Bill “Spaceman” Lee, famed left-handed pitcher who played with the Boston Red Sox for many years, and now 65, was on the mound yesterday pitching for the minor league San Rafael Pacifics. He not only won, he pitched a complete game: 94 pitches, with 69 strikes and a fastball clocked at 70 m.p.h.
Daniel Brown, a sports writer for the San Jose Mercury-News, reported that Lee came to the Bay Area immediately after a trip to Boston. There Lee attended the funeral of Johnny Pesky, who played second base when Lee was with the Sox. This was back in the days when baseball players actually stayed with a team for more than half a season, so they got to know each other, and we got to know them, and they and we were all loyal to the local team.
Anyway, back to Johnny Pesky’s funeral service. I’ll let Daniel Brown tell the story from here:
Lee said that when his cab from Fenway Park pulled up curbside for services, he noticed a New York Yankees fan in the car behind him.
“So I flipped him off,” Lee said.
Wait. At a funeral?
“Johnny would have wanted it that way,” Lee explained.
[Daniel Brown, “‘Spaceman’ touches down in Marin,” San Mateo County Times, p. 1,3.]
So you can add this to your funeral etiquette book: when in Boston attending a funeral of a Red Sox player, can you give the bird to someone wearing Yankees paraphernalia? Heck, yeah. Bill Lee said so.