Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski was honored with a statue outside Fenway Park on Sunday.
“It means tremendous importance to me,” the 74-year-old said during the 30 minute ceremony. “This is as important to me as being elected to the Hall of Fame and having my number retired. It’s a tremendous honor.”
Former teammates Dwight Evans, Jim Rice, Bill Lee and Luis Tiant, and current Red Sox Dustin Pedroia, Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava and manager John Farrell helped honor Yastrzemski, who won the Triple Crown in 1967.
This year’s Red Sox, who clinched the American League East championship Friday, won just 69 games last year. They have been compared to the ’67 team.
“In a way there’s a lot of similarities, playing as a great, great unit,” Yastrzemski said. “Different guys doing something every day. That’s what you need to win the division, which they did. The comparisons I make is it was a very tight unit. I’m just waiting for the playoffs. I can’t wait for the playoffs to start.”
Several hundred fans attended the ceremony.
Yastrzemski’s statue is in between Hall of Famer Ted Williams’ and one called “teammates” with Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr. The statue is an image of Yaz tipping his cap before his final at-bat in 1983.
“The greatest Red Sox player is Carl Yastrzemski,” Evans said.
Rice, also a Hall of Famer, replaced Yastrzemski in left field.
“He said, ‘Jimmy, I’m going to show you how to play left field,’” Rice recalled. “He folded his arms and dropped his head and said, ‘Jimmy, you’re going to have to learn how to play it yourself.’ “
Mayor Tom Menino proclaimed it “Carl Yastrzemski Day for the city of Boston.”
Yastrzemski paused during his speech and remembered his late son, Michael.
“He was my biggest fan,” he said. “I wish he were here today.”
Yastrzemski, inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1989, wore his No. 8 jersey while throwing out the first pitch before the game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
In Sunday’s game, the Red Sox scored four runs in the second inning on their way to a 5-2 win over the Blue Jays. Jackie Bradley provided the big blow, belting a three-run homer.
Left-hander Felix Doubront improved to 11-6 as earned the win for Boston. He went seven innings, giving up two run on four hits, including a home run. He issued two walks and recorded two strikeouts and a wild pitch.
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey took the loss, falling to 13-13. He went eight innings giving up five runs on six hits and walk with 11 strikeouts.
Toronto scored first, getting a run in the second when Mark DeRosa walked with one out, followed by singles from Ryan Goins and Kevin Pillar.
With one out in the second, Daniel Nava singled, before Will Middlebrooks flied out. After singles by Stephen Drew and Ryan Lavarnway, scoring Nava, Bradley’s home run gave the Red Sox a three-run lead.
Pillar, who went 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI, led off the fifth with his second home run of the season, cutting Toronto’s deficit to 4-2.
But David Ortiz, who went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI, led off the sixth with his 29th home run of the season, putting Boston ahead, 5-2.
Koji Uehara earned his 21st save of the season with a perfect ninth.
NOTES: Manager John Farrell is hopeful CF Jacoby Ellsbury can return to the lineup Wednesday at Colorado. Ellsbury has been sidelined since Sept. 6. He fractured the navicular bone in his right foot fouling off a pitch on Aug. 28. … Doubront, who started Sunday, is expected to move into the bullpen for the postseason. He won’t be available until the final series of the season in Baltimore Sept. 27-29, though. … 1B Mike Napoli was not in the starting lineup for the second straight day on Sunday. With an off-day Monday, manager John Farrell was looking to get some rest for Napoli, who dealt with plantar fasciitis in August. … Blue Jays right-hander Ramon Ortiz has resumed throwing at the team’s complex in Dunedin, Fla. He suffered an elbow injury on June 2. He was expected to need Tommy John surgery but has avoided the surgery. He is now throwing from a mound. Ortiz, who turned 40 in May, will be a free agent after the season.