Pesky saddened by Halberstam's death
Red Sox great a subject of late Pulitzer-prize winning author
BOSTON -- Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky reacted with sadness when told of the news that legendary author David Halberstam died in a car accident in California on Monday.
Pesky, along with Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr and Dominic DiMaggio, was featured in a stirring 2003 book by Halberstam titled "Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship."
With enriching detail, Halberstam described the bond of four men who not only played together on the Red Sox, but grew up together, and remained friends their entire lives.
"He wrote the book about the four of us and it was very flattering," said Pesky, speaking from Fenway Park during Monday's Red Sox-Blue Jays game. "I know it was a best-seller for a number of years. I was very sad to hear this happened. Just a fine man. A great reporter, a great writer, he did everything that possibly a good human being could do. He was just an outstanding man. I feel really badly about this. I haven't talked to Dominic or Bobby yet, but I hope to tonight when I go home."
The book represented a must-read for baseball fans everywhere, particularly on the heels of Williams dying in July 2002.
The riveting read gave generations young and old an in-depth glimpse into Williams, and three of his closest friends.
Pesky didn't know Halberstam until the book project, but instantly was impressed.
"He talked exceptionally well. He had that great voice," said the 87-year-old Pesky. "I've heard him speak other places. He was spell-bounding. Just an outstanding man. I met him because of the book."
After the release of "The Teammates", Pesky, Doerr and DiMaggio did some appearances with Halberstam.
"He wrote the book, and how that came about was Halberstam was in Florida when Dominic was there," said Pesky. "Halberstam found out Dominic was in the area so he called him and Dominic invited him over to the house and that's how this book came about. He talked to Dominic and Dominic told him we were going to go to Florida [via car] to see Ted. He said, 'Boy, this will be a great book."
The drive that Pesky and DiMaggio took from New England to Florida to visit an ailing Williams is a memory captured forever by Halberstam. Though Halberstam wasn't in the car, he did enough in-depth reporting with Pesky and DiMaggio to make readers feel that he was.
"I really feel bad about this," said Pesky. "Here's a guy who wrote a great book about four old guys, they tell me it was a best-seller."
Halberstam wrote another best-selling book that involved the Red Sox called "Summer of '49." That one encapsulated an epic pennant race that year between the Red Sox and Yankees.
Baseball was just a small part of Halberstam's distinguished career. The Pulitzer-prize winner wrote about the Vietnam War, civil rights, the auto industry and many other topics.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.