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Johnny Pesky has left the park.
August 13, 2012 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Johhny Pesky, longtime member of the Boston Red Sox has passed away at the young age of 92. More famous for the right field foul pole named after he hit one of his only 6 Fenway Park home runs as it swung around the pole, the erstwhile manager spent nearly his entire 73 year baseball career with the Boston Red Sox. Much like teammate Ted Williams Johhny left baseball during his prime to fight in World War Two
posted by Gungho (47 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
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(For the Pesky Pole)
posted by pxe2000 at 1:43 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by bondcliff at 1:43 PM on August 13, 2012


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posted by ericb at 1:44 PM on August 13, 2012


Johhny is known to generations of New Englanders as one of The Window Boys.
posted by Gungho at 1:45 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hopefully St. Peter does not needle him about holding onto the ball.
posted by Danf at 1:48 PM on August 13, 2012


Johnny Pesky has been a part of my baseball world since I was a little girl. What a marvelous public character he was. We'll miss him!
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:50 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band begin the U.S. leg of their tour at Fenway Park tomorrow night and Wednesday night. I hope they pay tribute to Johnny.
posted by ericb at 1:50 PM on August 13, 2012


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posted by jsavimbi at 1:59 PM on August 13, 2012


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posted by Elly Vortex at 2:05 PM on August 13, 2012


92 is far too young. Godspeed, Johnny. I take some comfort in the fact that you don't have to see any more of this terrible 2012 Red Sox .
posted by .kobayashi. at 2:06 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Terrible 2012 Red Sox Team. Don't know where that last word went.
posted by .kobayashi. at 2:07 PM on August 13, 2012


I am a die-hard Yankee fan -
but without question, respect is due this great man.

Rest in Peace, Johhny.

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posted by Flood at 2:08 PM on August 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by Joey Michaels at 2:11 PM on August 13, 2012


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posted by jmstephan at 2:17 PM on August 13, 2012


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posted by synecdoche at 2:24 PM on August 13, 2012


I know they won't retire his number, but I'm glad he's got the pole. Not everyone can name all the retired numbers, but everyone knows Pesky's Pole.

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posted by maryr at 2:26 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by rocket88 at 2:27 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Moving on to that great Green Monster in the sky. RIP, Johnny.

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posted by The Michael The at 2:27 PM on August 13, 2012


maryr, you'll be happy to know that his #6 had recently been retired by the club.
posted by .kobayashi. at 2:29 PM on August 13, 2012


rocket88: "|"

I like that, and I think he would too. My brother has a cat named Johnny Pesky, and every time I see him I think of the ball player, and his smile and his unflagging attitude.

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posted by Rock Steady at 2:31 PM on August 13, 2012


I did not know that - they broke the rules for him? Or did he get some back door managerial induction into the Hall of Fame?
posted by maryr at 3:06 PM on August 13, 2012


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posted by Anitanola at 3:06 PM on August 13, 2012


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posted by dirtdirt at 3:07 PM on August 13, 2012


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posted by Snyder at 3:15 PM on August 13, 2012


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posted by LobsterMitten at 3:19 PM on August 13, 2012


kobayashi: Terrible 2012 Red Sox Team. Don't know where that last word went.
A sudden yet unsurprising trip to the disabled list... just like the rest of the 2012 team.
posted by hincandenza at 3:28 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


A great story from the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract:
Pesky, born John Paveskovitch, loved to play hockey. As a kid in Oregon he was a first-rate hockey player, and he would have loved to play in the NHL. His baseball managers never approved of the hockey playing, for obvious reasons. One time Joe Cronin received a phone call from a friend in Portland who said he had seen a fine looking hockey player in a game in Portland.

"You know, Joe, it's a funny thing," said Cronin's friend, "but he looked a lot like your shortstop. His name wasn't Pesky, though, it was Paveskovitch."

Cronin immediately sent Pesky a telegram, reading, "Pesky, Paveskovitch or whatever your name is, get off the ice and stay off."
posted by Copronymus at 4:01 PM on August 13, 2012 [8 favorites]


Just another bit o' bad news for the Red Sox fan in the grievous year of 2012.

JP will always be the Voice of the Red Sox to me.
posted by rdone at 4:14 PM on August 13, 2012


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posted by Kinbote at 4:26 PM on August 13, 2012


I did not know that - they broke the rules for him?

I like to think they just kinda bent the rules around the foul pole for him.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:26 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by Renoroc at 4:32 PM on August 13, 2012


Can we blame this death on Mitt Romney? How about Josh Beckett?

That picture of him and Schilling after they won the Series is maybe my favorite picture ever. And I'm including my wedding photos in that.
posted by COD at 4:34 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


This might be a good time to mention the great David Halberstam book The Teammates, about Pesky, Bobby Doerr, Ted Williams, and Dom Dimaggio.
posted by MoonOrb at 5:19 PM on August 13, 2012


Yankee fan who gives props to Johnny and his Pesky Pole
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posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:12 PM on August 13, 2012


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posted by drowsy at 6:31 PM on August 13, 2012


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"Foul ball!"
posted by wenestvedt at 6:38 PM on August 13, 2012


Can we blame this death on Mitt Romney? How about Josh Beckett?

If there's a way to put this on Bobby V, then rest assured I'll find it.
posted by .kobayashi. at 6:56 PM on August 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by zix at 7:24 PM on August 13, 2012


Can't think of a sports-related death that has made me as sad as this one, I've been pretty torn up since I heard.

Johnny Pesky was an enduring icon of the Boston Red Sox for seven decades, including his 44 years as a nearly daily presence with the team well after he retired from playing. There is plenty to say about his actual career, but it will all be said better by others who actually witnessed it. I wasn't around to see him during his playing years, so the Pesky I remember has always been the guy who was a sort patriarch to the team. He outlasted being banned from the dugout by Dan Duquette (BOO HISS!) in 1997, unfortunately he was banned again by MLB (BOO HISS!) again in 2007, at the age of 87, despite major protest from fans. Well into his 80's, it was not unusual to see Johnny out hitting a couple balls for the fielders during practice. He loved and faithfully stuck with the Sox through many, many tough years like a lot of us around here remember our parents and grandparents doing. For me, he was a stand-in for the fans in all of our families who didn't make it long enough. For me, he was my relatives who didn't make it, or for my great grandma, who was born in November 1918 and who listened or watched every Red Sox game for years and years but was too far gone to dementia to be present when they finally won again.

When the Sox finally ended the curse in 2004, Johnny was there. There's a fantastic locker room shot of him with the trophy looking just beside himself with joy (Google is failing me as I try to find it), a few years back he came to Worcester and signed some copies of it at a local comic shop. I bought one for my dad, I really regret not getting one for myself. In addition to getting the picture and getting it signed, I got to meet him and briefly chat. Best $35 I've ever spent.

When they won again in 2007, I was able to get close enough to really see Johnny and his wife in the parade, and he had the same wide-eyed giddiness. You could tell it still meant so much to him.

I'd thought about what this day would be like before, especially after seeing him in declining health at the 100th anniversary at Fenway, but nothing could actually prepare me for it becoming reality. I'm going to miss you a whole lot, Johnny. I'm crying again just thinking about it.

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posted by rollbiz at 8:47 PM on August 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here's a picture I took of Johnny during the 2007 "rolling rally" World Series parade...
posted by rollbiz at 9:42 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


(also, I misremembered: His wife died in 2005, so I definitely didn't see her in the parade)
posted by rollbiz at 9:45 PM on August 13, 2012


FYI The Redsox did retire Johnny's number. Even though He does not meet the criteria of having spent most of his career with the Sox, ending with the Sox, and being in both the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the Redsox Hall of fame (3 for 4). This opened speculation on whether the Sox should retire other numbers, especially Tony Conigliaro (No. 25), who was hit in the eye effectively ending his career after becoming the youngest hitter to reach 100 home runs.
posted by Gungho at 3:59 AM on August 14, 2012


I have sentimental hopes for Wake.
posted by maryr at 6:52 AM on August 14, 2012


Fenway Park just celebrated its 100th anniversary. Pesky was 92. *mind blown*

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posted by Melismata at 7:44 AM on August 14, 2012


So glad he was able to hang around for the 100th celebration. I won't soon forget the smile on his face that day.

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posted by SpiffyRob at 6:08 PM on August 14, 2012


FYI A public wake will be held Sunday from 2PM to 8PM in Lynn, MA. The Solimine, Landergan and Richardson Funeral Home, 67 Ocean St. (Route 1A), Lynn. Relatives, friends and the general public are respectfully invited to visiting hours at the funeral home from 2-8 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19. Funeral services and burial will be private. Donations may be made in his memory to the Jimmy Fund, 10 Brookline Place, West Brookline, MA 02445
posted by Gungho at 11:18 AM on August 16, 2012


Donations may be made in his memory to the Jimmy Fund

Even in death, man. Requiescat in Sox.
posted by maryr at 5:10 PM on August 16, 2012


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