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Friends & Contemporaries

Milt Schmidt and Johnny Pesky often crossed paths

Tuesday, 08.14.2012 / 3:29 PM ET / Features
By John Bishop  -
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Friends & Contemporaries

BOSTON, MA -- Yesterday, when I called Bruins hockey legend Milt Schmidt, 94, I simply hoped to get an anecdote on his baseball contemporary Johnny Pesky, who passed away Monday at the age of 92.

Milt Schmidt and Johnny Pesky
Boston sports legends Milt Schmidt and Johnny Pesky

I thought there was at least a chance that Mr. Schmidt had run into Mr. Pesky frequently during their time in New England and I wondered what Milt might have to say about the passing of the Red Sox legend.

Little did I realize that not only did Schmidt and Pesky know each other very well, but that the baseball player had actually donned Bruins gear during practices in the early 1950s.

“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 just 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 sign quite a few for an autograph and I know that John Pesky’s signature was on the photo as well.”

As the only man to play, captain, coach and GM the B’s, Schmidt’s signature is all over the Bruins organization and the same can be said of Pesky, who served the Red Sox as a player, manager, coach and broadcaster.

But apparently, Pesky, whose red, white and blue No. 6 adorns the façade at Fenway, also left quite an impression on the man who wore the Black & Gold’s now-retired No. 15.

“We were very, very close,” said Schmidt. “He was such a great hockey fan, plus the fact that 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 he thought he’d get hurt, so Joe Cronin said, ‘That’s enough of that!’ So John didn’t come out to play with us anymore.

“But John was also not just a great hockey fan, but a great pal and a great friend. Needless to say, one of my best friends that I have come across during my stay here in Boston.”

As the city mourns Pesky’s passing, Schmidt recounted happy memories of his good friend.

“John, was down-to-earth and you’d never know that he was a great baseball player,” said Schmidt. “What a good great man he was to know!

“He had nothing but kind words to say about me.”

And now, Schmidt has nothing but kind words to say about Pesky and Boston’s boys of summer.

“He was a great man for the Red Sox,” said Schmidt. “And more power to the Sox for looking after him.”




1 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
2 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
3 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
4 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
5 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
6 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
7 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
8 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


P. Bergeron 80 32 36 12 68
L. Eriksson 82 30 33 13 63
D. Krejci 72 17 46 4 63
B. Marchand 77 37 24 21 61
R. Spooner 80 13 36 -9 49
T. Krug 81 4 40 9 44
M. Beleskey 80 15 22 6 37
Z. Chara 80 9 28 12 37
J. Hayes 75 13 16 -12 29
D. Pastrnak 51 15 11 3 26
T. Rask 31 22 8 .915 2.56
J. Gustavsson 11 9 1 .908 2.72
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