BOSTON -- It's officially Pesky's Pole.
Pesky, a 56-year member of the organization, was honored on his
87th birthday with an on-field ceremony. He threw out the
ceremonial first pitch to pitcher Tim Wakefield.
For years, many have referred to the pole as "Pesky's Pole"
when batters have hit homers down the short right-field line, where
the pole stands 302 feet away.
"This is a little unusual for me," said Pesky of the
attention, while sitting in the Red Sox dugout and wearing a
uniform with his No. 6 on the back during batting practice. "I'm a
little flattered. This is really nice."
Former Red Sox players Bobby Doerr and Frank Malzone were on
hand for the celebration.
Doerr, a Hall of Famer, was a second baseman who played along
side Pesky, a shortstop.
"The guy had to work hard for what he has," Doerr said. "He's
a Hall of Famer in my eyes. He's a great ambassador for baseball."
Pesky played with the Red Sox in 1942 and 1946-52, hitting .313,
and held the club record for most hits by a rookie with 205 until
Nomar Garciaparra broke it with 209 in 1997. He was the first Red
Sox player to have three 200-hit seasons.
After his playing days, he managed the team in 1963-64, coached
and worked in the radio-TV booth. He is remembered in recent years
for hitting fungos to infielders before games, and current Hall of
Famer Wade Boggs credits Pesky for helping improve his defense.
The team will place a plaque just before the pole on the
outfield wall in foul territory.
"You sure they didn't make a mistake?" he said with a smile.
"I hope I make it to next year."