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Red Sox to Retire Johnny Pesky’s Number

The Red Sox are reportedly planning to retire Johnny Pesky’s No. 6 before the end of the regular season. The team plans on relaxing its long-standing requirements to have a player’s number retired (in the MLB hall of fame, at least 10 years with the team, retire with the team).

According to the Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley, the Sox held meetings last night and this morning to address the issue of retiring a Red Sox player’s number. The team now plans to hold a press conference today or tomorrow to announce the new criteria. A team source close to Buckley said that Johnny Pesky’s jersey will probably be retired on Saturday (his 89th birthday).

Pesky played for the Red Sox for eight seasons (1942, 1946-1952) and hit .307 over the course of his major league career. He hit only 17 home runs in his career (six in Fenway Park), and was known around the league as a slap hitter.

The right field pole was dubbed Pesky’s Pole by Mel Parnell in 1950, but was never officially commemorated until 2006. Slap hitters like Pesky often liked aiming the ball down the right field line or around the pole for a home run due to its realtively short distance from home plate (302 feet).

The last player to wear Pesky’s No. 6 was longtime Minnesota Twin Gary Gaetti during the five final games of his career in 2000 with the Red Sox (he was 0-10 with 3 K’s and 1 RBI that season).

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5 comments for “Red Sox to Retire Johnny Pesky’s Number”

  1. Not that I care all that much, but if was such a legend, why did it take so long for this?

    Posted by Jeff | September 23, 2008, 2:54 pm
  2. Because the previous ownership under the Yawkey trust was incompetent and too stubborn to change “tradition.” Finally this rule opens the door for Tony Conigliaro, Jim Rice, Pedro Martinez, et al.

    Posted by KC | September 23, 2008, 2:57 pm
  3. I agree it’s about time to get 14 (Rice), 21 (Clemens), 26 (Boggs), 45 (Martinez), etc on the facade. In the era of free agency, it’ll be hard for Red Sox heroes to meet all the requirements. The team was just shifting from Rice (who should make the Baseball HOF) to Clemens and Boggs when I was growing up. They were great Red Sox and part of many good teams, but didn’t get to wrap it up in Boston, but should be retired. Hopefully, 2009 will be a year to hand out more rings and put some numbers up!

    Posted by Mike | September 23, 2008, 5:29 pm
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  5. […] Sox initially planned to hold the ceremony an hour before gametime on Saturday at around 3 p.m., which also happens to be Pesky’s 89th […]

    Posted by Rain Delay’s Johnny Pesky Ceremony | Sports of Boston | September 26, 2008, 6:19 pm

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