Pesky appeared at
A lifetime .307 hitter, Pesky was a player, manager, broadcaster and, most recently, a special instructor for the Red Sox. The right-field foul pole at Fenway — only 302 feet from home plate — was named the Pesky Pole in his honor.
Yet even though Pesky was a favorite of generations of players and fans, he still had his own place of notoriety in Red Sox history, a place many think is undeserved.
Pesky was often blamed for holding the ball for a split second as
With the score tied 3-3, Slaughter opened the bottom of the eighth inning with a single. With two outs, Harry Walker hit the ball to center field. Pesky, playing shortstop, took the cutoff throw from outfielder Leon Culberson and, according to some newspaper accounts, hesitated before throwing home. Slaughter, who ran through the stop sign at third base, was safe at the plate, and the best-of-seven series went to the Cardinals.
Pesky always denied any indecision, and analysis of the film appeared to back him up, but the myth persisted.
"In my heart, I know I didn't hold the ball," Pesky once said.
Born John Michael Paveskovich in Portland, Ore., on Sept. 27, 1919, Pesky first signed with the Red Sox in 1939. He played two years in the organization's minor league system before making his major league debut in 1942.
That season he set the team record for hits by a rookie with 205, a mark that stood until 1997 when fellow Red Sox shortstop
Pesky spent the next three years in the Navy during
Pesky spent two years with the Tigers and Washington