Boston Red Sox Icon Johnny Pesky to be Honored This Season

By Paul Mroczka

The Boston Red Sox have announced that they will honor Johnny Pesky at Fenway Park on September 23. Pesky, who passed away about a month ago, was with the Red Sox for over six decades.

Present Red Sox players came under fire a few weeks ago when most ditched going to his funeral. Four current Red Sox did attend—David Ortiz, pitchers Clay Buchholz and Vincente Padilla and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The 36 others went home after arriving back in Boston at 4 am after a Yankee series. The funeral was at 11 am.

Many felt that Pesky, who had done so much for the Red Sox, deserved better. Trot Nixon, a former Red Sox player who was on both World Series Championship teams made it to the funeral as did Nomar Garciaparra, Bill Lee, Jim Rice and many others who had known Pesky.

Nixon, who in his day was a true dirt dog player, put it all in perspective, saying, “I look back and it’s not just him being on the field and hitting ground balls, but how he carried himself and how much he cared for all the ballplayers, whether you were at the major league level or in the minor league level.” He went on noting, “Everybody that worked in the organization, from the highest level down to guys working in the clubhouse, he generally cared for everyone and loved the game of baseball. He was a fantastic ambassador. I loved Johnny.”

On September 23, 2012, everyone will be able to show how much they loved Johnny, including all present Red Sox players. The “Celebration of Life” for Pesky, who passed away on August 13 at the age of 93, will begin at 6 pm and go until 7 pm. It will be held after the game with the Baltimore Orioles and you don’t need a ticket to the game to attend the ceremony. Also, Fenway Park will remain open to fans that night until 9 pm.

Let’s hope all present Red Sox players attend this celebration of Johnny Pesky, a man who defined some of the greatest attributes a player and person can have, including loyalty and commitment. It would be a great gesture by a team that has been under so much fire.

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