The Obit For Eddie Pellagrini

Long-time Baseball Coach Eddie Pellagrini Dies At Age 88

Pellagrini served as BC's head coach from 1957 through 1988

Oct. 12, 2006

Eddie Pellagrini, who coached baseball at Boston College for more than 30 years, died yesterday at the age of 88.

Pellagrini, who played 11 years in the major leagues for the Red Sox, St. Louis Browns (now the Baltimore Orioles), Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates prior to his post at Boston College, was hired by long-time Director of Athletics Bill Flynn in 1957. Thirty-one years and a school-record 359 victories later, he retired after the 1988 season.

During his long and distinguished coaching career, Pellagrini led the Eagles to 17 winning seasons, seven postseason berths in the NCAA District I Playoffs, three District I championships, and three appearances in the College World Series - 1960, 1961 and 1967.

"Eddie Pellagrini played a significant role in the history of the Boston College Athletics program," Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo said. "Our entire Athletics family extends its deepest sympathies to Coach Pellagrini's family and friends."

A Roxbury, Mass., native and graduate of Roxbury Memorial High School, Pellagrini, a utility infielder, began his professional career at the age of 18 after signing a contract with the Boston Red Sox. He rose through the Red Sox farm organization, reaching the club's Triple-A team just before the start of World War II. He spent five of his prime years in service of his country as a member of the United States Navy.

Pellagrini returned to baseball in 1946 and was called up to the parent team for the start of the season. In a memorable moment in Red Sox franchise history, "Pelly", the hometown hero, hit a home run in his first at-bat on Opening Day at Fenway Park on April 22, 1946. The Red Sox defeated the Washington Senators, 5-4. Pellagrini is one of only three players in Red Sox history to hit a home run in their first at-bat. Bill LeFebvre (June 10, 1968) and Bob Tillman (May 19, 1962) are the other two.

Pellagrini was inducted into the America Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1994 and remains the only BC representative in the ABCA Hall of Fame.

On May 3, 1997, Boston College paid its tributes to Pellagrini by naming the diamond at Commander Shea Field in his honor with a plaque that reads:

"A teacher, Coach, Folklorist and Friend To Anyone Who Shared His Undying Love For the Sport of Baseball, Eddie Pellagrini Is A `Major Leaguer' In Every Sense of the Term."

This past April, Pellagrini joined other surviving members of the Red Sox' 1946 World Series team for a special Opening Day tribute to the legendary squad held at Fenway Park.

Pellagrini, the husband of the late Helen Pellagrini, is survived by three children and two grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Francis Xavier Church in Weymouth on Friday at 11 a.m. Pellagrini lived in Weymouth for many years and ran a successful real estate business there. There are no visiting hours. Burial will be in the Massachusetts National Cemetary in Bourne.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Boston College Diamond Club, in care of the Boston College Athletics Association.