Sep 23, 2008
The defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox will retire the number of former Durham Bulls Manager Johnny Pesky on Friday night at Fenway Park. Pesky, who was an all-star infielder for the Red Sox, managed the Durham Bulls in 1956 when they were a Detroit Tigers affiliate in the Carolina League.
Pesky's Bulls finished second in the eight-team league in 1956, posting an 84-69 record yet falling 6.5 games behind the High Point Thomasville Hi-Toms. His team led the league in hitting (.263), runs (803) hits (1335), triples (52) and runs batted in (697). The impressive showing landed Pesky the Carolina League Manager of the Year Award.
As a player, Pesky played over seven seasons with the Red Sox as a shortstop and third baseman. He was a career .307 hitter in 10 Major League seasons with the Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Washington Senators and made the 1948 American League All-Star Team. After retiring in 1954, Pesky began his coaching career in the New York Yankees system in 1955 before spending the next four seasons in the Tigers organization. He returned to the Red Sox in 1961 where he has worked in some capacity in every season except four, 1965-67 (Pittsburgh Pirates) and 1983 (missed due to illness).
Pesky also has a feature of Fenway Park. The foul pole in right field is known as Pesky's Pole, named in his honor by former teammate and Sox broadcaster Mel Parnell.