The Boston Red Sox today unveiled a new statue dedicated to Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams at Fenway Park. The statue recognizes the remarkable bonds of camaraderie that these four Red Sox legends enjoyed for over half a century, first as teammates, and then as lifelong friends, the story of which was immortalized in David Halberstam’s memorable book The Teammates – Portrait of a Friendship. Created by sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez, the new statue, featuring the four men standing shoulder to shoulder holding baseball bats, is located immediately outside Gate B at Fenway Park, at the intersection of Van Ness and Ipswich Streets in Boston.
|TEAMMATES JOHNNY PESKY AND BOBBY DOERR AT TODAY'S UNVEILING|
“They were the greatest of players and the best of friends,” said Red Sox Principal Owner John W. Henry. “We felt that it would be fitting to dedicate a statue to the memory of not just their time on the hallowed field of Fenway Park but also to the steadfast loyalty and devotion they had for one another as well as their lifelong love for the game of baseball.”
Doerr, DiMaggio, Pesky and Williams were all teammates on the Red Sox of the 1940s and parts of the 30s and 50s. Doerr was the first to don a Red Sox uniform in 1937. Williams came aboard in 1939, DiMaggio in 1940 and Pesky in 1942. They were all All-Stars and are members of the Red Sox Hall of Fame. Doerr and Williams have also been enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Beyond their playing careers, all four men forged an uncommon friendship that lasted long after they retired as active players. They had all grown up on the West Coast – Doerr in Los Angeles, DiMaggio in San Francisco, Pesky in Portland, OR and Williams in San Diego – and that common background brought them closer to each other. They also all served in the military – Doerr in the Army, DiMaggio and Pesky in the Navy, and Williams in the Marines during World War II. Williams also answered the call of duty a second time during the Korean War.
“Their time in a Red Sox uniform was memorable but what is more touching and more telling is the friendship that these men had for over five decades,” said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. “For years, Red Sox fans have grown up hearing stories about these legendary players and we hope that for future generations, this statue will serve as a testament to the greatness of these men and the resoluteness of their friendship.”
Halberstam’s book poignantly depicts the last journey that DiMaggio and Pesky made, by road, to visit a dying Ted Williams in early October 2001. Bobby Doerr was tending to his beloved wife of 63 years, Monica, who had suffered her second stroke, and could not make the trip. Accompanying the two, and helping with the driving, was Dick Flavin, a friend of DiMaggio’s, who had grown up idolizing the four. With the journey in the background, Halberstam recites the story of these four remarkable men who had different yet common backgrounds, who had all followed the American Dream, who had all once felt seemingly indestructible and who were all now dealing with the vulnerabilities of growing old. The statue was inspired by this rich tale of baseball excellence and tender friendship, a story that has the ability to thrill and inspire while also providing moments of gentle reflection and profound contemplation.
“We hope that this new statue also gives parents a teachable moment for their children,” said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. “Bobby, Dom, Johnny and Ted were great baseball players but they were even greater human beings. It was important to them to excel on the baseball field but what we should also take away from their stories is their remarkable struggle to become successful, their dedicated service in the military and their steadfast devotion to each other and to their families.”
The figures of all four players on the statue are depicted as they appeared in 1946, together with similar uniform styles, caps and spikes. The scale of each of the four figures on the sculpture is 120% of their actual height. Ted, who was the tallest of the four in real life at 6 feet 3 inches, is the tallest figure at 7 feet 6 inches. Following the same scale, the figure of Bobby Doerr is approximately 7 feet 1 inch while the figures of Dom DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky are both about 7 feet tall. Each figure weighs about 500-600 pounds and is made of cast bronze. The pedestal weighs approximately 15 tons and is made of Deer Isle Gray solid granite from Deer Isle, ME. It is 3 feet tall, 10 feet wide and 5 feet deep.
The existing Ted Williams statue of him putting a cap on the head of a child who is a patient at the Jimmy Fund has been moved a few feet down Van Ness Street to accommodate both statues alongside each other. The Williams statue, which remains unchanged in other respects, was moved earlier this week to accommodate the larger ‘Teammates’ statue on a spot where its width would not block access for fans through Gate B.
The selection of June 9 as the date of dedication comes on the 54th anniversary of June 9, 1946, a date on which all four teammates contributed immensely in winning both games of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers with scores of 7-1 and 11-6. Ted Williams had a home run in each game and his blast in the second game, which measured at 502 feet, is still the longest home run ever hit at Fenway Park. DiMaggio had a home run and a triple in the second game along with a 2-run single in the first game. Pesky hit safely in both games and had 3 RBI, and while Doerr did not record a hit, he contributed with 8 putouts and 7 assists while playing in both games.
The creation and installation of the statue is being funded entirely by the Boston Red Sox as a gift to the City of Boston and the fans of Red Sox Nation.
“I am very happy that the Red Sox have chosen to commission this statue of me and my lifelong friends,” said Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr. “Ted, Dom and Johnny are very dear to me and I’m glad to have had them in my life for so many years.”
“Ted, Dom and Bobby have been my closest friends since my rookie year in 1942,” said Red Sox Hall of Famer Johnny Pesky. “I have had some great times with them and I am glad that thanks to the Red Sox our friendship will now be remembered forever in the form of this statue.”
Emily DiMaggio, wife of Dom DiMaggio
“I am so pleased and happy that the Red Sox have chosen to remember my husband and his lifelong friends in such an appropriate way,” said Emily DiMaggio, wife of Dom. “Throughout Dom’s life, he was incredibly close to Ted, Bobby and Johnny and I know that he would have been truly thrilled at this honor.”
Claudia Williams, daughter of Ted Williams
“This statue captures a moment that reflects true emotion and lifelong friendship,” said Claudia Williams, daughter of Ted Williams. “I am certain there is something special that lies within this statue…the same ‘magic’ found in the statue of dad putting his ball cap on a little boy. Thanks to the City of Boston and to the Red Sox for their efforts to make this possible. Thanks to the artist, Mr. Mendez, for capturing a spirit.”
Sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez
“When I first heard about this project and that it would be based upon the book Teammates I got excited,” said sculptor Antonio Tobias Mendez. “The sculpture is dedicated to the unique friendship of the four players, Williams, Doerr, Pesky and Dom DiMaggio. The kinship and long friendship of the four players was the inspiration for this work. I wanted to make sure the sculpture was monumental and so I thought of them as standing and interacting with one another. They are holding their bats as though they were taking batting practice.”