EDITOR’S NOTE: Gabriel Starr joins the Herald today as the Red Sox beat reporter. This is his first piece for the Herald.
1967 On October 5th, a young boy almost 10 years old sat at Fenway Park with his father, who let him skip school for the World Series. It was Game 2 and the Impossible Dream Red Sox were trying to keep their championship drought from reaching the half-century mark.
Spoiler alert. no dice.
But their fate was not yet sealed that Thursday in Boston, and something wonderful happened. Carl Yastrzemski hit a pair of home runs in the first and ultimately only time of his postseason career, and my dad and grandpa were there to see it.
Fifty-two years later, I took my father to see another Yastrzemski play ball. Mike Yastrzemski, the only Yaz grandson, was in town with the San Francisco Giants and it was his first time playing at Fenway. What my father didn’t know until the last minute was that grandfather and grandson would be taking the field together for an emotional first pitch.
What followed was one of those nights when it’s impossible not to be romantic about baseball. That 1967 World Series game was scoreless until the fourth inning, when the Yaz hit a home run to put the Sox ahead. In the same inning of that September 2019 game, his grandson did what Yastrzemskis does. in front of his grandfather and thousands of fans who grew up believing in that Impossible Dream, he sent a white and red puck into the bleachers.
Like life, this game is far from perfect. Not every at-bat will be a home run; Most days, you’re lucky if you walk or hit by a pitch, whatever gets you on base. But baseball is about showing off. “90% of life is showing up” was one of my father’s mantras, and it’s true for gaming as well. If you show up, anything can happen.
I think that’s why baseball is so much deeper than the stat line or the box score; no amount of tabulation will tell you why multiple home runs decades apart were so meaningful. Baseball is about more than numbers. It is a play of impossibility and possibility, ghost stories and fairy tales, tragedies and comedies, failure and glory. It’s about family, the thread that binds the generations together. Decades before Mike Yastrzemski hit a home run at Fenway on September 17, his grandfather hit a home run on the same day in 1966 and 1978. And at the end of that night in September, the elder Yaz told reporters that the only thing in his life that compares to seeing. his grandson’s game in his old ballpark was that unexpectedly magical 1967 season, the same reason I brought my father to that game in the first place.
This game and this team have been a part of me for as long as I can remember and have been a part of my family’s history for over a century. I grew up going to Fenway, just like my dad did and his dad before him. My childhood home is so close to the stage that on warm summer nights I could hear the concerts from my bedroom window. But my journey to the Herald has not only been linear. I’ve worked in PR, marketing, social media, tech, podcasting, become a teacher, and spent years as a freelance writer in the beauty and sports industries before finally becoming a full-time sports writer a few years ago.
As the Herald’s new Red Sox reporter, I’ll bring you not only the numbers, but the stories behind them. It is my honor to tell what has yet to be revealed, to connect the present and the future with the past, and to show you why it all matters.