An ongoing series ranking the top 25 Red Sox of all time.
(Author’s note: This is a completely subjective list. It’s based mostly on my own opinion, although I did use multiple reference sources for research when compiling these rankings. Factors considered were not only stats, but also what each player meant to the organization and the city of Boston. Also, being only 29-years old myself, I didn’t get the opportunity to see many of the all-time greats myself, so there will inevitably be a little bit of a recency bias, but I made a conscious effort to be as fair as I could to the old-timers. Only time spent in Boston was considered.)
Johnny Pesky, Fenway’s “Pesky’s Pole” namesake, was a Red Sox infielder for 8 seasons, although he was involved with the organization almost his entire professional life.
From 1942-1952 (he missed 3 years due to military service during WWII), Pesky was one of the best ever at getting on base. He hit .313 with an OBP of .401 during his time in Boston. Known as a strictly contact hitter, he famously hit only 13 home runs in his entire tenure in Boston. He recorded over 200 hits on 3 separate occasions, led the league in hits in each of his first 3 seasons, and finished top-5 in MVP voting twice in a Sox uniform.
(Pesky standing in the dugout. Photo credit: WCBV)
Pesky remained a part of the city of Boston long after his playing career finished as a manager, coach, and special instructor right up until his death, earning himself the nickname, “Mr. Red Sox.”
Considered a grandfather-like figure, all of New England and Red Sox Nation, myself included, deeply mourned his passing in 2012, as displayed by the thousands of fans and admirers who attended his funeral.