If you were looking for a top-notch baseball pedigree, you could do much worse than having a Hall of Fame member and one of the most beloved players in the history of the sport as your grandfather.
Mike Yastrzemski, grandson of Carl Yastrzemski and an outfielder for the Aberdeen IronBirds, has just that lineage, but, like the rest of his teammates trying to prove themselves at the Single-A level, he has a long way to go if he wants to leave the impression his grandfather did.
The IronBirds accepted the younger Yastrzemski on Friday night, after he had come to terms with the Baltimore Orioles, who selected him out of Vanderbilt University in the 14th round of this year's draft.
A defensive substitution in left field that first game, Yastrzemski did not have a plate appearance, and in his next game on Saturday, Yastrzemski went 0-for-1 with a walk.
On Sunday, in Aberdeen's 6-2 home loss to the Staten Island Yankees, the 22-year-old from Andover, Mass., connected with an inside fastball and collected his a first professional hit, a broken-bat single to center field.
"It was nice to get that out of the way," Yastrzemski said following the game. "It cost me a bat, but that's just fine. I've got that behind me now, and I can focus on getting better at the plate."
Born in Florida and relocated to Massachusetts when he was 6 years old, Yastrzemski played ball at St. John's Prep in Danvers, Mass., before being selected in the 36th round of the 2009 draft by his grandfather's team, the Boston Red Sox.
Mike Yastrzemski opted to attend college instead of entering professional ball, and enrolled at Vanderbilt in the fall of 2009. Following his junior season he was drafted again, this time by the Seattle Mariners in the 30th round, but he remained in college for his final year, after which he was picked up the Orioles.
After collecting his first professional hit on Sunday night, Yastrzemski said his focus at the moment is to re-acclimate himself to the game following the break between his college season and joining the IronBirds.
"I hadn't faced live pitching in about two weeks," he said. "So, I'm just trying to work on some timing issues right now. I'm trying to get settled down and comfortable, trying to see the ball and get a feel for my swing. I'm trying to feel out how I'm going to approach different kinds of pitchers, too. Basically, I'm getting my swing back in shape."
Carl Yastrzemski spent his entire 23 seasons with the Red Sox, winning the Triple Crown and American League MVP Award in 1967, and being named an A.L. All-Star 18 times.
That year he led the Red Sox to the American League pennant, followed by a heartbreaking Game 7 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. In a pitching dominated series, Carl Yastrzemski batted .400 and hit three home runs. He also was a member of the Red Sox' 1975 pennant winning team that lost in seven games to the Cincinnati Reds, batting over .300 in that series as well.
Carl Yastrzemski took his place with baseball's immortals in 1989, when he was named on 423 of 447 Hall of Fame ballots in his first year of eligibility.
Mike's father, Carl Michael Yastrzemski, who went by Mike as well, was picked out of Florida State University in the 23rd round of the 1983 draft and spent five seasons in the minor leagues before retiring from baseball at age 26. He died in 1994 from a heart attack suffered during surgery.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun