On any summer day in New England it's a good bet that Carl
Yastrzemski is fishing on Plum Island Sound off the northern
coast of Massachusetts, just as sure as you could have found him
in the shadow of the Green Monster at Fenway Park during the
1960s and '70s. He fishes alone, for striped bass, the silence
broken only by the occasional whizzing of his Shimano reel. ¬∂
The last player to win baseball's Triple Crown, in Boston's
Impossible Dream season of 1967, Yastrzemski retired in 1983
after 23 years with the Red Sox. Since then he has been elected
to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, failed in a bid to
become a minority owner of the Red Sox, worked briefly as a
sportscaster for WNEV-TV in Boston, bought a 20% share in Ann's
Boston Brownie Company and worked as a spokesman for Kahn's
Every October, Yastrzemski, 64, and his wife of two years, Nancy,
leave their home in Boxford, Mass. (pop. 7,921), for six months
in Delray, Fla. He spends most of that time playing golf at the
all-male Adios Golf Club, but when the Red Sox go to spring
training in Fort Myers, he makes the 150-mile trip across the
state and spends four weeks showing minor leaguers the finer
points of hitting. In April he and Nancy head back to Boxford.
Whether he's in Massachusetts or Florida, Yaz prefers to lead a
private life and declines almost all interview requests except
during spring training. When he does agree to talk to reporters,
he refuses to say much about his personal life. When asked how he
met Nancy, for example, he says, "Kind of like friends at first,
and stuff like that, you know." When prompted to talk more about
her, he adds, "Great person." (Yastrzemski has four grown
children from his first marriage, which ended in divorce.) He
even turned down a request to have his picture taken for this
"That's just him," says Mike Andrews, a former Boston teammate
and chairman of The Jimmy Fund, a cancer research charity to
which Yaz also contributes time. "He's a private guy. He's not
one for the limelight."
Occasionally the Red Sox pay Yastrzemski to sign autographs and
pose for pictures with the fans in Fenway's luxury suites, but he
watches most games on a TV at home. "I love to track pitch
location, which you can't see if you're in the ballpark," he
says. Yastrzemski does one baseball card show a year, and every
September he hosts a golf tournament in Bolton, Mass., to raise
money for The Genesis Fund, which is dedicated to raising money
for the care and treatment of children with birth defects, mental
retardation and genetic diseases.
Otherwise, he's as hard to catch as a gently fluttering
knuckleball. "When you get to my age," he says, "you can do
whatever you want."
Since Carl Yastrzemski became the 12th player to win the Triple
Crown in 1967, only eight hitters have finished a completed
season among the top three in their respective leagues in batting
average, home runs and RBIs.
1887 Tip O'Neill, Cardinals .435, 14 HR, 123 RBI
1901 Nap Lajoie, Athletics .426, 14 HR, 125 RBI
1909 Ty Cobb, Tigers .377, 9 HR, 107 RBI
1922 Rogers Hornsby, Cardinals .401, 42 HR, 152 RBI
1925 Rogers Hornsby, Cardinals .403, 39 HR, 143 RBI
1933 Jimmie Foxx, Athletics .356, 48 HR, 163 RBI
1933 Chuck Klein, Phillies .368, 28 HR, 120 RBI
1934 Lou Gehrig, Yankees .363, 49 HR, 165 RBI
1937 Joe Medwick, Cardinals .374, 31 HR, 154 RBI
1942 Ted Williams, Red Sox .356, 36 HR, 137 HR
1947 Ted Williams, Red Sox .343, 32 HR, 114 RBI
1956 Mickey Mantle, Yankees .353, 52 HR, 130 RBI
1966 Frank Robinson, Orioles .316, 49 HR, 122 RBI
1967 Carl Yastrzemski, Red Sox .326, 44 HR, 121 RBI
RECENT TRIPLE THREATS
1972 Dick Allen, White Sox .308, 37* HR, 113* RBI
1972 Billy Williams, Cubs .333*, 37 HR, 122 RBI
1977 George Foster, Reds .320, 52* HR, 149* RBI
1978 Dave Parker, Pirates .334*, 30 HR, 117 RBI
1978 Jim Rice, Red Sox .315, 46* HR, 139* RBI
1995 Dante Bichette, Rockies .340, 40* HR, 128* RBI
1997 Larry Walker, Rockies .366, 49* HR, 130 RBI
1998 Albert Belle, White Sox .328, 49 HR, 152 RBI
*Led league Second Third
In the northern Kentucky hamlet of Verona there is a man who
dreams of winning the thoroughbred Triple Crown--again. He is but
a small-time breeder in the sport of kings and a long shot to
accomplish the most celebrated feat in American horse racing, but
as many learned a long time ago, don't bet against Steve Cauthen.
¬∂ When he won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont the first
time, in 1978, he was the 18-year-old jockey with a 12-year-old's
face who rode Affirmed to three stirring victories over Alydar.
No one has won the Triple Crown since, and
today that 5'2", 95-pound jockey known as The Kid is 44 years
old, has grown four inches and is a fit 140 pounds. Cauthen, wife
Amy and their daughters Katelyn, 11, Karlie, 8, and Kelsey, 3,
live on the grounds of their 484-acre breeding farm and training
center, Dreamfields, five miles south of Steve's hometown of
His day usually begins at 6 a.m. with 30 minutes at his computer,
analyzing and downloading bloodline information. Then he heads to
the barn, where he joins his crew in feeding, grooming and
exercising his current stock of 16 broodmares, 11 yearlings and
11 foals. Some days he'll go to the track to train horses
belonging to various owners. He's back home by about 7 p.m. "It's
very demanding because there are so many aspects to [the horse
business]," he says. "But when you achieve success, that makes it
all the more interesting, challenging and satisfying."
Cauthen achieved great success in 1977, when he won 487 races and
a record $6.15 million and was named SI's Sportsman of the Year.
He rode Affirmed to glory the following spring, then just as
suddenly his career went sour. At one point in '79 he went
winless for 110 straight races in California. Cauthen tried his
luck in Europe, riding for gambling magnate Robert Sangster and
winning a classic in his first month. But by the time he was 20,
Cauthen was battling every jockey's nightmare: making weight. He
starved himself, sometimes eating only a small salad a day, and
sat for hours in the sweatbox trying to stay below 120 pounds. At
the same time, he says, he started drinking almost every night.
When he visited the U.S. in 1985, Cauthen entered a four-week
alcohol-dependency program at a rehab center in Cincinnati. "I'd
have a drink to not think about going all night without eating,"
he says. "Eventually I got tired and depressed."
Cauthen says he has been sober since coming out of rehab, though
the toll of trying to make weight finally forced him into
retirement in '92, at age 32, with 2,794 winners and three
European riding titles. Steve and Amy, who were married that
year, returned to their native Kentucky for good. Cauthen bought
the land in Verona, which included a farm, and over the next five
years they built a house and the breeding facility. Their
broodmares have produced some small stakes winners, but Cauthen's
pursuit of the Triple Crown as a breeder has just begun. "My dad
told me a long time ago, 'If you find something that you love,
you'll never have to work another day in your life,'" he says.
"And I love what I do."
Since Affirmed became the last thoroughbred Triple Crown winner
in 1978, 10 horses have won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness,
only to lose the Belmont.
1919 Sir Barton
1930 Gallant Fox
1937 War Admiral
1943 Count Fleet
1977 Seattle Slew
RECENT NEAR MISSES
1979 Spectacular Bid (third*)
1981 Pleasant Colony (third)
1987 Alysheba (fourth)
1989 Sunday Silence (second)
1997 Silver Charm (second)
1998 Real Quiet (second)
1999 Charismatic (third)
2002 War Emblem (eighth)
2003 Funny Cide (third)
2004 Smarty Jones (second)
*Finish in Belmont
COLOR PHOTO: BRITA MENG OUTZEN (YAZ INSET) BOSTON POP Yastrzemski, who limits his public appearances sinceretiring in 1983, topped the American League in batting average,homers and RBIs in '67.
B/W PHOTO: ART SHAY (YASTRZEMSKI)
COLOR PHOTO: GREG FOSTER (CAUTHEN INSET) HORSE SENSE Cauthen, now a breeder in his native Kentucky, was only 18 when he rode Affirmed (far right) to three classic winsover Alydar in 1978.
B/W PHOTO: AP (CAUTHEN) [See caption above]
COLOR PHOTO: FRED KAPLAN ICING ON THE CROWN The Red Sox lost the Series, but Yaz was ourSportsman.
B/W PHOTO: JOHN G. ZIMMERMAN BONUS In '56 Mantle was also MVP.
COLOR PHOTO: ALLEN KEE/WIREIMAGE.COM BELLE CURVE Albert last played in 2000.
COLOR PHOTO: ANTHONY EDGEWORTH PREAMBLE Cauthen's winningest season came the year before hisTriple Crown.
COLOR PHOTO: BILL FRAKES GET SMARTY Favorite Jones (right) was caught by Birdstone.