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Pesky Benches Bosox Slugger Dick Stuart for “Lack of Hustle”

July 1, 1963 - Boston Red Sox manager Johnny Pesky benched slugger Dick Stuart (pictured) before tonight’s game with the New York Yankees for what Pesky called “lack of hustle.” Stuart was considered the goat in the second game of a doubleheader in New York Sunday, won by the Yanks, 11-4. Stuart let a routine grounder get through his legs for a three-run error, allowing the Yankees to go ahead for good. When he found out he wasn’t playing today, Dick went into Pesky’s office in the clubhouse and demanded to know why. “I’m doing this for everyone’s good, yours and the team’s,” Johnny answered. “Not because of the error but because you didn’t hustle. You’ll play tomorrow night in Cleveland.” Stuart answered: “If it’s for the good of the team, put me in there. I have six hits in this series, more than anyone else.” Pesky replied: “You aren’t starting today. I’m the manager of this team.” The Boston skipper described the exchange to newsmen in measured terms, saying he had had a 15-minute “discussion” with Stuart. “He claimed I was trying to show him up,” Pesky said, “but that is not true. I gave him my reasons, and I think they sank in. He wasn’t nearly as angry toward the end of the discussion. I’m not going to have any player tell me how to run my ballclub. Stuart’s a good boy and not difficult to handle. I hope it shakes him up a little. I’ve got to see more hustle out of him. Sure, he didn’t like being benched. But heck, I’m not running a popularity contest. I have to do what’s best for the club. Sometimes they are not popular with the players, but they have to be done.” The manager also engineered a truce between Stuart and Earl Wilson, loser of two games in which the first baseman’s fielding did damage. He made Wilson apologize to Stuart for showing his anger at Sunday’s three-base error.

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