Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Johnny Pesky Sept. 27, 1919 - Aug. 13, 2012 Beloved Player Linked to Red Sox for Decades

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Johnny Pesky Sept. 27, 1919 - Aug. 13, 2012 Beloved Player Linked to Red Sox for Decades

Article excerpt

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 nicknamed for him.

Mr. 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.

Mr. Pesky died at a hospice in Danvers, Mass., according to Solimine, Landergan and Richardson funeral home in Lynn. The funeral home did not have a cause of death.

For many in the legion of Red Sox fans, their last image of Mr. Pesky will be from the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park on April 20, when the man who became the team's unofficial goodwill ambassador was moved to tears at a pregame ceremony. By then he was in a wheelchair positioned at second base, surrounded by dozens of admiring former players and a cheering crowd.

Long-time Red Sox fans recall the days when Mr. Pesky was a talented shortstop and manager for the team. Younger ones saw him as an avuncular presence at the Red Sox spring training camp in Fort Myers, Fla.,

A lifetime .307 hitter who was a teammate to Ted Williams, Mr. Pesky would hit grounders to Red Sox infielders with his ever- present fungo bat. He stopped doing that as he aged but still spent time sitting in a folding chair, his bat by his side, signing autographs and chatting with fans of all ages.

His No. 6 was retired by the Red Sox at a ceremony in 2008.

Even though he was a fan favorite, Mr. Pesky still had his own place of notoriety in the Red Sox's drought of 86 years without a World Series title.

He was often blamed for holding the ball for a split second as Enos Slaughter made his famous "Mad Dash" from first base to score the winning run for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Red Sox in Game 7 of the 1946 World Series.

With the score tied, 3-3, Slaughter opened the bottom of the eighth inning with a single. With two outs, Harry Walker smacked a base hit to center field. Mr. Pesky, playing shortstop, took the cutoff throw from outfielder Leon Culberson and, according to some newspaper accounts, hesitated before throwing home. …

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