A lot of great tributes today to Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky, who died on Monday at the age of 92. I want to call your attention to one you might not otherwise see, written by Steve Krause of Lynn’s Daily Evening Item, Pesky’s hometown paper.
Krause, a fellow Northeastern News alumnus from the 1970s, is an old pro who probably knew Pesky as well as anyone in the sporting press. Krause doesn’t indulge himself, as he sticks to the facts. But the obit he’s written is suffused with his deep knowledge of Pesky’s life and career.
My own memories of Pesky go back to the late 1960s and early ’70s, when he joined Ken Coleman and Ned Martin in the broadcast booth. I can still hear him saying, “You’re absolutely right, Ken,” and referring to any and every member of the Red Sox as “a fine young man.” That latter appellation was particularly amusing when he used it to defend a player who’d been accused of drunkenly groping a flight attendant.
I will never be able to track this down, but I also remember an interview Pesky once gave about his new life as a broadcaster. When asked what the hardest adjustment was, he replied, matter-of-factly, that it was making sure he didn’t drop any F-bombs or other profanity on the air.
And yes, I recommend David Halberstam’s book “The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship,” about Pesky, Ted Williams, Dominic DiMaggio and Bobby Doerr, Red Sox teammates in the 1940s who remained close until their deaths. When I read it a few years ago, only Williams had died. Now Doerr is the only one left.