The Boston Red Sox join those mourning the death of Dr. Arthur M. Pappas, the team's former medical director who died Tuesday with his family at his side. He was 84.
"We are saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Pappas, who for a quarter century was the man in whose capable hands the Red Sox placed the care of their players,'' said Red Sox President Sam Kennedy. "We salute his contributions to sports medicine, but also the impact he made far beyond the playing fields, with the care he provided children with severe orthopedic challenges, and the many philanthropic efforts undertaken by Dr. Pappas and his wife, Martha.''
Dr. Pappas served as the team's medical director from 1978-2002. His service to the ballclub was formally recognized by the current ownership group in 2003, with the naming of the Dr. Arthur M. Pappas Family Room in Fenway Park.
"His loyalty, care and concern for the organization, the team and their families inspired the Red Sox to dedicate the room in his honor," reads the plaque adorning the room.
"Dr. Pappas was an excellent guy," said Hall of Fame Leftfielder Carl Yastrzemski. "If it wasn't for him, I would never have achieved 3,000 hits and 400 home runs."
Former Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens, one of the hundreds of players regularly treated by Pappas, released a statement Wednesday.
"Sad to hear our friend Dr. Pappas has passed,'' Clemens wrote in a statement signed "The Clemens Family."
"I can see his smile and hear [his] laugh/giggle as I lay these words down. And you can't leave out the man with the best eyebrows in the land! We will miss you down here in Texas Doc!"
A native of Auburn in central Massachusetts, Dr. Pappas was the founding chair of the Department of Orthopedics & Physical Rehabilitation at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. At UMMS, he admitted and operated on the first patient in 1976 at what was then the newly constructed UMass Hospital.
He was president of the Association of Professional Baseball Physicians, a member of the Sports Medicine Committee for the American Academy of Pediatrics, president of the Massachusetts Amateur Sports Foundation, and sponsor of the Bay State Games.
In 2003, multiple donors honored Dr. Pappas by establishing the Arthur M. Pappas, MD, Chair in Orthopedics at UMass Medical School. Eight years later, in 2011, Dr. Pappas received an honorary degree from the school, the same year he was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Medical Society.
His devotion to children was reflected by his service on the board of trustees for the Massachusetts Hospital School for severely challenged children.
A former football player at Harvard, Dr. Pappas, along with his wife, blended their lifelong attachment to sports and children by making a generous donation to the construction of the Arthur M. and Martha R. Pappas Recreation Complex in their hometown of Auburn, a facility that includes Little League, softball and soccer fields, a playground, and a performance stage.
Funeral services are private. A memorial celebration is planned for the summer.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that those wishing to honor his memory consider a donation to The Auburn Foundation at the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, 370 Main Street, # 650, Worcester, MA, 01608 (greaterworcester.org), or to the Massachusetts Hospital School Foundation, 3 Randolph Street, Canton, MA, 02021 (mhsf.us).