.329/.452/.592, 1.044 OPS, 697 PA, 186 H, 128 BB, 40 HR, 102 RBI, 125 R, 335 TB, 315 TOB, 177 OPS+
All-Star starter, All-Star MVP, MVP – 4
Far less famous than his 1967 season, Yastrzesmki capped an incredible four-year peak with this tremendous campaign. It was Captain Carl’s last great season in Boston, but it ended a stellar run. From 1967-70, no one in the American League came within 20 OPS points of Yaz. He was also first in total bases, first in erxtra-base hits, first in times on base and first in runs produced in that span. By the end of 1970, Yastrzemski’s 168 OPS+ for ages 27 through 30 was the 10th-best in baseball history. Since then, only Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds have done better during their prime years.
A testament to Yaz’s remarkably underrated plate discipline was his line during an early season slump. On June 18, Yastrzemski’s batting average slid below .270, but he still reached base at a .420 clip, and his slugging was a healthy .510. Then he got hot, hitting .398/.500/.751 over 57 games through an Aug. 15 double-header. Between May 25 and Aug. 16, Yastrzemski reached base an amazing 76 games out of 78, including two streaks of 36 straight.
Key game: Sept. 29. On the second-to-last day of the season, Yaz is locked in a close battle for the AL batting title, entering the day batting .326 to Alex Johnson’s .327. He helps his own cause by going 3-for-4 against the Yankees. He ties the score at two with a fifth-inning sac fly, then with the Red Sox having rallied from two down to tie the score in the bottom of the ninth, Yaz singles home Mike Andrews with one out to win the game, 5-4. He ends the day with a .329 average to Johnson’s .327, but Johnson closes the season 3-for-6 in two games while Yaz goes 1-for-4 in his final game. Johnson wins the batting title, .3289 to .3286.