Schechter: Hugh Duffy’s 68 years in baseball

From SABR member Gabriel Schechter at The National Pastime Museum on June 12, 2014:

Until his death in 2012 at age 93, Johnny Pesky was a beloved figure at Fenway Park. He had seemingly been there forever, debuting as a shortstop with the Red Sox in 1942 and sticking around for decades after his playing career ended, serving as a manager and coach. His perpetual presence reassured young ballplayers coming up and endeared him to fans who had followed the team all their lives.

Pesky was not unique in that role on the Red Sox, however. A half-century earlier, another man was the enduring symbol of Boston baseball—Hugh Duffy, who died in 1954 after nearly seven decades devoted to the game he loved. His remarkable career spanned most of the significant events in the history of the sport.

For one thing, Duffy’s first Major League manager (in 1888) was Cap Anson, who had a lot to do with erecting the color barrier. In 1945 Duffy was one of the Red Sox officials—as a 77-year-old—present at the Fenway Park tryout of Jackie Robinson.

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Originally published: June 17, 2014. Last Updated: June 17, 2014.