Pesky passes: Johnny played for Silverton before moving up to Boston Red Sox

September 2012 Posted in People, Sports

By James DayJames Day

Johnny Pesky, the legendary Boston Red Sox player with ties to the Silverton area, died Aug. 13. Pesky, whose career with the Red Sox spanned more than 60 years, passed away under hospice care at the age of 92 in Danvers, Mass. No cause of death was released.

Pesky, a Portland native, batted .307 with the Red Sox from 1942-54. His playing days were interrupted by service in World War II from 1943-45.

Before joining the Boston Red Sox, Pesky played on the Silverton Red Sox, the semi-pro team that is commenorated on the mural that covers a wall of the Ace Hardware building on McClaine Street.

Pesky played in Silverton 1938 and 1939 on a team sponsored by the Silver Falls Timber Company and put together by William “Mac” McGinnis, a superintendent at the mill and namesake for the ballpark (now the Silverton High School football field).

“We filled the ballpark every night,” Pesky told the Statesman Journal in a 2009 story. “It wasn’t a big town, but it seemed like everyone in town was at the ballpark.”

The mill where many of the Silverton players worked at was partly owned by Tom Yawkey, who also owned the Boston Red Sox. When the time came to move up to pro ball Pesky chose to stick with the Red Sox.

He didn’t negotiate with any other team and remained a Red Sox for life.

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