Prior to Tuesday's game between the Angels and Red Sox, Boson baseball ambassador Johnny Pesky was remembered one final time with a moment of silence and his son throwing out the first pitch. After Pesky's private funeral on Monday, Tuesday was the last official rememberance of the man for whom Fenway's right field foul pole is named.
Well, Pesky not only had an indubitable impact on the game of baseball in Boston, but his presence was felt across all the major leagues, remembered as one of the true larger than life icons of the game. Proving that his impact reaches all the way across the country, members of the Angels took the time to remember Pesky and share their feelings about the pregame ceremony.
"That was very moving and Johnny was just a pleasure to be around every time we came in here," said manager Mike Scioscia after his Angels defeated the Red Sox 5-3. "I only met him in 2000 when I started managing coming in here. We had some great baseball talks a half hour at a time every time we would come in here. What a true gentleman and it was a very fitting tribute to a special person."
Scioscia has been around baseball a long time, his career starting with the Dodgers all the way back in 1980, and currently considered one of baseball's best minds and students, so his friendship with Pesky speaks volumes. Another Angel, reliever Latroy Hawkins, actually met Pesky during his first major league game, making his debut at Fenway in 1995.
"You know, great player," said Hawkins. "When one of our own passes away you have to honor them. He was just a very nice old man. Had to do my homework and see who he was, just a very nice man."
Another Angels coach who's been around the game, first base coach Alfredo Griffin — who broke into the big leagues in 1976 — also had some very kind words for Pesky, remembering him as someone who gave his all into what he did.
"That [ceremony] was awesome," said Griffin. "That guy left his heart on the field every day, and that was pretty awesome. People talked about him all the time, what a good man he was."
Jered Weaver may not have gotten the chance to meet Pesky, but as one of baseball's stars he also clearly has a great understanding of the former Red Sox infielder's place in history and in the game.
"Obvious the guy meant a lot to the Boston fans and community and organization," said Weaver, paying respects to Pesky's military service. "All the stuff that he went through, getting out of the game for three years to go into the military. He lived a long life and a great life, and you could tell that he touched a lot of people's hearts around the community here. It was cool to be a part of that ceremony, and we try to honor him as much as possible with the patches on our jersey as well."
Likewise, when all is said and done, Torii Hunter may well end being remembered in a similar manager to Pesky, as throughout his playing career the gold glove outfielder has been known as one of the game's best personalities and ambassadors to the greater public. So, Hunter's words in remembering Pesky should hold a little extra weight.
"That was a great tribute to [Pesky]," said Hunter, who met Pesky early in his career. "I've been hearing about Johnny Pesky for years and I met him a couple times, so I thought it was a special day for a great man in baseball. Every time I look at that pole, you know you're always going to think about him. I pray for his family, and hope that they have some comfort in their hearts."
All of Red Sox Nation ought to take a little more solice in understanding just how far Pesky's impact reached.
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