On Monday, the Red Sox family lost one of their most beloved members in Johnny Pesky.
WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh and Zolak on Tuesday to talk about the man that Johnny Pesky was, and what he did for the Red Sox organization.
“He lived a tremendous life — everything that is good about baseball, the Red Sox and really about life,” said Rochie. “He was one of the nicest and classiest people. If you came across him on an everyday basis or once a year he was the same. He was the same person to everybody; as good a person you’ll ever meet.”
Keller @ Large: Johnny Pesky: A Great New Englander
“When you walked into the clubhouse, right there on the right for years and years was his locker. He would get dressed every day and go outside and hit fungos and everybody and anybody would stop and say ‘hi’ to him. Whether it was myself or David Ortiz.”
“That 2004 team grew to love him,” recalls Roche. “They could tease with him the way athletes tease each other… When you’re in a locker room guys like to tease each other and go after each other all the time. Pesky was as good as any of them in doing that; he would give it right back to them and you loved him for that.”
“It didn’t matter if you were David Ortiz, John Henry or the guy fixing the sink in the team hotel. He would talk the same way to everyone, and that’s what made him special; that and his passion every single day for the game of baseball and the Boston Red Sox.”
“That’s what I think is missing from a lot of these players – their love for the game and love of what they do for a living and sharing that with everyone else around them,” said Roche.
Although an “old school” player, Pesky was still able to get the new-age players to listen to him and take his advice.
“He could always relate with any ballplayer because he could talk in ballplayer speak,” said Roche. “If he looked at David Ortiz and saw something he didn’t like, he could say ‘hey you’re doing something with your hands.’ He would be able to show them and give them different ideas. He had a tremendous knowledge of the game, a great sense of humor, and the players saw that and felt that when he talked with them.”
Photos: “Mr Red Sox” Johnny Pesky
“He would do whatever you wanted for the Red Sox. The fact he came back as a coach, a manager. He was traded and didn’t hold the anger with the organization. He would hit fungo after fungo after fungo, and Wade Boggs would tell you he made him a Hall of Fame third baseman. That work ethic, that permeated through the Red Sox organization.”
“He became a bridge for the modern-day player to the older players, but he was also on their level when he was able to work hand in hand with them. You don’t find that often in any sport anywhere you go,” said Roche.