By Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
The question is why?
Why of the 2,004 players to play for the Cubs have only 11 have had a last name beginning with the letter ‘Y’?
Why is George Yantz who played for the 1912 Cubs at West Side Grounds before Wrigley Field opened the only catcher whose last name begins with the letter ‘Y’?” Yantz singled in his only at bat in 103 years ago.
Since then, only 10 players with their last letter beginning with the letter ‘Y’ have played at Wrigley: infielder Steve Yerkes 1916, left-hander Lefty York in 1921, third baseman Elmer Yoter in 1927, lefty Carroll Yerkes in 1932-33, infielder Tony York in 1944, Eric Yelding in 1993, outfielder Don Young from 1965 to 1969, right-hander Anthony Young in 1994-95, lefty Danny Young in 2000 and second baseman Eric Young 2000-01.
Before this turns into a Bud Abbott and Lou Costello’s Who’s on First routine ...
We should tell you Andrew Yerzy (Toronto, Ont.) of the Toronto Mets didn’t suit up for the Cubs on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
He did wear white and gold of the National Team of high school hit a two-run homer in an 11-5 win over the American Team in the Under Armour All-America Game.
Yerzy strapped on the gear at historic Wrigley, which opened in 1914 as Weeghman Park for the Chicago Federal League team, the Chicago Whales. The Cubs moved in April 20, 1916, defeating the Cincinnati Reds 7–6 in 11 innings. The ball park was called Cubs Park from 1920 through 1926, before officially becoming Wrigley Field for the 1927 season.
He went opposite field with a home run to left field with a home run into the basket atop the fence to give the National team a 2-1 advantage in the second inning. He recorded a 1.85 pop time.
He also grounded out twice but his home run swing had American manager Billy Ripken compare him to Carlos Gonzalez.
The best of the 40 players attending the showcase saw awards go to Under Armour All-Americans:
Andrew Yerzy – Under Armour Silver Spikes Winner for National Team
Carter Kieboom – UA Silver Spikes Winner for American Team
Taylor Trammel – G Award – showed the most hustle and soul, and never stopped challenging themselves
Cooper Johnson – Kelly Kulina Award – player showing best attitude, work ethic, dedication and enthusiasm
In Their Own Words: A Conversation with Under Armour All-American Andrew Yerzy
By Matthew Lund
The Baseball Factory
The collection of the nation’s top high school baseball athletes will converge on Wrigley Field in Chicago on Aug. 15th for the Under Armour All-America Game, powered by Baseball Factory.
Now in its eighth year, the game is the definitive gathering of baseball’s elite. It is the launching ground for athletes to be noticed, highlighted by a formal workout for Major League Baseball (MLB) scouts and a homerun derby, all while under the tutelage of some of the game’s best players and coaches.
We highlight one of the players who will participate in the All-America Game, catcher, Andrew Yerzy.
The junior catcher from York Mills Collegiate in Toronto, Ont., Canada is the lone Canadian in this year’s showcase event after last year’s All-America appearances by fellow Canadians, Josh Naylor (drafted by the Miami Marlins – first round) and Demi Orimoloye (drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers – fourth round).
Carrying the country on his shoulders and with his bat, Yerzy held his own in this year’s Junior Home Run Derby during the MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati, Ohio, in addition to his time with the Canadian National Team and the 16U Toronto Mets.
Yerzy recently shared his insights in a conversation with Baseball Factory as he prepares to showcase his talents in the Windy City.
Baseball Factory: Was there any nervousness participating in the Junior Home Run Derby, being on the same field as the major leaguers?
Andrew Yerzy: You kind of get used to playing in front of big crowds, it was more nerve wracking to play for your country rather than in front of the big league players. You don’t want to go into a home run derby and not hit any home runs, so once you hit a homer, it settles you down. It takes a lot of the pressure off of you.
BF: You represented Canada in the Junior Home Run Derby this year, can you describe the feeling of national pride?
AY: It was amazing. A lot of people would think Canadians wouldn’t have any part in winning this event, but the last two years, we have had success with (Josh) Naylor coming in second in last year’s Derby and with myself tying Ron Washington, Jr. in the event this year. We are showing the world that we are good baseball players in Canada.
BF: You are standing out this year as the lone Canadian to play in the showcase this year…
AY: It’s awesome ... knowing I’ll be representing my country. Naylor and Orimoloye have done it before me, but its an awesome feeling knowing you can show people the style of play in Canada because we’re not normally considered a baseball-playing country.
BF: What’s the most exciting part about playing for the Canadian Junior National Team?
AY: Definitely the competition we face. We go to Florida three times a year, the Dominican once a year. After the All-America Game, we’ll be going to Australia for one final training camp and then hopefully to Japan for 18U World Classic. The competition you’re exposed to at 16 or 17 is unbelievable. Of course, playing for your country is the highest honor.
BF: Talk about your relationship with Greg Hamilton – the coach of the Junior National Team..
AY: He’s great. I would say most of my baseball success so far goes towards him. I played for him last year, but its great to have the amount of exposure that you do with him in Canada. He’s a great guy, a great teacher. He helps slow the game down for you and the experience you get playing for him is invaluable.
BF: Why did you choose Notre Dame to play baseball?
AY: In terms of the school and baseball, it was an ideal situation. They are a top academic program in the nation and the baseball team plays in a great conference in the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference).
BF: What is one thing you would like to work on with your game to get you ready for the next level?
AY: My agility and staying flexible behind the plate. I’m a big guy (6’3″, 215) so being able to stay agile behind the plate will be important for me to continue getting better at the next level.
BF: Which player do you model your game after?
AY: I like to think of myself as my own player … but, one player I look at is Minnesota Twins star, Joe Mauer. Especially when he was a catcher; he has a really easy left-handed swing with power but also a good catcher too.
BF: What is one thing most people wouldn’t know about you?
AY: I love to barbecue – grilling steaks is my favorite!