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Monday, August 13, 2012

Johnny Pesky dies at age 92

CSNNE.com’s Maureen Mullen confirms that Johnny Pesky, a member of the Red Sox organization as a player, manager, coach and instructor since the 1940s, died Monday at the age of 92.

The news was first reported by the Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley on Twitter.

Repoz Posted: August 13, 2012 at 03:55 PM | 98 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: obits, red sox

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   1. Lassus Posted: August 13, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4207413)
Requiescat in Pace, icon, and welcome to immortality.
   2. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4207415)
Never saw him anywhere near that pole.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: August 13, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4207423)
After winning in 2004: Pesky
   4. DanG Posted: August 13, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4207429)
Even with military credit, not a deserving hall of famer. Career total of 30.4 WAR would be in the mid 40's, adjusted. However, if he had played and hit .330+ in those years he would be a SS with a career BA of around .313, so they might have voted him in.
   5. Bruce Markusen Posted: August 13, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4207430)
Sad to hear about the loss of a baseball lifer. There's always at least one guy who's synonymous with a franchise, and Pesky was that guy for the Red Sox.

A much better ballplayer than I realized. He led the AL in hits three times, drew three times as many walks as he struck out, and had a lifetime OBP in the 390s. He also missed three full seasons due to military service. Really a very fine player, perhaps a borderline HOFer.
   6. Foster Posted: August 13, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4207434)
He was nice enough to give me and anyone who asked some of his time and stories at a Sox fantasy camp a few years ago. Could not have been more nice.
   7. Scott Ross Posted: August 13, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4207435)
Nice work dismissing his Hall of Fame case, DanG. If he'd actually gotten in, it would just be obnoxious, but seeing as he wasn't... Super classy.
   8. Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 13, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4207442)
Pesky and Alex Grammas were the Pirates' base coaches under Harry Walker when I was a kid. They would field ANY ball barehanded -- an amazing thing to a six year old!
   9. zack Posted: August 13, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4207459)
Seemed like a great guy and sad to see him go, but man were people obsessed with his weiner.
   10. Rob_Wood Posted: August 13, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4207464)
I have a fuzzy memory of Pesky as a guest speaker (maybe on a panel) at a SABR convention many years ago. You could tell he was a great guy. Anybody else remember this?
   11. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 13, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4207472)
I've told this before but this seems like the time to tell it again;

In 1999 my father and I attended the Futures Game (think it was the first one). Anyway, Fenway was probably 2/3rds empty and about midway through the game two older gentlemen sat down behind us. My father and I immediately recognized Pesky and the other gentleman turned out to be Ray Boone. Pesky and Boone chatted with us for about half an hour about the specific game and baseball in general, it was an incredible conversation.

Pesky finally stood up to leave and after he walked away Boone pointed to him and said "there goes everything that is right about this game."

I don't think anything I can say epitomizes Pesky better than that comment from Ray Boone.
   12. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 13, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4207479)
One more Pesky story. In 1997 or so I was down at Spring Training. Prior to a game with a group of people hounding for autographs several players signed and then Pesky walked over, came into the stands and said to the group of people "OK, I only have half an hour." He then sat in the stands and signed for about 45 minutes posing for photos with anyone who asked.
   13. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: August 13, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4207480)
Born the day that Babe Ruth hit his last home run as a Red Sox.
   14. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: August 13, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4207502)
Showed me how to level my swing at a YMCA baseball camp when I was a kid. I'm pretty sure he wasn't paid to help out - he just showed up and helped kids learn the fundamentals. Great guy who always had time for kids and people who loved baseball.
   15. Sunday silence Posted: August 13, 2012 at 05:44 PM (#4207517)
Nice work dismissing his Hall of Fame case, DanG. If he'd actually gotten in, it would just be obnoxious, but seeing as he wasn't... Super classy.


what exactly is the complaint here? This site is pretty much dedicate to evaluating players and especially their chances at the HoF. Maybe not everybody's biggest interest, but it's certainly a main part of BTF.
   16. phredbird Posted: August 13, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4207518)
gee, that's a cool story about boone and pesky. the photo in post 3 is awesome.

cards fans have the same sort of good feelings about red schoendienst. stan is the man, but red is typical of the cardinal coaching staff lifers.
   17. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 05:54 PM (#4207524)
what exactly is the complaint here?


People get obnoxious in these "so-and-so just passed away" threads. Post 7 by Scott Ross is a representative example.
   18. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: August 13, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4207525)
This really is turning into the crummiest Sox season in recent memory in just about every way imaginable. RIP, Johnny.
   19. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 13, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4207542)
People get obnoxious in these "so-and-so just passed away" threads. Post 7 by Scott Ross is a representative example.

Yes -- telling stories, reminiscing about, and paying tribute to 92-year-old men who've lived admirable lives that have reached an end.

What a silly folkway.

Maybe they can put "Not a Deserving Hall of Famer" on his tombstone.
   20. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 06:28 PM (#4207545)
Maybe they can put "Not a Deserving Hall of Famer" on his tombstone.


See, Sunday silence?

Earth to SugarBear: A BTF thread is not a tombstone; it is a discussion forum on the internet.
   21. Lassus Posted: August 13, 2012 at 06:30 PM (#4207549)
People Carbon-based life-forms with their pesky opinions and emotions get obnoxious in these "so-and-so just passed away" threads.
   22. robinred Posted: August 13, 2012 at 06:33 PM (#4207551)
Not a huge fan of Halberstam's baseball writing, but some parts of The Teammates are quite enjoyable. The other guys getting in the car to drive to Florida to go see Williams--great stuff.
   23. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 13, 2012 at 06:36 PM (#4207553)
A BTF thread is not a tombstone; it is a discussion forum on the internet.

The medium begets asshattery.

Film at 11.
   24. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 13, 2012 at 06:38 PM (#4207555)
The Red Sox should incorporate some Pesky likeness in the RF foul pole, perhaps making it somewhat totem-like. Although Pesky apparently didn't take much advantage of the short distance to the pole, the legend long ago became fact, so it seems only fair that he receive some formal recognition on the pole.
   25. Lassus Posted: August 13, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4207569)
The Red Sox should incorporate some Pesky likeness in the RF foul pole, perhaps making it somewhat totem-like.

That sounds.... odd.
   26. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 13, 2012 at 07:07 PM (#4207579)
The Red Sox should incorporate some Pesky likeness in the RF foul pole, perhaps making it somewhat totem-like.

That sounds.... odd.

A plaque then? That's kind of traditional but doesn't fully recognize how unique it is for a MLB player to get naming rights for a feature of his home ballpark.
   27. Nasty Nate Posted: August 13, 2012 at 07:08 PM (#4207581)
They already have a plaque on the wall below the pole I believe
   28. Slapinions Posted: August 13, 2012 at 07:17 PM (#4207585)
Agree with #19. As a long time visitor I'm glad that people are finally calling out some of the obnoxious, asshat behavior around here.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: August 13, 2012 at 07:24 PM (#4207590)
I don't think post #4 is disrespectul or out-of-line but just a sympton of the ridiculous obsession with the HOF at this site. Everything seems to have to be discussed with the HOF as a framework, and the status of the HOF as a very important topic (if not the most important topic) in baseball is so ingrained that post #4 was entirely predictable.

This site is pretty much dedicate to evaluating players and especially their chances at the HoF.


I find this statement somewhat true and think that it is a needless, sad, restrictive, and boring way to predominantly discuss baseball. Especially when many, if not most, HOF discussions eventually boil themselves down from the actual player(s) and the actual sport into analyses of the HOF voters and voting, a topic which people give so much weight that it seems like a big field of baseball research rather than the small frivolous diversion it should be. The people who give a lot of serious analysis to voting behavior for the awards and the HOF should be on the BBWAA payroll for how much they are inflating the BBWAA's prestige and power. That these same people obliviously often are critical of and condescending toward the BBWAA in their next breath is almost humorous.
   30. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 13, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4207593)
Especially when many, if not most, HOF discussions eventually boil themselves down from the actual player(s) and the actual sport into analyses of the HOF voters and voting, a topic which people give so much weight that it seems like a big field of baseball research rather than the small frivolous diversion it should be.

You realize we're talking about baseball here, right? Everything we're doing here is more or less a small, frivolous diversion, and I say that as someone who does more than a reasonable amount of baseball analysis just for fun.
   31. The Non-Catching Molina (sjs1959) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4207594)
How about just sending his family and Red Sox Nation condolences? He was such a part of this sport that even the freaking YANKEES were to hold a minute of silence in Pesky's honor tonight.
   32. Nasty Nate Posted: August 13, 2012 at 07:46 PM (#4207597)
You realize we're talking about baseball here, right? Everything we're doing here is more or less a small, frivolous diversion, and I say that as someone who does more than a reasonable amount of baseball analysis just for fun.


Sure, but such a big percentage ends up once-removed once we're talking about Joe Blow sportswriter and his voting tendencies - which happens so often. But yes, my post #29 was intentionally a little over-the-top.
   33. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 07:51 PM (#4207599)
I don't think post #4 is disrespectul or out-of-line but just a sympton of the ridiculous obsession with the HOF at this site. Everything seems to have to be discussed with the HOF as a framework, and the status of the HOF as a very important topic (if not the most important topic) in baseball is so ingrained that post #4 was entirely predictable.


Complaining about political threads is one thing, but complaining about the HOF being discussed at a baseball site is beyond bizarre. Where is Phil Gramm to speak the truth about us being a nation of whiners when you need him?
   34. Nasty Nate Posted: August 13, 2012 at 07:57 PM (#4207602)
Complaining about political threads is one thing, but complaining about the HOF being discussed at a baseball site is beyond bizarre.


This makes me think I'm on the right track.

I wasn't complaining about it being discussed, but that it has to be the framework for such a high percentage of discussions. It is needlessly limiting.
   35. Nasty Nate Posted: August 13, 2012 at 07:58 PM (#4207603)
Anyway, back on topic: here is the plaque right below the pole at Fenway.
   36. Buzzards Bay Posted: August 13, 2012 at 08:14 PM (#4207609)
somebody gave us tickets to a Celtics game and we were in the over-hang at the old Garden right next to the press over-hang and Pesky was right next to us dressed in green. Jacket was a shade of green. Shirt a shade of green. Slacks a shade of green. I remember that he seemed to know everybody
   37. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: August 13, 2012 at 08:18 PM (#4207610)
Even with military credit, not a deserving hall of famer. Career total of 30.4 WAR would be in the mid 40's, adjusted. However, if he had played and hit .330+ in those years he would be a SS with a career BA of around .313, so they might have voted him in.


(Forget) that. People talk about military credit as if only players were effected by WWII. What about teams? Did the Red Sox (we're on the subject of Pesky here, so I'm bringing them up) lose a possible pennant to the war?
   38. esseff Posted: August 13, 2012 at 08:41 PM (#4207618)
There's a cluster of players from the 1946 World Series who have lived to advanced ages. Even with the passing in recent years of 90-somethings Dom DiMaggio, Marty Marion and now Pesky, we still have with us Bobby Doerr (94), Stan Musial (91), Boo Ferriss (90), Schoendienst (89) and Joe Garagiola (86).
   39. Moeball Posted: August 13, 2012 at 08:42 PM (#4207620)
Sad to hear about the loss of a baseball lifer. There's always at least one guy who's synonymous with a franchise, and Pesky was that guy for the Red Sox.


I grew up an Angels fan, thanks to my Dad, before I moved to San Diego and transferred my allegiance to perpetual Padres mediocrity. At any rate, sometimes someone gets associated with a franchise just by coaching for them forever. Even though Jimmie Reese never played for the Angels, he coached for them until he was about 90 or so and was the legendary King at hitting fungoes. He had tremendous bat control - he could hit any number of balls just beyond the reach of infielders or outfielders to get them to really work at stretching their range. Of course, when asked why he couldn't do that as a player, Jimmie would say doing that with a fungo bat and tossing the ball up to yourself is easy. Doing it with a round bat against a pitcher throwing 90 mph - not so much.

He was in pro baseball in some capacity for almost 70 years, and I always thought he should have written a book about all his years in the game. I even thought he had a ready-made title for it - "I Roomed with Babe Ruth's Suitcase". This from the tale he used to tell of his time with the Yankees in the early '30s. He was just a utility player and his main function, to hear him tell it, was to be Babe Ruth's roomie at the hotel on road trips. When asked what it was like to room with the Babe, Jimmie would just say "I can't really tell you anything about that. Mostly I just roomed with Babe's suitcase 'cause he was never there."

I'm sure Pesky could have had a ton of tall tales to tell as well; wish I could have been there to hear some of them.

Johnny Pesky may not have been HOF-good as a player; I have no problem with someone stating that here. Sometimes we focus so much on who's a HOFer or not that we forget just how good these guys are (or were). A team full of Johnny Peskys would have been a pretty good team indeed.

He will be missed, particularly in RS Nation.
   40. Vrhovnik Posted: August 13, 2012 at 08:48 PM (#4207621)
RIP, John Michael Paveskovic. Neka po?iva u miru božjem.
   41. tjm1 Posted: August 13, 2012 at 09:57 PM (#4207652)
There's a cluster of players from the 1946 World Series who have lived to advanced ages. Even with the passing in recent years of 90-somethings Dom DiMaggio, Marty Marion and now Pesky, we still have with us Bobby Doerr (94), Stan Musial (91), Boo Ferriss (90), Schoendienst (89) and Joe Garagiola (86).


Well, they were all conditioned athletes. Also, I have no idea is this is a coincidence, but they were all guys with reputations of being incredibly nice people.
   42. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 10:48 PM (#4207686)
Also, I have no idea is this is a coincidence, but they were all guys with reputations of being incredibly nice people.


Well, it's probably relevant in that nobody killed them.
   43. DanG Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:33 PM (#4207723)
I see the PC police are out in force tonight.

Look, "I never saw him play". Or speak. Or anything. My primary reference to Pesky is his BB-Ref page. And yes, my favorite topic is the Hall of Fame. Johnny Pesky is better than some players in the Hall. This puts him in the Grey Area and renders him worthy of discussion as regards the Hall.

A fine man died. He lived an enviable life, by all accounts. He was not a HOF-caliber player and no disrespect is intended in that opinion; less than 2% of players make the Hall.

I think that the occasion of a fine player's death is a natural time to discuss his case for the Hall.
   44. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 13, 2012 at 11:44 PM (#4207729)
DanG: History's greatest monster.
   45. DanG Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:11 AM (#4207754)
History's greatest monster
That would be Dick Radatz.
   46. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:16 AM (#4207759)
he was a cogent subject in James' first nationally published Abstract (1982) in an essay called "Pesky-Stuart"--well worth reading
   47. OCF Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:30 AM (#4207766)
This puts him in the Grey Area and renders him worthy of discussion as regards the Hall.

I have had Pesky on my Hall of Merit ballots. He was 9th on my 2012 ballot. That puts me somewhat at odds with the consensus of the HoM electorate, who had Rizzuto 4th (Rizzuto was not in my top 15), and Pesky 22nd. DanG last voted for the HoM on the 2008 ballot. At that time, he had neither Rizzuto nor Pesky among his top 15 but did have Aparico 10th and Maranville 12th.

Among shortstops active in the 40's, the obvious top choice is Arky Vauhgan, with a big gap after him. The next one in line is probably PeeWee Reese, and we have elected Reese to the HoM. So Rizzuto, Pesky, and a few others such as Vern Stephens, are the next place the argument goes.

Such reasonable disagreements are the defining characteristic of the gray area.

   48. Sunday silence Posted: August 14, 2012 at 01:19 AM (#4207787)
in fact instead of being some insult to Pesky, the thread is able to incorporate both geeky statistical analysis which appeals to many denizens of the site as well as personal reminisences of him as a human being which also appeals to us.

I'm probably not as obsessed about the HoF as some, but if any game can be said to be enhanced by statistical analysis it is baseball. Amazingly, every time I see myself doubting the value of stuff like pythagorean wins, or BABIP or something another logical argument comes up forcing me to face the inevitable mathematics of it..
   49. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 14, 2012 at 01:52 AM (#4207798)
There's a cluster of players from the 1946 World Series who have lived to advanced ages. Even with the passing in recent years of 90-somethings Dom DiMaggio, Marty Marion and now Pesky, we still have with us Bobby Doerr (94), Stan Musial (91), Boo Ferriss (90), Schoendienst (89) and Joe Garagiola (86).


Well, they were all conditioned athletes. Also, I have no idea is this is a coincidence, but they were all guys with reputations of being incredibly nice people.


You got that right. About a year ago my dad bumped into Bobby Doerr's grandson and mentioned that Doerr was his favourite player growing up. Well about 2 weeks after that, this person calls up my dad and says they have something for him. Well they finally meet again and he hands my dad an autographed ball and photo of Doerr from his playing days. That ball today is now in my possession and sits with pride on my mantle piece in the family room of my house in Sydney.
   50. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 14, 2012 at 06:42 AM (#4207815)
I see the PC police are out in force tonight...

I think that the occasion of a fine player's death is a natural time to discuss his case for the Hall.


Ah yes, the immediate defense of someone being an insensitive jerk. I held my tongue last night because I wanted to let this thread be an homage to Pesky but your comment last night was incredibly rude. Just because you have a right to say whatever you want about someone who just died doesn't mean it's appropriate. A little consideration for the fans and people who cared about this man and allowing a place to discuss him and honor him isn't unreasonable.

As for the occasion of a player's death being the time to discuss his Hall case, that's equally silly. The time to do that is when the player is on the ballot. That you feel this is the relevant thing to discuss about Johnny Pesky displays a spectacular lack of understanding about Johnny and a terribly narrow point of view about baseball.

Read my stories in #11&12;, see Nate's photo in #3 or read any of what is sure to be an outpouring of love for the man by fans, media and players today in Boston. You are missing out. This was a genuinely good person who positively touched the lives of so many people. Whether or not Johnny Pesky was a Hall of Fame baseball player is incredibly irrelevant to who he was. You will respond to this by saying this is a baseball site but this is true of his life in baseball. His tireless work with players like Rico Petrocelli, Wade Boggs and Nomar Garciaparra (to name a few) mpacted the game for half a century. If you watch the 2004 WS ring ceremony at Fenway you will see a man beloved by everyone around him.

That is his legacy. That he may or may not have been a Hall of Fame player is meaningless for the Hall of Fame person he was.
   51. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 14, 2012 at 08:19 AM (#4207826)
Another Pesky story:

In 2004, a friend of mine got four ticket to Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees. You might remember that Game 3 was the last game the Red Sox lost that year - the 19-8 thrashing that preceded the historic comeback. Well, I didn't end up seeing that game, because we drove down for Game 3, waited in the rain for hours (we couldn't take the chance that it would stop raining, and they'd play the game, and we would've missed it), but they ended up postponing the game, and our tickets became good for Game 5, which was the most exciting game I've ever seen (the 14-inning epic won on an Ortiz single, Pedro started the game).

Anyway, during the rain delay, one of the other guys said that his grandfather was longtime good friends with Johnny Pesky, they had breakfast several days a week at a neighborhood diner near Boston. Many times, he had joined them for breakfast to watch them shoot the breeze (how cool is that?). He went down to an area near the clubhouse with us, and he was able to get Johnny to come out for a while and say hello to all of us, during the rain delay. Gave us a good 20 minutes of his time, and we were the ones that ended the conversation, feeling guilty that we were taking all his time on such an important evening.

I asked him to talk to me about Hal Newhouser, who always struck me as one of the most unusual stories in baseball history (two MVPs in a row, wartime pitcher, etc.). I asked Johnny how good Newhouser really was, and Pesky described in awesome detail how effective he was - the pitches he threw, how tough he was to hit against, etc.

I had chills - what an incredible guy, with countless stories from people talking about how generous he was with his time. He loved baseball so much, and he spread that love to so many people in New England and beyond. I don't know that I feel sad about his passing, because it is not unexpected, and he squeezed so much joy out of his life. It sounds corny, but I feel lucky that my favorite team had a guy like this to act as an ambassador for so long. I don't know if he's a Hall of Famer - whatever - but he's definitely in my Hall of Awesome.
   52. DanG Posted: August 14, 2012 at 08:54 AM (#4207830)
the immediate defense of someone being an insensitive jerk
OK, we'll only discuss what you say we should discuss.

I am sensitive to the fact that some people here feel hurt by Pesky's passing. But I think it's unfortunate they react negatively on this Discussion Board to anyone who diverges from the praise meme, wanting to discuss other baseball-related aspects of the deceased.
   53. tfbg9 Posted: August 14, 2012 at 08:57 AM (#4207833)
Rest in peace Johnny, rest in peace. You were a damn good ballplayer.

All prayers for his loved ones.
   54. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 09:17 AM (#4207843)
Wow.
   55. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 09:19 AM (#4207844)
Ah yes, the immediate defense of someone being an insensitive jerk.


No, actually what's going on here is that you and others bizarrely don't understand that comments in these threads are not being re-tweeted to a big screen at Pesky's funeral. These threads are not "homages" to anyone; they are meant for discussion. Not that Dan's comment about Pesky not being deserving of the Hall of Fame was "insensitive" at all.

I held my tongue last night because I wanted to let this thread be an homage to Pesky but your comment last night was incredibly rude.


No, it wasn't. Actually, yours is.

Just because you have a right to say whatever you want about someone who just died doesn't mean it's appropriate. A little consideration for the fans and people who cared about this man and allowing a place to discuss him and honor him isn't unreasonable.


What Dan wrote was entirely appropriate and reasonable, and what you've written is not. You're intruding on the right of people to discuss Pesky's life and career. Please stop doing that.
   56. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 14, 2012 at 09:27 AM (#4207849)
These threads are not "homages" to anyone; they are meant for discussion. Not that Dan's comment about Pesky not being deserving of the Hall of Fame
was "insensitive" at all.


It was an homage, until you guys barged in and inflicted upon the thread your creepy obsessions with the Hall of Fame and sportswriters.
   57. DanG Posted: August 14, 2012 at 09:36 AM (#4207858)
DanG last voted for the HoM on the 2008 ballot. At that time, he had neither Rizzuto nor Pesky among his top 15 but did have Aparico 10th and Maranville 12th.

Among shortstops active in the 40's, the obvious top choice is Arky Vaughan, with a big gap after him. The next one in line is probably Pee Wee Reese, and we have elected Reese to the HoM. So Rizzuto, Pesky, and a few others such as Vern Stephens, are the next place the argument goes.
Other shortstops active in the 40's include HOFers Appling and Boudreau. And Marion, Dark and Joost. A great era for shortstops.

I was always a bit more of a career-oriented voter. Even crediting him three years (giving him about 1720 G and 7600 PA) Pesky's career was short for a HOFer, done as a regular player by age 32.

Pesky scores big on the character and leadership criteria the Hall of Fame uses and he was an ambassador for the game. He would not be a terrible choice for the Hall to enshrine.
   58. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4207861)
It was a link to a news story inviting people to discuss issues reasonably related to the news story, which include Pesky's life, death - and career. Until you guys barged in and demanded that people not discuss some of those things.
   59. DanG Posted: August 14, 2012 at 09:47 AM (#4207871)
James in the NHBA:

"Pesky is a gregarious, cheerful man who can tell stories about old-time baseball for hours--not the well-formed, punch line anecdotes retold a hundred times, but random, slice-of-life stories that resist efforts to move them to paper. Are athletes special people? In general, no, but occasionally, yes."

He rated several HOF SS behind Pesky (#20): Sewell (#23), Bancroft (#28), Tinker (#33), Ward (#35), Wallace (#36), Maranville (#38), Jackson (#40).
   60. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 14, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4207875)
Until you guys barged in and demanded that people not discuss some of those things.

No one made any such demands. They merely pointed out how obnoxious (*) it is to haul your obsessions into an immediate post-death discussion of someone else's life well lived. The article-cum-obituary makes no mention of Pesky's worthiness for the Hall of Fame.

(*) And self-centered, though that wasn't mentioned before.
   61. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: August 14, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4207883)

What Dan wrote was entirely appropriate and reasonable, and what you've written is not. You're intruding on the right of people to discuss Pesky's life and career. Please stop doing that.


This.

There have been some great stories in this thread, 39 in particular.
   62. Scott Ross Posted: August 14, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4207898)
what exactly is the complaint here? This site is pretty much dedicate to evaluating players and especially their chances at the HoF. Maybe not everybody's biggest interest, but it's certainly a main part of BTF.


I love a good HoF argument as much as the next guy, but I also think it's maybe nice to give a guy's corpse a chance to get to the morgue before enumerating his shortcomings. It was especially egregious considering that Pesky's case has already been dismissed (dude got 1 vote in his year on the ballot), and no one here had suggested Pesky should be in the hall.
   63. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4207905)
Jackson (#40).


As always, my 2nd cousin once removed (or something close to that ... I worked out our respective family trees a couple of years ago, but the details are at home somewhere) brings up the rear.
   64. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4207910)
The obnoxious part is browbeating anyone who doesn't uncategorically heap praise onto the man. That disrespects his memory more than anything else.
   65. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 14, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4207912)
I love a good HoF argument as much as the next guy, but I also think it's maybe nice to give a guy's corpse a chance to get to the morgue before enumerating his shortcomings.

People should only talk about his career if he was hall of famer?

I'll be curious to see how people react when a link to the passing of Pete Rose shows up on this site.
Will everyone insist on only saying nice things about him?

Or is the rule only applied to specific people's heroes?
   66. Nasty Nate Posted: August 14, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4207920)
People should only talk about his career if he was hall of famer?


No, almost the opposite: it is actually possible to talk about the career of any player (living or dead) without doing so in reference to the HOF. Hard to believe I know.

I bet if someone tried to make every discussion among "thinking fans" of music about music/bands into one related to the Grammy's or the Rock n' Roll hall of fame, he or she would be laughed out of the conversation.
   67. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 14, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4207957)
I bet if someone tried to make every discussion among "thinking fans" of music about music/bands into one related to the Grammy's or the Rock n' Roll hall of fame, he or she would be laughed out of the conversation.

That's because the Grammy's and the RnRHOF are worthless in the eyes of fans/critics.
The equivalent would be a discussion if a pitcher won enough "Right Guard Reliever of the Year" awards, or was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Right or wrong, the HOF (and MVP/Cy Young awards) are used by a large portion of "thinking fans" as a measurement of a player.
Just saying "I think Player X was good" is fine, but unless you're an over-50 baseball beat writer who says "because he looked like a baseball player should", then it's really not saying much.

Baseball's history is built around statistics, so it's only natural to review the career of a player on his passing.

I agree that DanG's first sentence comment ("Even with military credit, not a deserving hall of famer.") comes across as a little harsh, but the rest of his statement is perfectly fine.
   68. Nasty Nate Posted: August 14, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4207970)
That's because the Grammy's and the RnRHOF are worthless in the eyes of fans/critics.


They're on to something...

Right or wrong, the HOF (and MVP/Cy Young awards) are used by a large portion of "thinking fans" as a measurement of a player.


But it doesn't have to be this way. And it is ridiculous when everyone here spends so much time complaining about the output of using these things while at the same time propagating and strengthening them.
   69. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 14, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4207971)
That's because the Grammy's and the RnRHOF are worthless in the eyes of fans/critics.

Around here, so is the extant baseball HOF, primarily because it doesn't "analyze" players "correctly."

The HOF comments in this thread really aren't about Johnny Pesky; they're about the writer, who's more concerned with showing that he knows how to "correctly analyze" Pesky's career than he is with Pesky.

So, yes, there is a direct parallel between obsessing over the Baseball Hall of Fame and doing the same with the Grammy's and RnRHOF.
   70. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4207979)
So it's settled, then: DanG should never have said that during the eulogy he delivered at Pesky's funeral. Some other time, maybe. Some other place. Like at a random online baseball discussion forum, perhaps. But not at Pesky's funeral. Not in front of all of those people.
   71. bunyon Posted: August 14, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4207980)
What Dan wrote was entirely appropriate and reasonable, and what you've written is not. You're intruding on the right of people to discuss Pesky's life and career. Please stop doing that.

No one is intruding on anyone's rights. Some people think you and Dan are jerks. You think them silly. Freedom.


As for Dan's post, it wasn't offensive, IMO, but it was bizarre. 92 year old who has been off the ballot for a very, very long time dies. Immediate response is to defend the HOF by stating that he isn't deserving when no one has actually said that he is. I've never heard anyone say Pesky was robbed. Dan's post just seemed to come out of nowhere for no reason. It was jarring, in my opinion.

If Jim Morris died today, someone discussing his HOF worthiness wouldn't seem odd - he's on the ballot and much discussed. If Craig Counsell died today, discussing his HOF worthiness would be weird.


I do with everyone would stop with the "intruding on rights" meme. You can say whatever you want. Others can think you silly, or mean, or clever.
   72. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4207983)
Immediate response is to defend the HOF by stating that he isn't deserving when no one has actually said that he is.

Side note: I didn't know about Pesky's HOF status, so I assumed from DanG's opening sentence that he WAS in the HOF (veteran pick).

Again, I ask...

Is the same sort of reverence going to be shown when Pete Rose passes away?
Will everyone decide it's gauche to talk about the HOF and his place in (or out of) it?
It's assumed that everyone will be nice and talk about his hustle, and his desire to win, and how he helped contribute to the Big Red Machine?

If not, then I don't see why it should be selectively applied to certain players when their (unfortunate) time comes.
   73. DanG Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4207984)
What's bizarre is all of the rhetoric by people who don't want to discuss the Hall of Fame discussing their dislike of discussing the Hall of Fame.
   74. Lassus Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4207988)
Is the same sort of reverence going to be shown when Pete Rose passes away?
Will everyone decide it's gauche to talk about the HOF and his place in (or out of) it?


Depends on how much I make on Rose in the death pool.
   75. Nasty Nate Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4207992)
Again, I ask...

Is the same sort of reverence going to be shown when Pete Rose passes away? .....


Do you think all people should be revered equally?

But more to your point, I don't think that bringing up the HOF was disrespectful or irreverent ... just irrelevant (see post #71). Pete Rose was a player who was only not elected because of unusual circumstance. There is no connection between Pesky and HOF selection at all besides the pervading bizarre and unnecessary need to frame almost every discussion about a player around the HOF.
   76. DanG Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4207997)
unnecessary need to frame almost every discussion about a player around the HOF.
The HOF is a very handy and recognized frame of reference for discussing the quality of a very good player's career. What better framework do you suggest for discussion?
   77. robinred Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4207998)
Is the same sort of reverence going to be shown when Pete Rose passes away?


I don't really get this question. This little flap is similar to the DiPerna/Harwell flap in some respects, in that Pesky, like Harwell, was known for being an exceptionally kind and friendly man who was beloved by the fanbase of the team with which he was associated and respected by just about everybody.

A lot of Reds fans still (and will always) love Pete Rose, but he is known for being a comnsummate slimeball in general, so it's not the same thing.

The traditional "don't speak ill of the dead" custom exists for good reasons: 1) Nothing is accomplished by saying what an a-hole the dead guy was if you think he was one and 2) Pretty much everybody, even a-holes, has someone who will be saddened by his/her passing.

In this case, while no one bagged on Pesky, nothing was really accomplished by talking about Pesky and the HOF and while this is just a baseball site, it would probably have been wiser simply to let Boston fans share their thoughts/anecdotes about Pesky's passing without bringing in the HOF, particularly since there was no HOF controversy about Pesky as AFAIK.
   78. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4208008)
This little flap is similar to the DiPerna/Harwell flap in some respects, in that Pesky, like Harwell, was known for being an exceptionally kind and friendly man who was beloved by the fanbase of the team with which he was associated and respected by just about everybody.



... & Ray, of course, is known for having no understanding of human sentiment. (With the notable exception -- thank god! -- of child molestation at Penn State.)
   79. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4208009)
The HOF is a very handy and recognized frame of reference for discussing the quality of a very good player's career. What better framework do you suggest for discussion?

The guy was 92 years old and played major league baseball for 10 years. His playing career was but one relatively small chapter of his life, and how "good" he was at it was an even smaller chapter.
   80. DanG Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:35 PM (#4208011)
I get it. Discussing the HOF here is OT.
   81. Lassus Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4208013)
I get it. Discussing the HOF here is OT.

Oh wah wah wah. I didn't think your inital comment was anything other than kind of strange; but I can actually SEE you stamping your foot in the sandbox now.
   82. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4208015)
The traditional "don't speak ill of the dead" custom exists for good reasons: 1) Nothing is accomplished by saying what an a-hole the dead guy was if you think he was one and 2) Pretty much everybody, even a-holes, has someone who will be saddened by his/her passing.


Of course, as you recognize, nobody here said anything ill of Pesky, nor did I say anything ill of Harwell.

In this case, while no one bagged on Pesky, nothing was really accomplished by talking about Pesky and the HOF and while this is just a baseball site, it would probably have been wiser simply to let Boston fans share their thoughts/anecdotes about Pesky's passing without bringing in the HOF, particularly since there was no HOF controversy about Pesky as AFAIK.


I'm a Boston fan. I didn't mind Dan making a note of Pesky's career relative to the HOF.

Again, the idea that a discussion of the quality of Pesky's career in a thread citing to the news of Pesky's death is out of bounds is utterly bizarre.
   83. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4208021)
Again, the idea that a discussion of the quality of Pesky's career in a thread citing to the news of Pesky's death is out of bounds is utterly bizarre.

You're moving the goalposts again, from "quality of career" to "Hall of Fame." I'm sure there were headlines somewhere along the lines of "Sox' Pesky, .307 career hitter, passes away."(*)

Of course, as you recognize, nobody here said anything ill of Pesky, nor did I say anything ill of Harwell.

True -- your comments about Ernie were merely self-centered and socially maladroit. (I'm going on recollection here and don't recall anything "ill.")

(*) Upon which I'm also sure various bluehairs thought, "Why is that headline writer overrating batting average? Doesn't he know OBP is more important?"


   84. The District Attorney Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4208023)
I'll be curious to see how people react when a link to the passing of Pete Rose shows up on this site.
Do you really think there'll be dozens of "he was a scumbag, glad he's gone" posts? I can't imagine that.

Here's my very, very educated guess. People would try to come up with non-insulting but not overly complimentary things to say about Rose (or they'd simply post just to post without even saying anything that substantive). Someone would then finally post that they won't miss him. Maybe someone would agree. Those one or two people expressing that opinion would then kick off a 500-post meandering about whether or not "everyone here" is disrespecting the memory of Pete Rose.

Which would all prove, yet again, that META IS A DUMB WASTE OF TIME.

(And yes, I realize I'm being meta by talking about meta. THAT'S ONE OF THE WORST THINGS ABOUT IT. IT'S A TRAP.)

If Jim Morris died today, someone discussing his HOF worthiness wouldn't seem odd
Kinda would ;-)
   85. robinred Posted: August 14, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4208029)
bizarre.



My reaction is different; I like bunyon's word choice to describe the post: "jarring." DanG decided to use Pesky's death as a way to point out that Pesky's playing record was not in his opinion HOF-level. Had there been a raging HOF controversy about Pesky, or had Pesky spent a lot of time late in his life complaining about not being in Cooperstown, I could see that. As it is, I find it odd. In your case, you used the occasion of Harwell's death to call attention to the fact that you had "never heard a word" that he broadcast. I found that odd as well.

Neither is a big deal in the BTF scheme of things, but I certainly get that some Boston and Detroit fans would find it off-putting.
   86. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 14, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4208053)
Like a few other guys whose cases have been raised here from time to time, Pesky would have a pretty good HOF argument if the HOF had some way of accounting for "a lifetime of good works in the sport" - playing career PLUS all the ambassador-of-the-game stuff. The "Lefty O'Doul Wing," something like that.
   87. Swedish Chef Posted: August 14, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4208064)
The HOF is a very handy and recognized frame of reference for discussing the quality of a very good player's career. What better framework do you suggest for discussion?

Pesky's HoF case is certainly a good strawman to knock down if you want to act dismissive about him in the first few posts in a thread about his death. Beats me why anyone would want to do that, though.
   88. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 14, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4208092)
Do you really think there'll be dozens of "he was a scumbag, glad he's gone" posts? I can't imagine that.

No, but there will definitely be some like "A hell of a player but a terrible person, I'm glad he never got in the HOF."

   89. DanG Posted: August 14, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4208097)
Pesky's HoF case is certainly a good strawman to knock down if you want to act dismissive about him in the first few posts in a thread about his death. Beats me why anyone would want to do that, though.
Me too. This misinterpretation of my intent is entirely your creation. Yes, I can understand where my opinion could come across as "off-putting", as ronbinred said, and I regret that; the conclusion should have followed the argument. But most of the reactions here seem like people are looking for something to be offended by.

My intent was the exact opposite of being "dismissive". To discuss a player's career in the context of a serious discussion of his qualifications for the HOF is, to me, a high compliment. I would think you would be more upset at all the posts here implying it's absurd to even discuss Pesky in this light.
   90. alilisd Posted: August 14, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4208131)
I think that the occasion of a fine player's death is a natural time to discuss his case for the Hall.


I think the natural time would be when he is eligible for the HOF, or during a HOF thread, or in a discussion of an article advocating for or against said player's HOF worthiness. ymmv, and apparently does. :-)
   91. Bruce Markusen Posted: August 14, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4208158)
Dan and Ray, what it comes down to is common sense, decency, and a sense of timing and appropriateness, qualities that you are showing little of in this thread. You certainly have the right to make comments about Pesky not being deserving of the HOF, but that doesn't mean that it's the correct time or the appropriate moment to make such a remark. And then you act all surprised that people are offended by what you have to say in the immediate moments after the death of a beloved Boston institution. It seems to me that this is all about attention-getting, trying to make the thread about yourselves, first and foremost. You have the right to do that, but don't expect us to lay flowers at your feet for doing so.

It might also be helpful to learn a little bit more about the man beyond the Baseball Reference page on him. If you're a true fan of the game, you'd know a little bit more than just his numbers on Baseball Reference (or at least you'd to try to learn). You perhaps would know that he was a coach (not just with the Red Sox but with the Pirates), a minor league manager, spring training instructor, a broadcaster, and a generally positive influence on decades of young Red Sox players. Perhaps you would know about the thousands of fungoes that he hit in a Boston uniform, about his involvement in the World Series, the debate surrounding his supposed "hesitation" in making a critical throw in the World Series against St. Louis, and about his heroic service in World War II, which deprived him of three of his prime seasons. Perhaps you would bother to learn a little about his unofficial achievements as a goodwill ambassador for the Red Sox.

This thread should not be about you, Dan and Ray. It should be about a great man in Johnny Pesky.
   92. The District Attorney Posted: August 14, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4208193)
You perhaps would know that [Pesky] was a coach (not just with the Red Sox but with the Pirates), a minor league manager, spring training instructor, a broadcaster, and a generally positive influence on decades of young Red Sox players. Perhaps you would know about the thousands of fungoes that he hit in a Boston uniform, about his involvement in the World Series, the debate surrounding his supposed "hesitation" in making a critical throw in the World Series against St. Louis, and about his heroic service in World War II, which deprived him of three of his prime seasons. Perhaps you would bother to learn a little about his unofficial achievements as a goodwill ambassador for the Red Sox.
To be fair, I'm pretty sure Ray does know that stuff.

This thread should not be about you, Dan and Ray.
Okay, he doesn't know that.
   93. Random Transaction Generator Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4208225)
I'm pretty sure DanG didn't make this thread about himself. That was other people doing that.
   94. Guapo Posted: August 14, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4208241)
I haven't listened to it, but Pesky's SABR Bio Page has a link to an MP3 of an interview with him (down at the bottom of the page). Might be worth checking out.
   95. villageidiom Posted: August 14, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4208292)
As for Dan's post, it wasn't offensive, IMO, but it was bizarre... Dan's post just seemed to come out of nowhere for no reason. It was jarring, in my opinion.
This. And really, just this.

Ray's Harwell thing was also jarring, but it was different in that it was not the least bit enlightening about Harwell. It was enlightening about Ray, which the thread wasn't about. The personal stories about Pesky, as well as summations of Pesky's career in stat form - however jarring a manner in which they are presented - are conveying information about Pesky moreso than info about the people presenting them.
   96. Bruce Markusen Posted: August 14, 2012 at 07:03 PM (#4208420)
All right, I agree that Dan G didn't make the thread about himself. I guess I didn't care for his PC Police comment. This has nothing to do with "politically correct." It's about common sense and timing.

And I'm not even a Red Sox fan. To me, guys like Johnny Pesky are what helps make the game more colorful and intriguing.
   97. Sunday silence Posted: August 14, 2012 at 09:43 PM (#4208501)
That you feel this is the relevant thing to discuss about Johnny Pesky displays a spectacular lack of understanding about Johnny and a terribly narrow point of view about baseball.


Can you actually express a logical argument as to why it would lack understanding? ( I mean I get the "narrow point of view," I see what you did there.)

Forget the Pete Rose analogy. What if say, Ron Kittle dies? or Rennie Stennet? or Frank Malzone? WOuld you be equally offended?
   98. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 14, 2012 at 10:36 PM (#4208519)
Can you actually express a logical argument as to why it would lack understanding? ( I mean I get the "narrow point of view," I see what you did there.)


Because the reason Johnny is so immensely popular in Boston has virtually nothing to do with his playing record. He is popular because of the way he has treated people over the course of his life. If you read the stories some of us included above you'll notice there was almost nothing about his .307 average or any of his on field accomplishments. The stories were about him being gracious, about him being kind, about Johnny Pesky the man, not Johnny Pesky the baseball player.

My comment shouldn't have been made because I didn't want this thread to go down this road. I would strongly encourage DanG to read Dan Shaughnessy's piece in the Boston Globe today. Shaughnessy is (and deserves to be) a punching bag most of the time but he nailed it today. Peter Gammons wrote a lovely piece at MLB.com and a simple Google search will find plenty of stories as to why we feel the way we do about Johnny Pesky.

What if say, Ron Kittle dies? or Rennie Stennet? or Frank Malzone? WOuld you be equally offended?


No I wouldn't but that is simply because they don't mean as much to me as Johnny Pesky did. I literally cannot remember a time when baseball and the Red Sox were not a major part of my life and Pesky has been a part of the team that entire time. Read the story I put in #11 if you haven't. I can't adequately express what a thrill that half an hour was for me.

When any of those folks you mention passes away it won't be as impactful to me as Pesky's death was. But, I hope I would have the decency to not jump into a thread and make my first comment "man, Kittle whiffed a LOT didn't he?" I would hope I would allow those who cared about him to mourn him from a respectful distance and discuss his flaws in a different forum. Just by way of example it took all of half a day for a thread about Pesky and the Hall to pop up and that certainly was an appropriate thread and a place to discuss his flaws as well as his successes. I would have preferred this thread remained a place to celebrate his life and his achievements both on and off the field. Maybe that's what DanG had in mind but when the first thing he wrote was "not a Hall of Famer" he set a bad tone (perhaps inadvertently).

And that's the last I'll say on the meta-topic. My intention was never to drive this thread down this path. Despite the fact that he wasn't family, wasn't a friend, wouldn't have known me if he tripped over me, Johnny Pesky meant a lot to me. If that makes me a sentimental sap, so be it.

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