A Boston Red Sox legend and his grandson had a Hall of Fame moment at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.
Carl Yastrzemski, 80, an 18-time All-Star who played 23 years for Boston, had baseball fans smiling and holding back tears when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game to his grandson, 29-year-old San Francisco Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski.
The two shared a hug before the elder Yastrzemski, who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989, lobbed a pitch right down the middle to his grandson.
"Special," Mike told MLB.com. “It was something that you say you want to be able to play catch with your dad and your grandfather in the backyard usually. To be able to get one in at Fenway Park was really cool."
"Honestly, I was thinking about the last time we had played catch," he noted. "I remembered a time probably during Thanksgiving when I must have been 7 or 8 at his house. Being able to relive that and to go through that again on this type of scale and to have such a warm welcome from everyone was really awesome."
The heartwarming moment came after Carl let Mike have the stage a night earlier.
The Hall of Famer left the game early on Tuesday before Mike belted a solo home run in the fourth inning of a 7-6 win by the Giants in 15 innings.
Mike became the rare visiting player to receive a standing ovation after going deep in his first game ever at Fenway Park, transporting fans back to the days when another outfielder with "Yastrzemski" on the back of his jersey hit 452 home runs over the course of his career for the home team.
"The crowd reactions all night were incredible," Mike told reporters afterward. “I can’t thank them enough for being supportive and showing some love when I’m on the opposing team. It’s unheard of, and it was really special."
"I just had to take a second and understand what was going on and appreciate that moment and not take it for granted," he also said. "I made sure to keep my head up and look around and soak it all in because you don't really get an ovation at an away or opposing park for your home run."
It was the first homer by a Yastrzemski at Fenway Park since Mike's grandfather belted one in 1983 in his final season.
The family moments at Fenway come during a breakthrough year for Mike, who is in his rookie season in the major leagues.
He was traded to the Giants in March after spending six seasons in the minor leagues with the Baltimore Orioles, which drafted him in the 14th round in 2013 out of Vanderbilt University.
His home run at Fenway Park on Tuesday made him the first Giants rookie to reach 20 home runs in a season in 47 years.
"Getting called up here, playing the type of ball he is, having the chance to come here to Boston and play left field where his grandfather did, and then of course, to hit a home run in his first game — it’s hard to script out any better than what happened tonight,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters.