Johnny Pesky 1919-2012…..
Last night Fenway Park, the Red Sox and the Fenway Faithful honored Johnny Pesky one day after he was laid to rest next to Ruthie in Swampscott.
Everyone was adorned in appropriate attire.
Number 6 takes the field.
Appropriately enough, the Angels were on hand last night as well.
Johnny’s son David threw out the first pitch after being escorted to the mound by former Red Sox second baseman, Jerry Remy.
David Ortiz caught the first pitch.
The Red Sox are 112 years old, Fenway Park is 100 and Johnny left us at 92. His Fenway legacy will be forever displayed inside the park and out.
His number six will forevermore keep vigil over the foul pole which forevermore bears his name.
“Pesky’s Pole”, my Daddy told me about that when I was eight years old and Johnny was managing the Red Sox.
He played with Ted (9) and Joe (4) and Bobby (1). He managed Yaz (8) and he coached Pudge (27) and Jim (14). In fact Jim said he was the best hitting coach he ever had. Imagine that, a Hall of Fame power hitter saying the guy who hit as many home runs in his career (17) as the power hitter hit in a half season was the best hitting coach he ever had!
He is forevermore enbronzed outside the park with Ted and Bobby and Domenic, his best buddies for nearly three-quarters of a century.
The year that Johnny Pesky was born was the year Babe Ruth played his last season in a Red Sox uniform. And in fact on September 27, 1919, the day that Johnny Pesky was born, Babe Ruth played his last game in a Red Sox uniform.
Babe Ruth and wife Helen in ceremonies at Fenway Park in September of 1919, honoring Babe for breaking the single season home run record. He hit 29 that year.
The Red Sox were in Washington for a double-header. Babe had but one hit in that double-header loss and it came in the third inning of the first game and it was a home run, number 29 on the season, a new major league record! It was a record he held until 1961.
Countless words have been scribed in an attempt to capture the essence of this wonderful man and what he meant to the Red Sox, the ballpark, the Fenway Faithful, the game itself and indeed the nation. It is often futile to grasp and I suppose that’s why there are poets. However, I think that Johnny’s words best encapsulate it all. In an interview with Boston radio station WBUR back in 2003 he said simply,
“Dominic…. Bobby…. Me and Teddy. You know, we were known as the big four from the west coast, we were the rabble rousers. But we had a great love for the game of baseball and for each other.”
And we love him! Yup…………. It’s all about relationships!
Goodnight Johnny, rest easy, for God knows you’ve earned it.
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, August 22, 2012, Happy Birthday Yaz!