Everyone's used this photo already. And nobody seems to know the original photographer. But it's perfect, so I'll use it again.
This was the first thing that came to mind when I heard about Johnny Pesky's passing today -- this exact moment in St. Louis after the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, when Curt Schilling swept Pesky off his feet in a giant bear hug.
He wasn't technically a part of the team (unless I'm missing something -- what did he do? What was he coach of, other than morale?), and yet, he WAS the team, the ultimate connection between the hallowed past and a blessed future.
Time after time after that, he was brought out amid whatever assemblage of transient players the Red Sox currently had signed to the roster for ring ceremonies and a pole dedication and to see his number retired and for the hundredth anniversary of the building, and I'm sure I'm missing a few...the one guy on the field who wasn't ever going to leave the uniform. And it never seemed tired or trite -- his love and enthusiasm, every time, were just too genuine.
He was, in short, a priceless living treasure. Those of us alive today will not see his like again.
Rest in peace, Johnny Pesky. Thank you for the gift of yourself.