For as long as I can remember, I have been a baseball fan. My dad was a baseball fan, my uncles were baseball fans and, yes, they inspired me to become a baseball fan. Some of my best memories of growing up involve heading to Fenway Park with my father and his brother, Joe.
My son has inherited the same love for baseball. Despite the fact that my father died many years before my son was born, I like to think that, somehow, baseball and my father are still one in the same. I like to feel that, even though they never met, my son and my father share a very special bond in the game of baseball.
Yesterday, Boston lost a Red Sox Legend when Johnny Pesky passed away at 92 years old. Pesky, who wore jersey number six, was the first player in Red Sox history who had not been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame to have his jersey number retired by the team in 2008.
Pesky was, without a doubt, a Boston hero whether he was inducted by Cooperstown or not. For three years, when Pesky could have been scoring runs and improving his baseball stats he was, instead, serving his country in the United States military.
Forever associated with Red Sox greats Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio and Bobby Doerr, Pesky will go down in history as one of the most beloved ballplayers in Red Sox history. He devoted more than 60 years of his life to Red Sox Nation and reminded us time and time again that heroes really do exist.
Pesky, who was born John Michael Paveskovich in September of 1919, has been a part of Red Sox nation longer than most of us remember. Truth of the matter is that, most of us don’t remember him as a player, we respect him as a member of Red Sox nation that we know and love.
Pesky’s love for the game, his commitment to young players, his dedication to Red Sox Nation and his service to the United States have earned him a place in Boston history. He is, without a doubt, one of Boston’s true heroes and I, for one, thank him for the example he has set for my son.
What is it that truly makes someone a hero? Well, Pesky truly is the epitome with a dedication to his country and its youth. Pesky spent the better part of his life enjoying baseball and sharing it with others.
For so very many reasons Pesky is a true American who we can all thank for helping to show our kids that, yes, heroes really do exist. His memory represents baseball but, more than that, it reminds us that commitment to our country and it youth is the most important goal of all.