SPORTS

Ruzanski enjoys 30 years of baseball

By ALEX SPONSELLER
Posted 8/23/23

Although Rhode Island native John Ruzanski retired from his full-time gig as a school administrator, he still has not hung up the cleats when it comes to his life’s passion: the Boston Red Sox.

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SPORTS

Ruzanski enjoys 30 years of baseball

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Although Rhode Island native John Ruzanski retired from his full-time gig as a school administrator, he still has not hung up the cleats when it comes to his life’s passion: the Boston Red Sox.

Ruzanski, 83, is originally from West Warwick and graduated from Providence College in 1960. From there, he became a teacher and principal in the Coventry school system and eventually went on to work in Connecticut.

He and his family have been avid Red Sox fans since the days of Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr, who was his favorite player growing up. As a child, he and his father would take the train into Boston for a handful games each season and he began following the team to Florida for spring training each March.

Thirty years ago while in Florida, he decided that he wanted to be more than just a fan of the Sox and find a way to be part of the team himself. Ruzanski would watch the various members of the Red Sox staff at work and joked that he was even jealous of the bat boy, who had the best seat in the house.

He applied for a position in security for spring training and was hired. Three decades later, he is still a mainstay in the Red Sox dugout when they play in Florida.

“When I was hired, it was like I died and went to heaven,” said Ruzanski.

Over the course of his career with the Red Sox, Ruzanski had the joy of meeting his idols from years past including and especially Johnny Pesky, who was a close friend until the time he passed away in 2012.

Other notable friendships that he built were with players such as David Ortiz, Dwight Evans, Derek Lowe and Nomar Garciaparra. He also became a friendly face to players from other organizations … even with the rival New York Yankees. Ruzanski got to know Derek Jeter over the years while more recently interacting with players like Aaron Judge. He spent 22 years working security for the Pawtucket Red Sox as well and enjoyed seeing young players climb the ladder from the minors to the majors.

Perhaps the most fun Ruzanski has had in his years of work was during the 2004 and 2005 seasons when the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years. Getting to know the players from those teams and take part in some of the celebrations were memories that he’ll never forget and felt like a reward after years of patience.

Growing up with many friends that were Yankees fans in Rhode Island, he would always tell them, “Wait ‘till next year.” Next year finally came and he got to watch it unfold in ways you can’t see on TV.

As Ruzanski approaches 84 years old, he felt the time was right to retire and enjoy more time with his family, which includes kids, grandkids and great grandkids. He is taking his Red Sox job in the spring on a year-to-year basis at this point but one thing is for sure … he will be devoted to the team every day for the rest of his life.

“I have been a diehard fan since the day I could walk, so I have been very fortunate,” said Ruzanski. “It really has been a dream job.”

Ruzanski, baseball, Red Sox

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