Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame to unveil two historical markers including tribute to 'Yaz'
Legendary Boston Red Sox leftfielder and first baseman Carl Yastrzemski Jr., already has a plaque in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and one in the Hall of Fame at Bridgehampton High School, where he starred on the football, basketball and baseball teams.
On Tuesday, the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame will add another tribute to the East End native when they place a historic marker alongside the new baseball field at Bridgehampton High School to honor the place "Yaz" once called home.
The ceremony is scheduled for 3:45 p.m., followed by the first varsity baseball game for Bridgehampton since 1980. The team had played for years as a combined program with Sag Harbor's Pierson High School, but this season they will play once again under the Bridgehampton banner, though the roster will include players who attend the private Ross School in East Hampton.
"It's pretty amazing," said Bridgehampton athletic director Michael DeRosa, who also serves as assistant to head baseball coach Lou Liberatore. "We're not only celebrating the fact we're bringing the team back, but we're celebrating the Suffolk County Hall of Fame unveiling this historic marker."
The game, against league rival Shelter Island, will also mark the first varsity game at Bridgehampton's new baseball field, which was part of a multimillion dollar project that also added a new gym and classroom space.
Former Bridgehampton basketball and baseball star Carl Johnson, who led the Killer Bees basketball teams to state titles as a player and coach, is slated to throw out the first pitch, DeRosa said.
"It's really fitting," Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame Executive Director Chris R. Vaccaro said. "The Suffolk Hall of Fame is about more than just honoring people, it's about honoring places, too. That Bridgehampton is bringing back baseball after more than 40 years, that just made it perfect timing."
The historic marker notes Yastrzemski is "one of the greatest baseball players of all time." It indicates he was a 1957 graduate of Bridgehampton, a 1989 inductee to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and a 2022 inductee into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame.
It will be the first of two markers to be installed by the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame this year.
The second will be celebrated May 4 on the grounds of the Riverhead School District headquarters to mark a 1950 game in which legendary Negro Leagues star and Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Satchel Paige pitched against a semipro team featuring Carl Yastrzemski Sr.
Carl Jr., then 10 years old, was also at the game, serving as the bat boy. The younger Yastrzemski was from a big baseball family led by Carl Sr., a potato farmer who himself was a legendary player on the East End.
A first-ballot National Hall of Fame selection in 1989, Carl Jr. spent 23 seasons with the Red Sox, where he was an MVP, an 18-time All-Star, a seven-time Gold Glove winner and a three-time batting champ. He finished with 3,419 hits, 452 home runs, 1,816 runs scored, 1,844 runs batted in, 1,845 career walks and a .285 career batting average in 3,308 career games before he retired in 1983 at age 43.
What Long Islanders might not know is that Yastrzemski had a career .512 batting average at Bridgehampton High and, as a senior on the school's basketball team, scored a conference record 628 points to lead the team to the league championship in 1956-57. He later attended Notre Dame on a full basketball and baseball scholarship before joining the Red Sox in 1961.