As I normally do in these dedication posts, I will start out with a huge ‘Thank You!’. To all of you who read this, I really appreciate it– I never thought that I would find a place like this where people actually read and care about my stuff. You guys were so kind to help out with my research paper, which I definitely killed a tree by printing it– and I always love reading what you guys have to say about what I have to say. You can see the latest leaders list here
I have to say, I’ve been anticipating breaking into the Top 10 over here at MLBlogs. I really wanted to dedicate a post to a Red Sox player with a retired number (although there is number 27….). Number 6 is actually the newest number put on that panel up in right field. It is Johnny Pesky’s number, who played for the Red Sox from 1942-1946. Yup, he played with some great guys like Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr. Pesky never won an MVP, but for the first two years of his career, he placed in the Top 5. I bet you can guess who was ahead of him both of those years. Just ask Bob.
Pesky batted over .320 three times in his Red Sox career, he batted over .300 six times. He played the majority of his games at shortstop, but wasn’t shy to the realms of third and second base– he wasn’t exactly known for his fielding though. The reason he made the move from shortstop to third was to make room for Vern Stephens. He led the American League in hits three times, in his first three years with the Red Sox. He was nicknamed “The Needle”, and actually missed a few seasons when he was in the war like Ted Williams. One of the most amazing things about Pesky is that he has been with the Red Sox for 58 of his 70 years in baseball. He served as their manager on two occasions, 1963-1964, and once again in 1980. He went to the All-Star game in 1946, which was the year that the Red Sox lost to the Cardinals in the World Series (go ahead Jeff, you can say something) and Ted Williams had a terrible batting average. Pesky was actually the first guy to score six runs in a nine inning game, he was also an incredible bunter; he led the league in sacrifice hits in 1942.
And now for the myth Pesky’s Pole, the right field foul ball pole in Fenway Park. Here is how the story goes: It was 1948, and Pesky hit a home run down the short right field line… just around the pole. Mel Parnell claims that Pesky won the game for him, so the pole was later named after him. Pesky only hit six home runs at Fenway Park, but he did lead the American League in hits three times. Pesky has served as a batting coach for Jim Rice, and continues to be a presence within the Red Sox’s clubhouse today. I actually saw him at a Spring Training game last season exchanging the lineup card before the game. I was in awe.
Speaking of Spring Training games, last night, my father got an e-mail from Merrill, this really nice guy that we met last year at a Spring Training who has offered to help us out with tickets. He said that he has tickets for the game this weekend against Northeastern University at 1:05.
Guess where I’m going to be this weekend? The beautiful City of Palms Park in Fort Meyers, FL, probably bubbling with excitement. I’ll probably beg to be taken to the game hours before it starts so that I could have the chance of an autograph. There is even a game at 7:05 that night against the Cincinnati Reds that we will be trying to get tickets to.
I plan on taking notes on some of the players, doing some scouting reports, and evaluating some of the players who are actually there and not at the World Baseball Classic. It would be really nice if the World Baseball Classic could be played in December or January so that baseball could come sooner, and our stars could be seen at Spring Training.
Nevertheless, I’m excited to see the young players, and the even younger ones from Northeastern! I will be trying to get an autograph or two, but I don’t really have a strategy for that. If any of you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them!
Thanks again for getting me up to number six! It really means the world to me!