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Yaz statue unveiled at Fenway

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  September 22, 2013 01:55 PM

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There's a new statue in town.

The Red Sox today honored Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski by unveiling a statue showing Yaz tipping his cap after his final at-bat in 1983.

"I'm deeply honored to stand before you today, seeing this statue in front of the place that I called home for 23 years," Yastrzemski said during the 30-minute ceremony outside the right field entrance of Fenway Park. "This statue means as much to me as being inducted into the Hall of Fame and having my number retired."

Yaz said the 2013 playoff-bound Red Sox compare favorably to his 1967 pennant-winning club, except he believes this year's team has better pitching.

"Oh, what a difference this year compared to last year," Yastrzemski said from the outdoor podium on Van Ness Street. "Ben [Cherington] puts a team together, and John [Farrell] pushed all the right buttons. I was talking to [Jonny] Gomes, [Daniel] Nava, and [Dustin] Pedroia a little bit before, and what a difference playing on a winner. I was telling them my first six years with the Red Sox, they were tough years, 25-30 games out by All-Star break. You lose the incentive. And then '67 came along and baseball was fun again. You guys made it fun here for the fans of Boston."

Former teammates celebrating the great No. 8 Sunday included Hall of Famer Jim Rice, outfielder Dwight Evans, Bill Lee and Luis Tiant. Current Red Sox players Dustin Pedroia, Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava, and manager John Farrell were also on hand.

An emotional Yastrzemski said after the ceremony that Evans and Tiant should be in the baseball Hall of Fame along with him. Yaz was inducted in 1989.

Mayor Tom Menino attended the event and proclaimed it "Carl Yastrzemski Day for the city of Boston."

The statue is the third outside Fenway Park, and is located between the statue of Ted Williams and “The Teammates” statue near the Gate B entrance. It was sculpted by Toby Mendez, who also created “The Teammates.”

Yastrzemski played his entire 23-year major-league career with the Red Sox. He had a career .285 batting average with 452 home runs and 1,844 RBIs.

Mobile users can watch video of the ceremony here.

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