MY MOMENT IN THE SUN WITH JOHNNY PESKY
“NICE CATCH KID”
By: Edward P. Shallow
Before I reveal my memorable day with John Pesky; I would like to pay tribute to Mr. John Bishop – Boston Brunis.com for his insightful tribute to both Johnny Pesky and Boston Hockey legend, Milt Schmidt in his “Friends & Contemoraries,”publication .In his piece he writes of how Milt and Johnny often crossed paths.
Bishop indicates little did I realize that not only did Schmidt and Peaky know each other very well, but that the baseball player had actually donned Bruins gear during practices during the early 1950’s.
“The one favorite memory I have, is that during one of the workouts he took my hockey stick and made a rush towards me, and I took his baseball glove and I stooped over like a baseball player would do waiting for somebody sliding into second base,” said Schmidt over the phone. “I remember that, plus the fact there was quite a few photos out there and I did sigh quite a few for an autograph and I know John Passkey’s signature was on the photo as well.”
“We were very close,” said Schmidt. “He was such a great hockey fan,, plus he worked out with us for several times.
“Needless to say that he was almost as good a hockey player as he was a baseball player. Until Joe Cronin found out about it and thought he’d get hurt, so Joe Cronin said, “That’s enough of that!” So John didn’t play with us any more.
It was either the year 1948 or 1949 three of us were returning from baseball practice at Fens’s stadium (now Clemente Park) we decided to walk past Fen way Park. In so doing we heard the batting of baseballs, we knew the Sox had an off day, the doors to Fen way were wide open and we went in in hopes of watching batting practice. Almost as soon as we got there all the players were heading for the showers and calling it quits. Johnny Pesky was still at the plate and wanted to continue hitting, the pitcher agreed to stay on so we asked Johnny if he wanted us to shag some of the balls, we explained we had our gloves and spikes, that being the case, Johnny said go to it.
One of my friends went to left field, the other to right field knowing Pesky was a left handed hitter. I positioned myself deep at the Short Stop position. It was great playing with a major laager, and one of the best.
Pesky hit a long fly ball out towards center field, I turned my back to the plate and timed it perfectly and made the catch…Johnny shouted out, “Nice Catch Kid”
I have never stopped telling that story, to my own children and grand children