Sox Nation Mourns Pesky
by The Milton Measure on Friday, September 21st, 2012
Beloved former Boston Red Sox infielder, manager, and broadcaster, Johnny Pesky, died on August 13th, 2012 from natural causes at the age of 92. Pesky, nicknamed the “Needle,” was a strong supporter of the Red Sox even after his retirement from the game and has served as an icon for both fans and players alike. Over the course of his 10-year playing career in the Major Leagues, Pesky played in 1,270 games, recorded 1,455 hits, and carried a stellar career batting average of .307. His style of play most resembled that of New York Yankee outfielder Ichiro Suzuki: a contact hitter and a flawless base runner.
The son of Croatian immigrants, Pesky was born near Portland, Oregon. He was a versatile young athlete: before his days with the Red Sox, Pesky tried out for the Boston Bruins. He began his career with the Red Sox in 1942; however, after his rookie season, he entered the military to serve in World War II. He continued his career after the war, rejoining the Sox for the 1946 season, and eventually recorded a total of 8 years with the team.He spent the last 2 years of his career playing for the Detroit Tigers and the Washington Senators (now the Texas Rangers). After his playing career, Pesky managed a number of minor league teams before becoming the General Manager of the Red Sox in 1964.
In the last decade, Pesky received many honors from the Red Sox, such as the retiring of his number, “6,” and the naming of the right field foul pole after him: “Pesky’s Pole.” He was given the title “Honorary Instructor” and sat in the dugout during Red Sox games where he accompanied the team to their heroic 2004 World Series Championship. However, shortly after, the league limited the number of bench coaches in the dugout to six. Even after Peskey lost his seat on the bench, the Sox continued to honor his legacy and he raised the 2007 World Championship Banner for the Red Sox at the start of the 2008 season.
This year’s Red Sox season has already been labeled as a lost season, with the poor management of Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine and the tradeing away of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett to the Los Angeles Dodgers. While, in the midst of these disappointing events, the last thing that the Sox needed was another angry outcry from the Red Sox Nation. The team certainly deserved one when only four current players showed up to Pesky’s funeral: David Ortiz, Jarod Saltalamacchia, Clay Buchholz, and Vincente Padilla. Furthermore, the funeral was specially scheduled on an off day for the players to show their respect. Despite this disappointing showing, Johnny Pesky was an exceptional player and gentleman who deserves recognition, and his legacy will live on forever in Red Sox history.
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