Red Sox icon Johnny Pesky dead at 92

Adored by generations of Red Sox fans, Johnny Pesky was so much a part of Boston baseball that the right-field foul pole at Fenway Park was named for him.
Pesky, who played, managed and served as a broadcaster for the Red Sox in a baseball career that lasted more than 60 years, died Monday. He was 92.
“The national pastime has lost one of its greatest ambassadors” – baseball commissioner Bud Selig said. “Johnny Pesky, who led a great American life, was an embodiment of loyalty and goodwill for the Boston Red Sox and all of Major League Baseball.”
Pesky died just more than a week after his final visit to Fenway, on Aug. 5 when Boston beat the Minnesota Twins 6-4.
Yet for many in the legion of Red Sox fans, their last image of Pesky will be from the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park on April 20, when the man known for his warmth, kindness and outstanding baseball career was moved to tears at a pregame ceremony. By then the former shortstop was in a wheelchair positioned at second base, surrounded by dozens of admiring former players and a cheering crowd.
“I feel like part of the Red Sox tradition just died because when I think of Johnny I think of him hitting fungos at spring training. We will all miss him so much” – ex-pitcher Pedro Martinez said in comments provided by the Red Sox. “He was such a representative of everything that happened in Boston. It’s hard to think of the success, defeat, and all we went through without Johnny. You couldn’t do anything without Johnny Pesky.”

Red Sox icon Johnny Pesky dead at 92
Johnny Pesky.

Pesky was certainly a heck of a player if you did get the chance to see him, though. A career infielder who lost three seasons due to military service, Pesky posted a career line of .307/.394/.386 over his 10-year career with the Red Sox, Tigers and Senators. He was one of the four Red Sox players chronicled in David Halberstam’s “The Teammates” and his death leaves Bobby Doerr as the lone surviving member of that quartet. Ted Williams and Dom DiMaggio were the other two.
Pesky’s Red Sox legend will live on, both in the number of fans he made and in the right-field foul pole at Fenway. Standing only 302 feet from home plate, it was officially christened as “Pesky’s Pole” by the team in 2006 but got its name from Red Sox pitcher Mel Parnell many years before that. As the story goes, Pesky (who stood 5-foot-9 and only hit 17 homers in his career) saved Parnell from a loss with a late-inning homer that clanged off the pole. Attempts to corroborate that story later proved Parnell’s memory a little short of sharp (such a home run never happened) but it speaks to Pesky’s place in Red Sox history that they’ll be calling it Pesky’s Pole as long as there is a team known as the Boston Red Sox.
May he rest in peace.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uytNANWyxrI

Members of the Red Sox front office have offered up the following statements:
“We have lost a dear and beloved friend” – said owner John Henry. “Johnny was happiest when wearing the Red Sox uniform. He was able to do that for 61 wonderful years. He carried his passion for the Sox, for Fenway Park, and for baseball everywhere he went, and he was beloved in return. We will miss him. We share the sadness that his family and legions of friends are all feeling.”
“Johnny was one of the wonderful links to 70 years of Red Sox history” – said chairman Tom Werner. “He was the grandfather of the Red Sox. He was as loving and kind a gentleman as one could imagine. His stories were delightful, and his love of Ted Williams and his teammates shone through in virtually every conversation. We know that those stories, and his spirit, will continue to live on at Fenway Park. We extend our sympathies to his son, David, his daughter-in-law Alison, and all of the members of the Pesky family.”
“Johnny Pesky will forever be linked to the Boston Red Sox” – said president and CEO Larry Lucchino. “He has been as much a part of Fenway Park as his retired Number 6 that rests on the right-field facade, or the foul pole below it that bears his name. But beyond these physical testaments, Johnny will be remembered most for his warmth, kindness, and loyalty. It was through his countless friendships that Johnny made his greatest impact on us, and we will miss him dearly. His was a life well-lived.”
MLB commissioner Bud Selig has issued the following statement -
“The national pastime has lost one of its greatest ambassadors today. Johnny Pesky, who led a great American life, was an embodiment of loyalty and goodwill for the Boston Red Sox and all of Major League Baseball. A part of the Greatest Generation and forever one of ‘The Teammates,’ Johnny was a wonderful player who excelled alongside his dear friends Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr and Dom DiMaggio. Just as importantly, Johnny touched the hearts of hundreds of Red Sox players and its legion of fans around the world.”
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of this special man, whose number six will be a part of Fenway Park forever. I extend my deepest condolences to Johnny’s family, his many friends throughout the game and all the fans of the Boston Red Sox.”

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