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Johnny Pesky A Boston Baseball Legend
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Johnny Pesky A Boston Baseball Legend

Johnny Pesky, a legend in Boston Red Sox baseball , passed away on August 13, 2012. He will forever be remembered in Beantown as a player, coach, manager and commentator. However, the singlemost impressive statistic about Johnny Pesky was his lifelong passion and dedication to the game of baseball.

Cooperstown Baseball Hall Fame

Athough Pesky was inducted into the Red Sox hall of fame, he has yet to be elected to the hallowed hall in Cooperstown. In this man's humble opinion, his contributions throughout his career (which spanned over seven decades) to the game of baseball are immeasurable. It's not about phenomenal stats but more of his love and passion for the game and particularly the Boston Red Sox where he spent 61 of his 73 years. A tribute to the sport by his longevity, making a posthomous selection seemingly inevitable.

But speaking of stats, he had a career batting average of .307, lead the league in hitting in three different years, and garnered 1455 hits in 4745 at bats. He also drove in 404 runs over his ten year playing career, missing the 43-45 seasons to serve in the Navy in WWII. A right hander who batted left, Pesky was difficult to strike out and always challenged pitchers with his baserunning. He played a total of 1270 games.

Boston Baseball Icon

John Michael Paveskovich was born of Croatian immigrants on Feb. 27, 1919, but later altered his birth date so he would be eligible for the major league draft. He grew up in Portland, Oregon, played for Lincoln High School, and was drafted by the Red Sox in 1939. He was offered a position with the Washington Senators but decided to play for the Sox. Pesky remembers that day, "The Red Sox scout showed up at my house with a dozen red roses for my mother and a big bottle of bourbon for my father. My mother liked the roses so she wanted me to play for the Red Sox".

Always a very humble man but a fierce competitor, Pesky did whatever it took to be a player. He spent two years in the minors and was called up to Boston in 1942. That year he led the league with 205 hits, a rookie record. His playing career was interrupted by WWII but he came back in 1946 to lead the league in hitting for another two years. He played with the Sox until 1952 and was traded to the Tigers. In 1954 he did a brief stint with the Senators before his playing career ended.

By 1969, he was back in his beloved Boston for good, working as a color commentator, coach, manager and special assistant. He mentored such famous players as Jim Rice, Tony Conigliaro, Carl Yastremski and Tim Wakefield and was so loved by Bostonians that he was the subject of two books: 'Mr. Red Sox', Pesky's biography by Bill Nowlin and 'The Teammates', David Halberstam's book chronicling Pesky, Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr and Dom DiMaggio.

Wearing his World Series ring, Pesky raised that banner in Fenway Park in 2004 and 2007, an accomplishment that elluded him during his playing career but he was very much a part of as a special assistant and hitting coach. In 2006, a grateful Red Sox management officially named the right field foul pole 'The Pesky Pole'.

His number 6 was retired in 2008.


Street Talk

Hope he gets there, he deserves it!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

he certainly does - not for just his accomplishments but for his dedication to the sport as well

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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