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A statue of Yaz? Really?

By Mike DiMauro

Publication: The Day

Published September 22. 2013 4:00AM

Sorry, Imus in the Morning. But we must pilfer your old, classic "Which Doesn't Belong and Why" skit (starring Cardinal O'Connor) for the following discourse:

Which doesn't belong and why: Lady Liberty, Honest Abe, Napoleon at the Champs Elysees, The Thinker, David, Zeus at Olympia, Carl Yastrzemski.

Hmmm.

Need we hum the "Jeopardy" theme before the inevitable conclusion?

A statue of Carl Yastrzemski?

Really?

A statue?

Sorry. Not buying it. We're talking statues here.

What did Yaz ever do to merit a statue?

I mean, there's statue of Lincoln - and no statue of, say, Chester Alan Arthur - for a reason.

Capeesh?

Yaz was a very good player, no doubt. But then, is very good, by definition, fodder for a statue? This would be like the Yankees building a statue to Don Mattingly. Very good, beloved player. But a statue?

This much we know: Boston has a statue fetish. The great Armand LaMontagne (Boston College graduate) has sculpted award-winning works of Ted Williams, Larry Bird, Babe Ruth and Bobby Orr, among others. Surely, we can't quibble with the greatest hitter ever, the greatest baseball player ever, Larry Legend and Orr, among the greatest hockey players in the history of organ-i-zations.

But Yaz?

Carl Yastrzemski is the Don Sutton of hitters: hang around long enough to compile numbers that belie their meaning.

I lobbed this softball up on Facebook the other day to gauge opinions. Typical. Failure to stay on point, non sequiturs left and right, attack me, attack the Yankees. An insult to good ol' Yaz. Except he was never good ol' Yaz. He does surly as a habit, not a reaction.

The best argument for Carl Yastrzemski's relevance came from my friend Mike Enright, who runs the athletic communications office at UConn:

"In 1967 he totally revived interest in baseball in Boston which has never gone away to this date," Mike wrote.

Fair point. But does that merit a statue? (Especially before a statue to Bill Russell is built?)

I mean, Bill Russell and Carl Yastrzemski aren't in the same stratosphere.

Every Carl Yastrzemski story ended in failure. No, really. The "Impossible Dream" in 1967: lost the World Series. I've never understood what was so "impossible" in 1967. The Red Sox lost. What, that was a stunning upset?

The Red Sox lost the World Series in 1975.

Yaz popped up to Nettles in 1978.

What did his teams do that could compare to Bird's Celtics and Orr's Bruins?

Doesn't that count?

I'm not saying you must win a championship to be immortalized. Ted Williams never did. But he's the best hitter in the history of the game. Ernie Banks never did. But he's an all-timer. Yaz is no all-timer. I think we could name 100 better outfielders in the history of baseball. In fact, we may in a future column.

If they really want to build statues in Boston, here is a list of luminaries more deserving than Carl Yastrzemski:

In no particular order Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Paul Pierce, Dustin Pedroia, Terry Francona, Jim Rice, Doug Flutie, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Johnny Most, Fred Cusick, Johnny Bucyk, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn, KC Jones.

Go ahead. You tell me whether Carl Yastrzemski ever accomplished more than the aforementioned.

Now I know Red Sox fans are giddy. It's been a great summer for them, especially after all the dopes who cover baseball picked them last. I'd make John Farrell the Manager of the Year. I'd even consider Koji Uehara for the Cy Young Award. I know he has no chance because the sabermetricians will bully the rest of us hayseeds into picking the .500 pitcher du jour.

But if you look at context - Uehara is their third closer of the year and has bailed them out repeatedly - he deserves consideration.

But I digress.

This is about a statue for Yaz.

So what does Pedroia get when he's done?

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.

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