Johnny Pesky is what life is all about.
Born a child of immigrants, he fell in love with America's game, and it fell in love with him. Signed by the Red Sox in 1940, he made the majors in 1942 and played well enough to finish third in the MVP balloting.
Just one year into his career, his country came calling and he went off to war because that's what you do when your country calls.
He returned to team with Ted Williams, Dominic DiMaggio, and Bobby Doerr to lead the Red Sox to the World Series. Many considered him the goat, accusing him of holding the ball and failing to gun down Enos Slaughter at the plate.
He didn't run from it. He embraced the fandom by having his name legally changed from the Paveskovitch he had been born with to the Pesky the fans saw in the box scores.
There are few players who are so intimately entwined with both the absoslute joys and the utter lows of their franchise but Pesky has. He was the central figure in a 7th game failure. He was part of a quartet that did everything but win a Series. They say good teams need to be strong up the middle. Pesky played short, Bobby Doerr played second, Dominic DiMaggio patrolled center an Ted Williams was the greatest hitter that ever lived. Those four men, along with their teammates of the forties and fifties did more to make the Yankee/Red Sox rivalry than Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth wasn't any part of any rivalry. Pesky and his teammates lived the rivalry every day for most of a decade.
He has had almost every job in baseball that one can have. He was a clubhouse boy, player, coach, manager, broadcaster, and now he's an icon.
He is, by all accounts, the kindest man anyone has ever met.
Ted Williams is considered by many to be the greatest hitter that ever lived, and the real life John Wayne. And there, by his side, is his best friend and needle nosed shortstop. Never complaining, never trying to steal the spotlight, Pesky's eyes light up when he talks of his friend.
Throughout his life he has served others, loved others, and spread joy, and that is what life is about.