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Yaz undergoing bypass

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  August 19, 2008 04:09 PM

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BALTIMORE - Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski will have to undergo heart bypass surgery because of a blockage in one of his main arteries, a source with knowledge of the situation indicated. Yaz is at Massachusetts General Hospital, but there was no further word on the number of blockages the 1967 Triple Crown winner is dealing with.

NESN broadcaster Jerry Remy was reminscing about Yaz in the Sox clubhouse this afternoon.

"I remember him sitting in the clubhouse next to my locker after the 1978 playoff game (vs. the Yankees) crying like a baby," Remy recalled. He added, "He was a fierce competitor. He wasn't the most talented Hall-of-Famer but nobody outworked him."

"Until the day he retired he wanted to be the best. He spent hours and hours and hours working on things. He was tireless," Remy recalled.

Remy said he hasn't seen too much of Yaz over the years except "'maybe twice a year" when he shows up for Red Sox events and during spring training when he comes to work with some of the minor league hitters. Remy said he always respected Yaz and got along well with him.

The popular Yaz, who will turn 69 on Friday, was an 18-time All-Star and spent his entire career in Boston, taking over left field for Ted Williams in 1961 and playing through 1983.

In 1967, Yastrzemski helped revitalize the flagging franchise during the "Impossible Dream" season. And all over New England that summer, kids tried to imitate his unique lefty batting stance, with the bat held high over his head.

With calls of "Yaz" echoing around Fenway Park, he won the Triple Crown that year, hitting .326 with 44 home runs and 121 RBIs. Behind the AL MVP, the Red Sox won their first pennant since 1946, but lost the World Series in Game 7 to St. Louis.

Yastrzemski was elected to the Hall on the first ballot in 1989. He has often shied away from celebrity and rarely made public appearances, but drew a big ovation when he threw out the first ball before Game 1 of last year's World Series.

Yaz finished with 452 career home runs and 1,844 RBIs. He had 3,419 lifetime hits and batted .285. He also won seven Gold Gloves, expertly playing the caroms off the Green Monster.

Yastrzemski is one of five former Red Sox players to have his number retired by the team. His No. 8 is painted at Fenway, along with those of Williams, Carlton Fisk, Bobby Doerr and Joe Cronin.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report

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