The legend of Johnny Pesky stretches back a long way. Former Major Leaguer Larry Upton told me that none other than the great Ted Williams used to jokingly and playfully call Pesky ‘needlenose’ . He also spoke of Pesky’s outgoing, warm nature. You can read a nice article by him on the great man here.
Like Larry, there are going to be many a worthy accolades written about Pesky in the coming hours and days. Last night as the New York Yankees prepared to play Texas, one of the Red Sox greatest rivals spoke about him.
Often the greatest compliments come from your rivals. They just carry more weight to them. In this case, the Boston Red Sox have no greater rival than the New York Yankees, and the figurehead of that organization, one Derek Jeter.
His softly spoken, measured and thoughtful comments should resonate strongly with even the staunchest, loyalist Red Sox fans. Jeter said;
“He was always so nice to me throughout the years. Every time I’d see him, he would come over and say, ‘I hope you get four hits today – and the guy behind you hits into four double plays.’ I’ve always enjoyed having the opportunity to talk to him. I always like the fact that we have a lot of ex-players that come around all the time. I always liked going up [to Boston] and having an opportunity to see him. They loved him there; fans, players, media, everyone loved him. I send my best wishes to his family.”
Jeter has broken Red Sox hearts countless times down through the years, however this time he may have tugged at their heart-strings in a different way, with such a simple, yet gentle and meaningful eulogy.
Like Pesky before him, Jeter remains a class act.