The name Jess Cain doesn't mean a great deal outside the Boston area. Cain was a popular morning radio host on WHDH for decades (1957-1991), one of those people who become a shared part of the community. Practically everyone used to wake up to him.
But he was something else to certain members of "Red Sox Nation."
After the 1967 baseball season, the "Impossible Dream" year that rejuvenated baseball in New England, Fleetword Records issued a record album (remember those?) with highlights of the season. I'll bet it sold thousands and thousands of copies. The first side went through the season day-by-day, the second side went through player-by-player.
On side two was a tribute to Carl Yastrzemski, who had one of the great clutch years in sports history. There are plenty of audio clips of Yaz hitting a big homer or making a great catch on the record.
The capper, though, was a three-minute song that was a tribute to Yaz. I don't think it had a title -- maybe "The Yastrzemski Song" -- but it started, "Carl Yastrzemski, Carl Yastrzemski, Carl Yastrzemski, the man we call Yaz, we love him. Carl Yastrzemski, Carl Yastrzemski, Carl Yastrzemki, what power he has. Our Boston team, it's always on the beam, cause we got Yaz..."
Lots of horns along the way, and pretty catchy as these things go. (Here's how it sounds.) Take it from the 12-year-old who listened to that album as only a 12-year-old living 300 miles from Boston could -- it was good stuff. I still remember the words, and I'll bet my co-worker at The Buffalo News, Jerry Sullivan, another 12-year-old living in Rhode Island at the time, could too.
Yup, the song was written and sung by Jess Cain.
The tune came up in the public eye when the movie "Fever Pitch" was released almost three years ago, and it was part of the soundtrack. I sat right up in my seat when I saw the album cover in the movie.
I dubbed the album to cassette tape (I know, I should have it on my iPod by now), and I'll have to listen to the song soon. Jesse would have liked that, I think.