Johnny Pesky, who spent most of his 60 years in baseball with the Boston Red Sox, died Monday in hospice care in Danvers, MA., northeast of Boston, at 92. The funeral home did not list a cause of death for the .307 career hitter, who played 10 seasons with Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr, and had strong Northwest and Seattle connections.
Pesky was born Sept. 27, 1919 in Portland and attended Lincoln High School. In addition to his years as a player, Pesky managed the Red Sox in 1963-64, immediately after he had a colorful, two-year stint as manager of the Seattle Rainiers in 1961-62.
As David Eskenazi wrote in his Wayback Machine article on Pesky, published April 30, 2012, “Pesky awed the Seattle press. At every opportunity, he gathered the baseball writers in coffee shops and watering holes and, dragging on an ever-present cigar, told tales into the late mornings and wee hours. The writers, in turn, wrote glowingly of Pesky, conveying to Rainiers fans their impression that Pesky bordered on managerial genius.”
The right-field foul pole at Fenway Park bears Pesky’s name. His No. 6 was retired by the Red Sox in 2008.
“All of Red Sox Nation mourns the loss of ‘Mr. Red Sox,’ Johnny Pesky,” Boston mayor Thomas Menino said. “He loved the game and he loved the fans — and we loved him. His dedication to the sport and his passion to improve the game through the mentorship of young players will be sorely missed. Our hearts go out to the Red Sox organization and all of Johnny’s family and many friends.”