Keller @ Large: Johnny Pesky – A Great New Englander

August 14, 2012 12:00 AM
Keller @ Large: Johnny Pesky – A Great New Englander
" BOSTON (CBS) – Johnny Pesky has passed away at age 92, and while we don’t use this space to eulogize every great New Englander who deserves it, this time, an exception is in order.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Download: kelleratlargeaug142012.mp3

Pesky was born in 1919, in the middle of the era that produced what has come to be known as “the Greatest Generation” who survived the Great Depression, fought and won the Big One, and came home to build America into something great. As huge a role as they played in shaping a better world, they were never known for bragging about it.

So we better brag about them when we can.

According to Bill Nowlin’s excellent bio, Pesky’s Croatian-immigrant parents didn’t understand baseball, but they supported their son in his strange obsession. “It’s been my whole life,” he once told WBZ’s Dan Roche. “I eat it, drink it, sleep it, eat it, whatever.”

In his rookie year, 1942, he hit .331, trailing only Ted Williams in the American League, and led the league in sacrifices, a precursor to what came next, three years in service as a Naval aviator "

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