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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 - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


P. Bergeron 81 23 32 2 55
L. Eriksson 81 22 25 1 47
M. Lucic 81 18 26 13 44
C. Soderberg 82 13 31 10 44
B. Marchand 77 24 18 5 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
R. Smith 81 13 27 7 40
T. Krug 78 12 27 13 39
D. Krejci 47 7 24 7 31
C. Kelly 80 7 21 6 28
T. Rask 34 21 13 .922 2.30
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .918 2.33
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