Put aside any notion you have of the Boston Red Sox.
Release your mind of how you view the team, or its fanbase known as Red Sox Nation, and look deeper at what the game truly lost today.
This isn't about that. This is about the loss of a truly great man.
As reported by the Boston Herald's Steve Buckley via his Twitter:
So sad to report that Johnny Pesky died about one hour ago. I loved that man. #RedSox— Steve Buckley (@BuckinBoston) August 13, 2012
Johnny Pesky was more than just a face to a franchise. He was the heartbeat of it.
Those that are not familiar with Pesky and his importance to this ballclub may gloss it over as being a sad story; nothing more.
The truth is, Major League Baseball lost one of its last great ambassadors today.
Though his health had been failing in recent years, Pesky could always be found at Fenway Park, still in full uniform supporting the team.
His Boston Red Sox.
Of his 92 years living on this planet, 63 were dedicated to the Red Sox. Some would say possibly even 70 years.
Sure, he spent three years fighting for his county in World War II. His heart was overseas, but his mind probably longed for the smell of cut grass and the sounds of a baseball field.
Truly I'm speculating, but to hear stories of the man from those that knew him best, the speculation is not that far-fetched.
Pesky played for four seasons outside of Boston. But, as quoted in the book Game of My Life by Chaz Scoggins, Pesky said, "It was the saddest day of my life," referring to when the Red Sox traded him in 1952 to Detroit. He would go on to say that "I still followed them in the box scores."
No man loved a team more than Johnny Pesky loved the Red Sox.
Fans were outraged back in 2007 when MLB passed a rule limiting the number of coaches allowed in uniform that forced Pesky out of the team dugout. Though the league stated the rule was not aimed at the Red Sox, they were the team that felt the biggest loss because of the ruling.
A two-time All-Star in his playing days, Pesky was never bound for Cooperstown. That never stopped the Red Sox for showing appreciation for him and all that he's meant to the team.
In 2008, the team showed him proper reverence by retiring his old No. 6, going against a previously held guideline that stated the player must be inducted in Cooperstown.
Pesky didn't need that. He was more than just a namesake for a foul pole. Pesky was the lifeblood of the Red Sox for generations upon generation.
No, Johnny Pesky did not get inducted into Cooperstown.
He did, however, get inducted in the hearts of Red Sox Nation.
He now finds himself peacefully at rest, watching down upon his team.
Rest in Peace, Johnny Pesky. Baseball just lost a great one in you.