Dick Flavin had a remarkable life in and around baseball, and a remarkable life overall. Flavin passed away Wednesday at 86. His career included time as the Boston Red Sox public address announcer at Fenway Park, a role as the poet laureate of the team, and time as a speechwriter, news journalist, playwright, and more. His daughter Leslie Flavin McCarthy posted the news of his passing to Facebook Thursday:
Flavin’s life outside baseball included time as the press spokesman for the Massachusetts State Democratic Committee, time writing speeches for politicians including Ted Kennedy and Kevin White, almost two decades as a TV political reporter (where he won seven regional Emmys and was inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2011), and his writing of (and sometimes also performing in) the 2008 one-man play According To Tip, on Tip O’Neill. And in baseball, he spent significant time as the voice of Fenway Park over the last decade, and he worked many poems about the Red Sox into his various poetry readings. But one of the most memorable things he did came from a road trip with former Red Sox players Dom DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky to visit Ted Williams in 2001. Here’s more on that from one of the stations Flavin worked at, Boston CBS affiliate WBZ:
His greatest fame came when he drove to Florida with former Red Sox players Dom DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky to visit Ted Williams. Flavin rewrote “Casey at the Bat,” turning it into “Teddy at that Bat,” changing the poem’s plot. He recited the poem for the three former Red Sox players. Word of the poem got out, and Flavin was asked to recite it at Fenway Park when Williams died, eventually reciting the poem all over the country.
Here’s a 2007 video of Flavin performing that poem:
Flavin also narrated an ESPN documentary on The Teammates, which was based on the David Halberstam book of that name on DiMaggio, Pesky, Williams and Bobby Doerr. That was partly inspired by the DiMaggio/Pesky/Flavin road trip to visit Williams. And that just adds to the incredible overall impact Flavin had. Here are some of the many tweets paying tribute to him:
Dick Flavin was a fixture on Boston TV, a familiar face and voice at Fenway, and our own beloved poet laureate.
Our hearts are with the Flavin family. His words and warmth will always be part of the organization. pic.twitter.com/l1BFxpFil8
— Red Sox (@RedSox) December 28, 2022
It’s with a heavy heart that I pass on word that the great Dick Flavin—actor, playwright, TV personality, poet laureate of Red Sox and friend—has died. A big heart with a great zest for life. Loved the ballclub. pic.twitter.com/MPdHrthQgj
— Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes) December 28, 2022
Some people are irreplaceable in our society because they have created roles no one else could play as well. The late Dick Flavin was one of those people. We were all lucky to have him.
— Bob Ryan (@GlobeBobRyan) December 29, 2022
RIP Dick Flavin – a lovable fixture in Boston. Did outstanding work at WBZ-TV and the Red Sox. Always smiling, always happy. A good, good man. https://t.co/zdbgn9e6FH
— Dan Roche (@RochieWBZ) December 28, 2022
Our thoughts go out to all of Flavin’s family and friends.
[WBZ; photo from the Red Sox on Twitter]