A visit from ‘Papa Yaz’ and a home run makes for a memorable day for Giants OF Mike Yastrzemski

A visit from “Papa Yaz” before the game and a home run during it made for a memorable afternoon for Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski.

The grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski hit a solo homer to right field — not far from where the former Boston outfielder’s retired No. 8 is hanging from the façade — to help San Francisco beat the Red Sox 3-1 on Thursday.

“I’m looking around, and I have my greatest childhood memories here,” said Mike Yastrzemski, who also homered five years ago in his only other visit to the ballpark where his grandfather played 23 seasons.

“The first one was like, super crazy, where I actually couldn’t believe that happened,” he said. “It was a little bit more normal this week, and I actually got to enjoy it while I was here rather than reflecting on it and being like, ‘Man, that was really cool.’”

Yastrzemski, 33, has three home runs this season and 90 in his six-year career, all with the Giants. This one cleared the short wall in front of the Red Sox bullpen in the third inning of a scoreless, hitless game to give San Francisco a 1-0 lead.

Giants manager Bob Melvin thanked “the baseball gods.”

“Got a smile out of me,” said the former major league catcher, who spent one of his 10 major league seasons in Boston and was not quite six when Carl Yastrzemski won the AL Triple Crown and led the “Impossible Dream” Red Sox to the pennant in 1967. “I was just awestruck. So I didn’t have a ton to say to him. … There are some cool days in baseball, and I’ve had a lot of them. This was one of them.”

Mike Yastrzemski says he sees his grandfather a couple of times a year. He will sometimes ask the three-time batting champion and ’67 AL MVP for hitting advice, but the man he calls “Papa Yaz” will more often talk about family.

“One of the things that he’s done incredibly well as a grandfather is letting me have my career,” Mike said. “He’ll pick up the phone when I call, and if I ask him questions, he’ll answer. But he’s never forcing anything on me. He’s never suggesting anything. He’s always told me, ‘When in doubt, talk to your hitting coaches.’”

On Thursday, Mike said, they didn’t talk about hitting at all. The elder Yaz asked how he was physically, and it was “just good to see him,” Mike said.

“It was fun to just have him around for a minute,” he said.

And then the 84-year-old Hall of Famer split, without sticking around for the game.

“I think he left the car running when he was in here,” Mike said with a smile. “But that’s normal. He’s quick to the point.”


AP MLB: https://www.apnews.com/MLB

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