Statue of legendary 'Teammates' unveiled
Red Sox pay tribute to lifelong friendship of former players
BOSTON -- After David Halberstam wrote "The Teammates" in 2003 -- a narrative about the 1,300-mile trip Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr made to Florida in 2001 to visit a seriously ill Ted Williams -- the seeds were planted for what transpired on Wednesday.
The Boston Red Sox unveiled a bronze statue of "The Teammates" outside Fenway Park, and just a few yards from a statue of Williams.
"After we did the Ted Williams statue, and following his death, we realized there was a need to honor these other great players," Boston president/CEO Larry Lucchino said. "When the Halberstam book came out on the 'The Teammates', [principal owner] John Henry and [chairman] Tom Werner were taken by the book.
"They wanted to see us do something to honor these guys while they still were alive and could appreciate it."
Besides Red Sox ownership, those in attendance at the unveiling included Pesky, Doerr, Mrs. Emily DiMaggio (Dom's wife) and Emmy Award-winning writer and commentator Dick Flavin -- who made the trip to visit Williams with the aforementioned trio.
Other dignitaries who witnessed the unveiling included National Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson and Boston Art Commission staff director Karin Goodfellow.
The Red Sox commissioned the statue, which was sculpted by Antonio Tobias Mendez, who was instructed to submit a proposal based on the book "The Teammates."
Of the two concepts he submitted, the second hit a proverbial home run.
"One concept was of the [four] players kneeling," Mendez said. "The other was of them standing [with a bat on each man's shoulder] and getting ready for batting practice. My thinking was this was more monumental.
"The key thing was making sure they were proportionate in front of the stadium. Also, with them standing, they're interacting with each other, whereas if they were kneeling they wouldn't be interacting with each other.
"And this is about kinship and long friendship."
That was a point conveyed by the 90-year-old Pesky.
"Ted, Dom and Bobby have been my closest friends since my rookie year in 1942," he said. "I have had some great times with them and I am glad that, thanks to the Red Sox, our friendship will now be remembered forever in the form of this statue."
Flavin, admittedly, was taken aback when Pesky and Doerr unveiled the statue.
"It was surreal," he said. "It's just wonderful because their names are so linked together. They're linked to this town, to this team and to one another. I was so fortunate to have known my heroes through my adult life.
"This statue will perpetuate them. It will always be here. It gives you a wonderful feeling."
That feeling also was evident in a letter from Ted's daughter, Claudia Williams (who was not in attendance), which was read by Flavin.
"This statue captures a moment that reflects true emotion and lifelong friendship," she said. "I am certain there is something special that lies within this statue -- the same 'magic' found in the statue of dad putting his ball cap on a little boy.
"I want to thank the City of Boston and the Red Sox for their efforts to make this possible."
Lucchino added: "Their legacy to the Red Sox cannot be overstated. You cannot think of one without thinking of the other.
"We're honoring them because of their unique and enduring relationship, plus the gigantic work ethic they performed when they were here -- plus their community endeavors with fundraising events like The Jimmy Fund.
"You embody the best of what the Red Sox are about."
Mike Scandura is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.