A Salem Resident's Letter to Johnny Pesky
Salem resident penned letter when Red Sox broke the Curse.
Editor's' Note: Lorraine Allison submitted this fictional piece to the Red Sox when they broke the Curse. Red Sox President Larry Luchino responded to the letter. Allison submitted it to us to remember Johnny Pesky who died on Monday.
Honest kid, we didn’t mean to rain on your parade on Saturday. It’s just that The Sultan of Swat got so carried away with your great win, why he turned on the waterworks. And before we knew it, Ruth and myself, why we were all spoutin’ out tears of joy. Since heaven needs no hardwood, our tears dripped through the fuzzy cloud floors of my condo onto your day of glory. Consider it a baptism, kid. Especially now that the curse has been reversed.
Now, I know you may wonder why the Babe is here with us in our cherished part of baseball heaven. Well, the truth about Ruth has finally been revealed. He had this pact with the Devil. Honest, can you believe it? Each spring, the Chief would call him over here to Fenway Heaven and grill him.
“Okay, Ruth, spill it. What gonin’ on here? The Sox are my favorite team I know. I know. I’m not supposed to play favorites, but every once in a while I get a chance to bend the rules and give myself a favor.” He pulled his right hand into an enormous fist and pounded it onto the cover of his dog eared copy of The History of Baseball. “This situation his has been goin’ on too long.” Then He reached down into his briefcase, pulled out a battered navy blue felt cap with its red B, outlined in white and positioned it carefully over his Johnny Damon length brown hair, And boy, did He become serious. His lips were drawn in a long thin line and fearsome words spilled out, “It seems to Me that I see the devil’s hand in this deal. Come on, now, Ruth. What’s up?”
Since I’ve been here for only a couple of years, I didn’t know how much this curse thing had irritated the Chief. He doesn’t like to see His flock suffering. And He is really against superstition. One spring, Lefty O’Doul came over and tried to calm Him down by saying that “Superstition is good for a ballplayer. It has psychological effects. It keeps a player’s mind revolving around baseball.”
But the Chief said He had had enough of sorcery and spells playing with the minds of New Englanders and snapped, “Humbug, O’Doul. Batting practice for you. Six a.m. Sharp. You’re the batboy.”
Poor Lefty. He was just trying to relieve the tension with a reasonable explanation. He hasn’t come back to visit since then.
Well, this spring the Chief held an early training meeting and announced, “This year is going to be different. The Sox are going to win the pennant and the World Series. The Archangels are busy designing the tee shirts now.”
Honest, Johnny. I was speechless. Since I had spent twenty seasons with the Sox, and never beat the Yankees, I said, “How is this ever goin’ to happen, Chief?”
Then the Chief straightened himself up real tall and looked me straight in the eye, “Williams, the truth is I’ve been starving the Babe. He hasn’t had a hot dog in six months. Then, last Saturday, I brought over six dogs swimmin’ in mustard with chopped onions wrapped in toasted buns. Right in front of the Babe, I picked up one of the dogs and bit my teeth into it. I watched the Sultan of Swat smack his lips, as the mustard dripped from the bun onto the napkin surrounding it. Then, the Babe broke down. He cried out, “I’ll confess. I’ll tell it all. Just let me have a hot dog.”
“Chief, after I got traded to the Yankees, I signed a contract with the Devil. It was a special deal to keep my home run average safe and intact. No one would be able to match it. Then the Devil added a retribution clause which allowed the Yankees to consistently defeat the Sox, so they couldn’t win a World Series. Of course, Johnny, the Babe was supposed to keep his mouth shut for eternity.
But the Chief was not satisfied. Before He would even let the Babe sniff the mustard on one those dogs, He demanded the truth about all the Sox near misses. Johnny, do you remember how you and Bill Buckner have been the scapegoats for all these years? Well, here’s the real deal. In the “46 game, the fingers of an invisible hand pinched your crazy bone, so your arm didn’t have enough strength to fire the ball to the plate in time. In ’76, an evil force held the ball in your hand, so that you couldn’t release it. Then, in ’86, the Devil himself created a supernatural breeze that caused the game turning error.
Tell this story to the Little Professor, Dom Dimaggio. Right now, the Babe is waitin’ to give me some hitting tips. “Makin’good contact with a round bat and a round ball even though you know what’s coming … is the hardest thing to do in baseball.”
Best Wishes, The Splendid Splinter
Submitted by Lorraine Allison