Saturday, August 18, 2012

Johnny Pesky

There isn't a true Red Sox fan out there who wasn't saddened by the passing of Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky. Peter Gammons does a great job explaining why Pesky was so special.

One story I haven't seen told in any of the testimonials since his passing is how Pesky almost quit on the Red Sox in 2003.

It's well known that in 1997 Red Sox GM Dan Duquette told Pesky he was no longer welcome on the Red Sox bench. This was done at the request of clueless manager Jimy Williams. This indignity lingers in the minds of Boston sports fans just one step below Rick Pitino stripping Red Auerbach of his ceremonial title of President of the Celtics. Pesky was able to out-wait Williams and the new John Henry led ownership restored Pesky to his rightful place at Fenway Park and at spring training. Pesky even outlasted Duquette who was fired by John Henry et al. The balance of where Johnny Pesky belonged in the Red Sox world was restored.

Then came the horrible year of 2003 which is recalled by by most Red Sox fans of first Pedro being left in an inning too long by Grady Little and then Aaron Bleeping Boone hitting a season ending HR off Tim Wakefield. But 2003 was also the year Johnny Pesky almost quit the Red Sox.

First came the ruling from Major League Baseball and Bud Selig that Pesky would no longer be allowed on the bench during games. Then the Red Sox traded his favorite player - Shea Hillenbrand. Pesky was so upset by the trade that he wanted to quit on the Red Sox but Hillenbrand talked him out of it.

The fact that Pesky will be eulogized by Selig - the guy who kicked him off the Red Sox bench while the guy who kept him from quitting the team he loved will be mostly forgotten just doesn't seem right to me.