The right field foul pole at Fenway Park, known as the Pesky Pole or Pesky’s Pole, stands just 302 feet from home plate (this number is disputed — the actual distance may be closer to 295 feet); batters lucky enough sometimes manage to wrap pitches right around this boundary marker for what might be considered by some a “cheap” home run. Former Red Sox southpaw Mel Parnell has often been credited with naming this feature after former shortstop and Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky in a radio broadcast; as told by Pesky himself, Parnell claimed Pesky won a game for the Boston nine with a shot that either landed just past or actually struck the pole.
Not known as a power hitter – Pesky hit just 17 home runs in his 10-year career, including only six at Fenway Park – legend has it that most of his hits that cleared the Fenway either fell just past or struck the pole. Research into the matter suggests that Pesky may have hit at least a few that landed within striking distance, but none that ever hit the pole. As for hitting a potential game-winner, the most likely candidate would be Opening Day in 1946, and it is quite possible that is what Parnell remembers (though he was not part of the team until 1947). Regardless, having been a Red Sox fixture for more than 60 years, Pesky is honored and flattered to have a piece of his favorite ball park named in his honor.
Though the moniker has long been familiar to rabid Red Sox fans, it was not until 27 September 2006, on Pesky’s 87th birthday, that the Red Sox organization officially dedicated the right field foul pole in his honor with a commemorative plaque placed at its base.