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Sentimentally Remembered Red Sox Fave

Posted by Jim Botticelli  November 3, 2013 06:43 PM

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AutographedJimmyPiersallfeedsHisSonFranSturgis.jpg
James Anthony Piersall, better known as Jimmy feeds his own baby.
Photo from the personal collection of Fran Sturgis

"I didn't mind if they yelled at me, but when they came on the field it was a different story." ... Jimmy Piersall

Fear may have struck  #37 in Center, but it takes a tough man to raise a tender child and Jimmy Piersall was doing just that in this DOB exclusive submitted to us by Fran Sturgis from his personal collection obtained from his Dad to whom this photo was autographed by the man himself, a long time favorite of many a DOB type despite or perhaps because of the struggles he faced. Old timers will never forget his "nervous breakdown" that landed him for a stint at Westboro State Hospital where this writer's own mother, a volunteer there at the time, kept an eye on him and reported on him to a concerned family
Jimmy Piersall.jpg
Photo courtesy of BaseballHistorian.com

"Probably the best thing that happened to me was going nuts. Nobody knew who I was until that happened." ... Jimmy Piersall

Clocking in at six feet, 175 lbs., Piersall was a lean mean fighting machine whose glory was only interrupted by his disability. We turn to ESPN Classic for the full glass of juice.
"He won't be voted in to the Hall of Fame as a player, but if Cooperstown ever adds a wing for baseball's most colorful personalities, Jimmy Piersall would be a first-ballot inductee.

From his battles against fans, umpires and scoreboards to his backward trot around the bases on his 100th career homer, perhaps no player in the 1950s and '60s brought as much zaniness to the sport as Piersall. But Piersall often couldn't control himself on and off the field, and this almost led to an early exit from baseball as he was committed to a mental hospital in 1952. His comeback inspired his popular autobiography, "Fear Strikes Out," which later became a movie starring Anthony Perkins. Later diagnosed with manic depression, Piersall takes lithium for the illness. What shouldn't be overlooked is Piersall's ability. In his 17-year career, he hit .272 and 104 homers with five teams. But the two-time All-Star was even better defensively, winning two Gold Gloves as a centerfielder and his .990 lifetime fielding percentage ranks among the highest all-time."

DOB will never forget that Jimmy Piersall got signed first to the Sox in 1948 as an amateur free agent, and hit the field as a pro on September 7, 1950.

0531_oag_piersall.jpg Photo by Peter J. Carroll for Associated Press via OnlyAGame.WBUR.org

"I'm the gooney bird that walked to the bank. I'm doing better than most of those guys who said I was crazy." ... Jimmy Piersall

Go Sox!

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About the author

Jim Botticelli, a 1976 Northeastern University graduate, is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. In college, he drove a cab and learned the city's cow paths. An avid collector of More »

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