Johnny Pesky

John Michael "Johnny" Pesky (born John Michael Paveskovich; February 27, 1919 – August 13, 2012), nicknamed "The Needle" and "Mr. Red Sox", was an American professional baseball player, manager and coach. He was a shortstop and third baseman during a ten-year major league playing career, appearing in 1,270 games played in 1942 and from 1946 to 1954 for three different teams. He missed the 1943–45 seasons while serving in World War II. Pesky was associated with the Boston Red Sox for 61 of his 73 years in baseball — from 1940 through June 3, 1952; 1961 through 1964; and from 1969 until his death. Pesky also managed the Red Sox from 1963 to 1964, and in September 1980. His biography is Mr. Red Sox by Bill Nowlin, published by Rounder Books.

A left-handed hitter who threw right-handed, Pesky was a tough man for pitchers to strike out. He was the first American League (AL) player to score 6 runs in a 9 inning game. As a hitter, he specialized in getting on base, leading the AL in base hits three times — his first three seasons in the majors, in which he collected over 200 hits each year — and was among the top ten in on-base percentage six times while batting .307 in 4,745 at bats as a major leaguer. He was also an excellent bunter who led the league in sacrifice hits in 1942. He was a teammate and close friend of Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr and Dom DiMaggio. Their friendship was chronicled in David Halberstam's book The Teammates.

By Dean Hanley

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