Pesky has his day in the sun
Red Sox legend helps raise 2004 World Series banner
BOSTON -- When you've waited your whole life for something, you savor the moment when it finally comes.
Such was the case for Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky, who wasn't about to complain about being the last of the uniformed personnel to receive a 2004 World Series ring on Monday afternoon.
"It's just unbelievable," said the 85-year-old icon. "I never thought anything like this would ever happen to me, I really didn't. I was just an average player. Guys like [Ted] Williams and Dominic [DiMaggio] kept me in line."
But Pesky's day was hardly limited to trotting out on the red carpet from the Red Sox dugout to the ring table.
While he was the last member of the Red Sox in uniform to receive a ring, Pesky led the procession out to the left-center field flagpole for another unforgettable moment.
Pesky, a Sox special assignment instructor, joined with another Red Sox legend, Carl Yastrzemski, in raising the brand new World Series banner up the flagpole.
"I almost had tears in my eyes when I saw that thing," Pesky said. "It's a very emotional day, and I'm so happy the ballclub has had success, and hope they continue to have success. It's great to be part of it and I'm just glad they think of me in that way."
"The Johnny Pesky thing almost made me cry," added 46-year-old lifelong Sox fan Bob Keefe of Dracut, Mass. "That was unbelievable. The ceremony was great and the game just topped it all off."
Even former Red Sox starter Derek Lowe could sense the moment for Pesky.
"He was a big part of this whole deal today," said Lowe, who along with former Sox players Dave Roberts and the retired Ellis Burks spoke immediately following the emotional ceremony. "They call him Mr. Red Sox for a reason."
Asked to display his newly minted jewelry, Pesky played it safe in his post-ceremony press conference.
"No, I'm not wearing it," he said. "It's already in a very safe place."
Lee Beatty, 33, made the trip from Guilford, Conn. She joined the rest of the roaring throng when Pesky made his trip along the carpet to accept the ring.
"I didn't realize Johnny Pesky had been with the team for that long. I just think it's phenomenal. A few years ago, my husband and I met him and he said, 'I really hope this is the year, because I don't know how long I've got.' So it really makes you appreciate how Pesky must have felt."
Monday was the day for Pesky to bask in the many emotions that have collected over his 64 years, spent almost entirely with the Red Sox.
"I've got no regrets," Pesky said. "The Red Sox have been great. You all know how I feel about this club, I've felt that way my whole life."
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.