A library staff member pays homage to THE RING. For more Play by the Book photos, click here.
Monday night was the 66th Anniversary of Johnny Pesky’s debut in Major League Baseball. Mr. Red Sox marked the occasion by showing his charming, funny and warm side to a crowd of almost 200 at the Wiggin Auditorium at City Hall in Peabody. He candidly answered all of the audience questions and didn’t hesitate to offer unvarnished stories and opinions. A few highlights:
- Ted Williams once told Pesky that it’s a good thing he could run, because otherwise he’d bat about .100.
- Pesky had high praise for Terry Francona, calling him an “old style” manager.
- Pesky was not so complimentary about the Commissioner of Baseball, referring to him as a “car salesman.” Of course, Pesky later revealed that when he was playing ball, major leaguers still had to have off season jobs. He once worked as a car salesman himself, but that career didn’t go far. He sold a grand total of 1 car.
- David Ortiz got a thumbs up from the former Sox player. Pesky says that Big Papi is a “leader” on the team and helps keep some of the guys in line.
- Manny Ramirez got mixed reviews. Pesky finds him charming, but also shakes his head at many of the things that Manny does. Like the rest of us.
- It was, however, rookie Jacoby Ellsbury who got the highest marks from Mr. Red Sox. Ellsbury may, in Pesky’s opinion, be the next Ted Williams. High praise indeed from one of Teddy’s closet friends. Ellsbury is the only player Pesky’s ever seen get from second base all the way home on a passed ball.
After taking questions for almost an hour, Pesky signed autographs for most of the audience and posed for photos. It was a night to remember for all who were present.