BOSTON, MA – The Boston Red Sox mourn the loss of Eddie Kasko, who passed away today at the age of 88, just three days shy of his 89th birthday. He spent 29 seasons in the Red Sox organization as a player (1966), minor league manager (1967-69), major league manager (1970-73), scout (1974-77), and executive (1978-94), and was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2010. A former infielder, his 10-year major league playing career included an All-Star selection with the Cincinnati Reds in 1961.
Born in Elizabeth, NJ, on June 27, 1931, Kasko attended Linden High School. After graduating in 1949, he signed a minor league contract with the New York Giants at only 17 years old. Before making his major league debut in 1957, he served two years during the Korean War from February 1952 to February 1954 with the United States Army Combat Engineers.
Kasko appeared in 1,077 major league games from 1957-66 with the Saint Louis Cardinals (1957-58), Reds (1959-63), Houston Colt .45s/Astros (1964-65), and Red Sox (1966). A right-handed hitter, he batted .264 (935-for-3,546) with 22 home runs and 261 RBI. Kasko made 483 starts at shortstop, 361 at third base, and 47 at second base.
In 1961, Kasko played shortstop in the All-Star Game held at Fenway Park, entering in the fourth inning and going 1-for-1 with a sixth-inning single. Later that season, he led the Reds with seven hits in the World Series, as Cincinnati lost to the New York Yankees in five games. For the 1965 season, he served as the first team captain in the Houston franchise’s history.
Acquired by the Red Sox in April 1966, Kasko finished his playing career with Boston that season, appearing in 58 games with the club. He remained in the organization to manage its Triple-A affiliate from 1967-69. On October 2, 1969, he was named manager of the major league club at only 38 years old.
Kasko led the Red Sox to a winning record in each of his four seasons with the club: 87-75 in 1970, 85-77 in 1971, 85-70 in 1972, and 89-73 in 1973, though he did not manage the final game of the 1973 season. He ranks ninth in franchise history in games managed (640); his .539 winning percentage (345-295) is tied with Joe Cronin for the fifth-highest among those who have managed at least 500 games with the Red Sox, behind only Don Zimmer (.575), Terry Francona (.574), Jimmy Collins (.548), and Jimy Williams (.540).
Following his managing career, Kasko spent 21 years in the Red Sox’ front office as a scout (1974-77), Director of Scouting (1978-92), and Vice President of Baseball Development (1992-94). He played a pivotal role in signing some of the organization’s top draft picks, including Roger Clemens in 1983, and Mo Vaughn and Jeff Bagwell in 1989. In addition, Kasko helped scout the Red Sox’ opponents in the 1967, 1975, and 1986 World Series.
Elected to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2010, Kasko was married to his wife, Catherine, for 57 years before she passed away in December 2015. They had two sons, Michael and James.