When watching the 2019 Home Run Derby, which was won by Pete Alonso of the New York Mets, my favorite part wasn't Joc Pederson and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. breaking records left and right. I think many baseball fans would agree with me that the best part of the derby was watching Guerrero at all. His father, the Hall of Fame former member of the Montreal Expos, Anaheim Angels, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles, was the 2007 winner of the MLB Home Run Derby. And then, twelve years later, we got to see his son participate in the same event.
I know there are instances of family in other sports. LeBron James is trying to prolong his career far enough that he can play on the court with his son. Peyton Manning and Eli Manning were stars in the NFL concurrently for a long period of time. And who can forget, of course, Venus and Serena Williams. But there's something doubly special about family in baseball. Moments like Guerrero Jr. clobbering home runs as Guerrero Sr. did over a decade prior are just special.
And that's a major reason why the Red Sox and the San Francisco Giants fanbases have united in recent weeks.
Carl Yastrzemski is not only one of the best Red Sox players of all-time, he is one of baseball’s greatest to ever play the sport. A first ballot Hall of Famer, Yaz spent 23 seasons as one of the best to ever do it at Fenway Park. Now, this legacy has transferred to Oracle Park as the Giants have emerged from early season woes to be a bona fide contender in the National League and it is thanks, in some part, to Carl’s grandson, Mike Yastrzemski.
Yastrzemski has only played in 48 games so far in his rookie season, but he has made a big impact since being called up on May 25. Hitting his first home run six days letter, the new Yaz has since hit .259 with nine home runs, 27 RBIs, and a 1.1 WAR. His best moment (and a heartwarming one to showcase baseball’s power and emotional heft) came just this past weekend when Yaz continued to culminate the Giants’ hot streak with a twelfth inning walk-off solo home run against the New York Mets.
He may not play for Boston, but everyone who roots for the Red Sox will definitely be rooting for Mike Yastrzemski going forward.