NEW YORK – Johnny Pesky, former Red Sox shortstop, last night became manager of the Boston Red Sox.
Pesky, who sold his home at 6 Wester av., Lynn, last week, was informed of his appointment last night by Tom Yawkey and the retiring manager, Mike Higgins.
Yawkey revealed that the seven-year two-term reign of Higgins as manager of the Red Sox has come to an end and that Higgins will move into the front office as “executive vice president in charge of baseball operations.”
Dick O’Connell, current executive vice president, will remain as “executive vice president in charge of business,” Yawkey said.
“The appointment,” said Pesky, “came like a bolt from the blue. I was in my hotel room figuring what I’d do at Seattle next year, when I got the call from Mr. Yawkey and Mr. Higgins.”
Pesky, 43, started managing in 1956. From 1956 through 1960, he managed in the farm system of the Detroit Tigers.
He started at Durham, N.C., won two pennants, at Lancaster, Pa., in 1958 and in Knoxville in the Sally League in 1959.
His last year with the Tigers was at Victoria in the Texas League in 1960.
The past two seasons, he managed the Red Sox’ Triple A farm team at Seattle. He finished third in 1961, fourth this year.
Pesky now lives in Revere, Mass.
What is the status of the Red Sox coaches, Billy Herman, Sal Magne, Rudy York and Len Okrie?
Said Yawkey, “It is up to Pesky.”
Said Pesky, “It will take a few days. I’ve just been notified of the job. I want to talk to Mr. Higgins.
For how long a term has Pesky been hired?
Said Yawkey, “I knew you’d ask that. I feel the public has a right to know who’s managing, but the terms of the contract are our business.”
Pesky succeeded shortstop Joe Cronin on the Red Sox in 1942.
“Including my time in the service, I was with the Red Sox 11 years,” said Pesky. “I was a player, in all, for 13.”
The outgoing manager, Higgins, became Red Sox manager succeeding Lou Boudreau in 1955 after finishing fourth two seasons and third two seasons. He was succeeded in the middle of the 1959 season by Billy Jurges but the following year, again in midseason, Higgins replaced Jurges.
The Red Sox finished seventh in 1960, sixth last year and in eighth this past season.