The John Michael Paveskovich Pole

Pesky joins Rizzuto. In the words of W. H. Auden, Pesky has become one of his own admirers.

Christened by one-time teammate and broadcaster Mel Parnell “The Pesky Pole,” at 302 feet from home plate in right field at Fenway Park a ball landing there was just the right distance for Johnny Pesky. Phil Rizzuto’s rival died yesterday. Pesky’s career was never the same after he served for three years during World War II. Yet even with only seventeen home runs in all and a shortened career, Pesky is a worthy candidate for the Baseball Hall of Fame. With the old Yankee Stadium right-field pole at an even more distance-challenged 296 feet from the plate, one might wonder what success Pesky would have had in New York, say if Rizzuto had played in Boston. The diminutive infielders provide a compelling parallel to the eternal question of how Ted Williams would have fared with the Yankees and how many home runs Joe DiMaggio might have powered with Boston’s famous Green Monster in his sights for 77 games each season. RIP Johnny Pesky.

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About rightoffthebatbook

Co-author of the book, "Right Off the Bat: Baseball, Cricket, Literature, and Life"
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