed my misfortune to the crowd distracting him, just a dose of Charlie Brown bad luck. Or that I was being punished by God for skipping confession. I never faulted Yaz directly.

  3. Maybe Yaz was hungover or sick or something… or it might be that he just hates dumbass questions. Who knows?

  4. The Nugent vid is really something. What parasites. The collectors and memorabilia dealers are among the lowest life forms. He has no intentions of giving them anything, yet they wave fistfuls of money and keep begging. I particularly liked his fake hand grenade toss.

    Holmes. Yeah I will continue to give Yaz the benefit of the doubt. It doesn’t matter to me if he gives “collectors, dealers and even baseball executives” the cold shoulder.

  5. MIT told him the President was coming to the university and he needed to give him a tour, and so he came to work wearing a shirt that has vegetables and tractors on it.

  6. What do they think about Roman Polanski?

    I don’t desire to generalize, but in my limited experience it seems that Poles are gifted with a form of moral fiber that flexes in inordinate and often fascinating ways.

  7. I’ve just about had it with the Maoist-in-Chief. Oh yeah, he’ s not tired… he’s refreshed… well, at least we can all finally sleep at night knowing that the White House bidet is fully functional.

  8. “Born of fire. Between Hitler and Stalin with Churchill selling you out.”

    Brilliantly said. Killer, I mean it.

    Honestly, I also was thinking about the placement of Poland betwixt Germany and Russia and pondering the inherently conflicted state of mind that it must breed.

    As to Polanski, I don’t know all the facts, but it does seem strange that this is only coming to a head now, after so many decades. This is not to say that he doesn’t deserve some additional ration of reckoning.

  9. Yeah, one would think that after civil settlements are arrived at, as a matter of course, the DA should consider justice to have been dispensed. Yet “the system of the law we live under” (with its general lack of statutes of limitations on such matters of criminality) remains relevant all the same.

    Had Polanski been accused of a federal crime, I can fully imagine him surrendering to the authorities — say, just prior to Clinton’s departure from office — per a negotiated arrangement whereby he receives a presidential pardon (and thereafter a triumphant welcome home parade along Hollywood Boulevard). Chinatown is worth a presidential pardon, perhaps.

  10. About Chinatown… I agree. To get into it further, yes, it was mostly Robert Towne and Nicholson who made it happen… and some good judgment from Polanski in making changes to the ending.

    It sounds like you’ve seen a great deal of Polanski’s output. I’ll just shut up already, at least until I’ve seen Knife in the Water and that other one you recommended. Then, we’ll talk some more (and I can hopefully contribute something useful to the conversation).

  11. Polanski is a strange bird, no doubt. But I probably be pretty strange too if my beautiful, talented wife had been 8 1/2 months pregnant and murdered (along with the baby) by Manson’s cultists:

  12. The whole movie is there… 10 of 10 clips… but they’re all in Polish! I think they had subtitles on the version I saw.

  13. polish rappers. i always kinda imagin them riding around warsaw on the back of a cow, with dew rags on. i’v never been able to figure why mp hasen’t gone over to the mma. he could dominate the hell outta kimbo, make some real momney, and start fucking white women; fucking polacks never learn.

  14. Polanski’s character moves into an Paris apartment. The previous tenant is dead. The previous tenant tries to ‘take over’ Polanski’s character. Polanski tries to escape.

  15. There was a better version of this, but, lo and behold, it was pulled when I tried to post it…

    Talk about the acme of culture!!

    Sam Shepherd
    Wim Wenders
    Harry Dean Stanton
    Ry Cooder
    and N. Kinski… woo hoo!

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