Fans: Pesky was ambassador to game

Fans: Pesky was ambassador to game

BOSTON -- Standing tall amongst a bed of flowers, a handmade sign propped against the base of Johnny Pesky's statue outside Fenway Park read: "Johnny Pesky, No. 6, Loved By All."

Pesky, who represented the Red Sox for 61 years, died on Monday at the age of 92. He was one of the most recognizable and beloved figures in the club's 112-year history, serving the organization for more than six decades as a player, manager, coach, broadcaster and executive.

Fans milled around Pesky's bronze statue on Tuesday, which sits outside Gate B in right field at Fenway Park, paying their respects. Some left notes. Others dropped off flowers. Many more took pictures.

While thousands of people descended on Fenway Park on Tuesday evening for a Bruce Springsteen concert, some came solely to remember Pesky.

"He embodied everything pure about the Red Sox and was one of the nicest men I ever met," said Melissa Clarke, 43, of Boston who once met Pesky at Spring Training. "What a great ambassador of the game."

Pesky touched the lives of generations of Red Sox fans since his debut as a shortstop in 1942. He hit .331 as a rookie and finished third in the American League Most Valuable Player Award voting. The next year, Pesky served in the Navy during World War II. He spent the final 44 years of his life as a Red Sox employee and was a part of their inaugural Hall of Fame class in 1995.

"He served our country and he served the Red Sox. A class act," said Rob Konen, 46, of Quincy. "He's truly a role model."

Even in his later years, Pesky never strayed far from the Sox or Fenway Park. He was at Opening Day this season and Fenway's 100th anniversary celebration on April 20. Pesky welcomed the newest class of Red Sox Hall of Fame inductees on Aug. 3. His last trip to the ballpark came on Aug. 5, when the Sox beat the Twins, 6-4.

Pesky was good to the Red Sox, and they were good to him.

The club retired his No. 6 in 2008. He helped raise the World Series banner in April '05. In '06, the Sox officially named the right-field foul pole after Pesky.

"Two things come to mind when I think of Fenway Park: the Green Monster and Pesky's Pole," said Chris Rizzo, 52, of Boston.

Fittingly, Pesky's likeness rests between those of friends and fellow Red Sox legends Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr and Dom DiMaggio. The foursome makes up the "Teammates" statue on the corner of Van Ness and Ipswich Streets.

A placard on the base of the statue reads: "They left an unmatchable legacy in Red Sox history."

There will never be another man quite like Pesky. He truly was loved by all.

Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.