Former Red Sox medical director Pappas dies at 84

Former Red Sox medical director Dr. Arthur M. Pappas, who served as a physician for the club's players from 1978-2002, has passed away at age 84, the team announced Wednesday.

"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," Red Sox team president Sam Kennedy said in a release. "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."

Pappas, a native of Auburn, Mass., played football at Harvard before embarking on his career in medicine. He was the founding chair of the Department of Orthopedics & Physical Rehabilitation at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and he was the president of the Association of Professional Baseball Physicians, along with other national and state organizations.

"Dr. Pappas was an excellent guy," said Hall of Fame left fielder 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 also released a statement Wednesday signed by the Clemens family: "Sad to hear our friend Dr. Pappas has passed. 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!"

Pappas was honored by the Red Sox 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.

Along with his associations with orthopedic organizations and those working with severely orthopedically challenged children, Pappas and his wife helped establish the Arthur M. and Martha R. Pappas Recreation Complex in their hometown of Auburn.

The club announced that funeral services are private, and 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 or to the Massachusetts Hospital School Foundation.

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.