The man known as “Mr. Red Sox” also had a unique connection to Salem State University, one the baseball team will honor tomorrow when the right field foul pole at the Salem State baseball field is dedicated to Johnny Pesky.
A North Shore fixture, Pesky received a Doctor of Humane Letters from Salem State in 2009 and passed away last summer. The Vikings will honor him in a ceremony at 1:10 today, before the baseball game against MASCAC foe Bridgewater State begins at 1:30 p.m.
Pesky, who lived in Swampscott, spent 61 years as a player, coach, manager and ambassador with the Red Sox. The citation he received from Salem State four years ago called him “an American icon, representing all that is good and real and honest about our nation and its national pastime.”
A career .307 hitter, Pesky spent 10 years in the Major Leagues and served in the military during World War II. He was associated with the Red Sox in various capacities for decades and was known for his usual North Shore breakfasts and dedication to charity and goodwill.
His SSU citation also read, “You are a gentleman, one with a heart so large that you are unable to say ‘no’ to children who are ill, to charities that request your assistance and to every man, woman and child on the street who simply wishes to shake your hand and say ‘thank you’.”
Salem State’s Pesky Pole dedication is also sponsored in part by Salem Five’s Charitable Foundation.