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Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky dies

By Khara Lewin, CNN
updated 7:43 AM EDT, Tue August 14, 2012
Johnny Pesky worked in one capacity or another for the Boston Red Sox for 61 years.
Johnny Pesky worked in one capacity or another for the Boston Red Sox for 61 years.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Beloved Red Sox Hall of Famer Johnny Pesky has died at the age 92
  • Pesky spent 61 years with the Boston Red Sox
  • A public tribute to the legend will be announced at a later date

(CNN) -- Johnny Pesky, beloved member of the Red Sox Hall of fame who spent 61 years with the renowned baseball club, died Monday at the age of 92, the Boston franchise said.

Pesky's No. 6 is one of only eight uniform numbers retired by the club. Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino described him as the "grandfather of the Red Sox."

Pesky signed with the Red Sox in 1940. The shortstop played his first year in the major leagues in 1942 smashing 29 doubles and was second in the American League with a .331 batting average. The next year, Pesky left to go fight in World War II. He was away at war until 1946.

He did not miss a beat, coming back in 1946 to hit 43 doubles and batting .335.

Pesky was not much of a slugger only hitting 17 home runs in his entire career. But still, the right field foul pole at Boston's Fenway Park is referred to as the Pesky Pole because of his habit of crushing the ball down the line and hooking it around the foul pole.

In 1952, Pesky was traded to the Detroit Tigers, but he quickly found his way back to his Red Sox.

After ending his playing career two years later, Pesky went back and served as a coach, manager, announcer and ambassador during his 61 years with the Red Sox.

He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in its inaugural 1995 class.

"The national pastime has lost one of its greatest ambassadors today. Johnny Pesky, who led a great American life, was an embodiment of loyalty and goodwill for the Boston Red Sox and all of Major League Baseball," said Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.

John Henry, Red Sox owner, expressed his sadness upon hearing the news: "We have lost a dear and beloved friend."

Pesky was "surrounded by family and friends" when he passed away at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers, Massachusetts, the Red Sox said.

A public tribute in Pesky's honor will be announced at a later date.

Obituaries 2012: The lives they lived

CNN's Lateef Mungin contributed to this report.

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