Johnny Pesky is now nursing a bum wheel after being hit by a line drive at camp the other day.
Quoth The Pesk:
"I was kind of staggering yesterday, I was a fish out of water," Pesky said. "That's the first time anything like that ever happened to me."
All those years Pesky has spent on a baseball field, you'd think he must have experienced something like this before. As it turns out, this was indeed a first.
"I've been in the game for 60 years, that's the first time I've ever been hit by a line drive," said Pesky. "I used to dodge and duck pretty good. I got hit in the coconut twice in the Minor Leagues. And I got hit in Boston, too. Sid Hudson [from the Washington Senators] hit me in Boston. It was a slider. I was hanging over the plate. We were in a situation, [and] I didn't want to strike out. I got the big Williams coming up [next]. He threw me a slider. It hit me [in the back of my head] and the ball went right into the stands. So, I must have a hard head."
A big wet one on the lips from Curt Schilling, though, and he should be right as rain.
Update: A more detailed description of the events that occurred by Gordon Edes:
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- They didn't know who the old man was, these college kids from Denison University, a Division 3 school in Ohio that has sent its baseball team down here the last three springs to play some games because they have an inside connection to the Red Sox. David Lucchino, a Denison grad, is the nephew of Sox CEO Larry Lucchino.
''We thought it was just some crazy old guy sitting down the left-field line," said Justin Dedman, the Denison assistant coach.
But that all changed when Todd Pitt, a senior and Denison's star center fielder, hit a line drive that struck Johnny Pesky, who was sitting in a folding chair no more than 50 feet beyond the infield.
''The catcher said to me, 'Nice going,' " said Pitt, who yesterday recounted his conversation with Marc Exarhopoulos, who was behind the plate for Suffolk University in Saturday's game.
''I said, 'Why, who is it -- I had an idea it might be somebody important -- and he said, 'Johnny Pesky.' I thought, 'Oh, great, I hit a legend.' I felt terrible."
"Nice going." That makes me laugh.
Unfortunately, however, Mr. Red Sox has been sent back to Boston for the remainder of the spring.
A half-hour before Pesky was hit, Sox manager Terry Francona had told reporters he feared something like that would happen, since Pesky often sat on the field during batting practice and didn't always keep an eye on the action. That, and the fact that at his age, Pesky wouldn't be able to get out of harm's way.
But Francona, who has Pesky deliver the lineup card before the Sox' games here, said he never would be the one to ask Pesky to turn in his uniform. Especially not after the team's greatest living ambassador lost his wife of more than 60 years, Ruthie, last year.
''You can't take the game away from him, it would kill him," Francona said yesterday. ''I don't want to be any part of that. I love the guy."