BOSTON (AP) – Ruthie Pesky, wife of Boston Red Sox special assignment instructor Johnny Pesky for 60 years, died Friday after a long illness, the team announced. She was 82.

No further details were immediately announced by the team.

She had suffered a heart attack in February and spent two weeks in a hospital before returning home. Pesky, 85, missed the start of spring training to be with her and showed up in mid-March at the team’s training camp in Fort Myers, Fla.

“It gave me an empty feeling not to be there,” he had said about a week before arriving in Fort Myers. “But my wife and I, we’ve been married 60 years and we always had a great relationship.

“I know when I was sick she was here for me, so now she’s sick and I’m here for her.”

They met in 1944 at the Atlanta Naval Air Station where she was an aviation machinist’s mate and he was an assistant operations officer.

They were married on Jan. 10, 1945.

In previous training camps, Pesky hit grounders to infielders, talked with young players and provided encouragement.

He is in his 53rd season with the Red Sox – including the last 36 in a row – and has served as player, manager, coach, broadcaster and advertising salesman.

After his rookie season in 1942, Pesky spent three years in the service then resumed his baseball career in 1946.

He left the Red Sox early in the 1952 season for Detroit and ended his career in 1954 with Washington.

He returned to the Red Sox in 1969.


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