When they went against Boston in the showdown series last weekend, the Twins played their absolute worst. An elbow injury forced Minnesota's best September pitcher, Jim Kaat, out of the first game in the third inning. But even so, the Red Sox seemed always to be the attacking team. In the Saturday game Minnesota carried a 1-0 lead into the fifth inning, and then Boston got two runs. The Twins tied the game in the sixth, but when Ron Kline came on in relief George Scott launched his first pitch into the center-field stands for a homer that put the Sox ahead. In the seventh Boston put two runners on base, one on a grievous error by Shortstop Zoilo Versalles, and Yastrzemski came to bat. Carl instantly homered into the bullpen, and one Vice-President, six governors, two Senators and all of Boston stood up and cheered, though the Vice-President was just being polite.
That homer eventually proved to be the hit that won Yastrzemski baseball's Triple Crown and Boston the pennant. When Yastrzemski went out to left field the next inning, with the crowd still cheering, he scraped for a moment at the grass with his spikes and hollered over his shoulder to the man in the left-field scoreboard to ask about the progress of the Detroit-California game. Then, when the crowd finally quieted down he looked up into the stands and raised his cap just slightly. Later he said, "I knew the dream was no longer impossible."
In Sunday's game Yastrzemski had trouble picking up a base hit by Killebrew, and it went through his legs for an error that let Minnesota go ahead 2-0. "I felt awful," he said afterward, "like I goofed the whole world up." But in the sixth inning Yaz's hit was the key one that rocketed Boston to the championship. With the bases loaded, the Red Sox losing 2-0, he deftly pounded a single to center to tie the game. That was the inning that Pitcher Jim Lonborg launched with a startling safe bunt, and when it was over Boston led 5-2. But Yastrzemski was not through. With Minnesota threatening in the seventh inning, one run in, Harmon Killebrew chugging to third and Bob Allison digging for second with the tying run after dumping a double, seemingly, into the left-field corner, Yastrzemski came up with the ball, threw strongly and perfectly to second and cut Allison down. "I looked for an exacting second," Yastrzemski said later. And then he threw, to the right base at the right time.
When the game was over Yastrzemski was pounded on the back by Tom Yaw-key, who has been the owner of the Red Sox for more than three decades. Later, after Detroit had lost to California, Yawkey walked over to Yastrzemski and said, "Carl, I don't know what to say to thank you. In my 33 years of baseball nothing has ever had me more excited." Yastrzemski looked at Yawkey and said, "Do we finally get a chance to drink the champagne?"
Dick Williams, the 38-year-old manager, raised a glass and said to Yawkey, "Here's to the pennant." Yawkey said, "I haven't had a drink in four years, but I'll drink to that." The impossible dream had come true.