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On August 13th 2012 Red Sox Nation lost one of its most beloved members. Johnny Pesky passed away at the age of 92.
Pesky played ten seasons in the major’s, and missed three more from 1943-1945 due to military service. He spent a little more than seven seasons with the Red Sox before he was sent to Detroit. He was a career .307 hitter and a dependable infielder, playing third, short, and second. His number 6 is retired and displayed on the right field roof deck in Fenway Park for everyone to see.
Pesky is more known for the foul pole down the right field line which is named after him. It is believed that former teammate and Red Sox broadcaster Mel Parnell named the pole after Pesky after Johnny slapped a game winning home run just around it in 1948. The pole was officially dedicated to Pesky on September 27th 2006, and a commemorative plaque was placed at the base.
The legend of Johnny Pesky goes far beyond his time on the field. It has been his time spent with the Red Sox organization after his playing career was over that has drawn the attention of the Fenway Faithful. Over the past few decades seeing Pesky sitting in the dugout with the team was common place. When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 for the first time in 86 years, as a fan watching Pesky celebrate felt more important than watching the players who won it. Pesky devoted most of his life to the game of baseball, and especially the Red Sox organization.
On a personal note, I had the privilege of meeting Johnny Pesky when I was about eight years old at a Lowell Spinners game. I was with a friend and his grandmother and she pointed out who he was to us. Naturally, we along with many other children flocked over to the legend eager to receive his autograph. Without hesitation and with a huge smile on his face he signed autographs for every child that approached him. His love for the game was evident, and his kind, genuine personality transcended the game. While it is sad to say good-bye to a legend the stature of Pesky, we treat this as a celebration of his life, knowing he truly did live his life to the fullest.
On behalf of Red Sox Nation, Rest In Peace Johnny, you will truly be missed.