They make movies about this kind of a script:

Loves baseball. World famous grandfather. Dad passes away first week into high school. Single mom takes charge. Goes to Vanderbilt University. Stars there. Drafted as a junior. Agrees to sign, but changes mind. Drafted again the next year after graduating.

OK, ready ... now the story really begins.

Our 2019 Eagle-Tribune Sportsman of the Year, Mike Yastrzemski, then spends parts of next seven seasons -- 703 games in all -- riding buses, staying in every hotel/motel on the east coast, as a minor leaguer.

Did he think about quitting? Yup. About 10,000 times.

But that old Yastrzemski trait -- hard work -- won out. Eventually. And the grandson of a baseball legend had a dream season, comparable on some levels to the one his grandfather had the summer of 1967.

"What am I most proudest of?" repeated Carl Yastrzemski, the 1988 first-ballot Hall of Famer, of his grandson. "What I did in (1967) doesn't compare to what he did this year. He never gave up. Never."

Ironically, most of us figured the name on the back of his jersey, "Yastrzemski," would make things easier for the Andover product. 

Fat chance.

But everything changed late in the evening on May 24, 2019. It finally happened. His dream, of becoming a major leaguers, was becoming a reality.

He was called up to the San Francisco Giants. He then called the two most important people in his life; wife, Paige, and mom, Anne Marie. 

A day later he played in his first game in the majors ... and never looked back.

Which part of the Mike Yastzremski Story of 2019 was the best?

Was it when the Baltimore Orioles traded him – finally – to the San Francisco Giants last March?

That was nice. He needed a change after six years with the O’s.

Was it his two-week explosion with Sacramento, hitting .424 with 14 RBI and a whopping nine home runs?

Was it his first hit in the majors with the Giants?

Was it his first major league home run against his former team, the Orioles, in Baltimore?

Was it his three-homer night on Aug. 16, in Arizona, the last of which was the game-winner in 11 innings?

Or maybe it was those three days in Boston, which included a night in Andover with family, a home run off Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi, or catching the first pitch from his legendary grandfather?

"Being in the moment was great. But what was even better was watching the replay," said Mike. "That was even better for me, that it was documented the way it was.

“Look, it was incredible hitting a home run at Fenway,” he added. “But the best part was watching the replay and seeing my family celebrating afterward — my mom, my grandmother, my aunts. … I will never forget seeing that. It made it all worth it.”

There were so many other highlights, hitting 21 home runs, becoming the first rookie since Dave Kingman (he hit 29 in 1972) to top 20 homers.

A side story was Mike, who despite his early successes, had his bags packed to return to the minors on July 14 when the Giants were heading for a flight to Denver from Milwaukee.

At the last second, the Giants apparently changed their minds when another outfielder was experiencing back tightness, so Mike made the trip.

The next day he started at Coors Field, clubbing four hits in the first game of a double-header then three hits the next day.

Since the day the Giants told Mike he'd be reporting back to Triple-A, he turned into one the best hitters in the major leagues with 11 home runs over the next month.

Carl probably said it best when dissecting his grandson's incredible achievements in 2019.

“Mike impressed the hell out of me,” said Carl. “Honestly, he handled himself a lot better than I did my rookie year. I had the pressure of replacing Ted Williams. He had the pressure of his name.

"I couldn’t be prouder of Michael Andrew,” said Carl. "I’m more impressed with the person he is."

The Mike Yastrzemski Story for 2019 was more than stats, which were plenty (.272, 21 HRs, 55 RBI, 22 doubles).

This is a story about perseverance ... and never, ever giving up on your dream.

You can email Bill Burt at

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