Filed under: Red Sox
Red Sox lifer Johnny Pesky will have his number retired Friday night in a ceremony at Fenway Park. Pesky, who will turn 89 on Saturday, has spent most of his life working for the franchise, and he's more than deserving of the honor. But that's not why this is interesting.
From the Boston Globe's Extra Bases blog:
[Larry] Lucchino acknowledged the retirement of Pesky's number was an exception to the longstanding criteria for such honor, which in the past has been bestowed upon players who had played at least 10 years with the Red Sox, finished their careers here, and were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Red Sox changed the rule about having to finish you career with the team to retire Carlton Fisk's No. 27, but Pesky will be the first player to have his number retired by Boston that did not play with the club for 10 years or get inducted into Cooperstown.
A big part of me thinks that's too bad. It's virtually impossible to begrudge Pesky this honor, but I've long admired the strict criteria for getting a number up on the right field facade at Fenway.
On the other hand, it was only a matter of time before the Red Sox changed their policy. After all, neither Manny Ramirez nor Pedro Martinez played 10 years with the club, but both deserve to be honored by Boston long after they stop playing. So why not change it for Pesky?