Eddie Pellagrini, who played 11 years in the major leagues for the Red Sox, St. Louis Browns (now the Baltimore Orioles), Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates prior to his post at Boston College, was hired by long-time Boston College Director of Athletics Bill Flynn in 1957. Thirty-one years and a school-record 359 victories later, he retired after the 1988 season.
During his long and distinguished coaching career, Pellagrini led the Eagles to 17 winning seasons, seven postseason berths in the NCAA District I Playoffs, three District I championships, and three appearances in the College World Series - 1960, 1961 and 1967.
A Roxbury, Mass., native and graduate of Roxbury Memorial High School, Pellagrini, a utility infielder, began his professional career at the age of 18 after signing a contract with the Boston Red Sox. He rose through the Red Sox farm organization, reaching the club's Triple-A team just before the start of World War II. He spent five of his prime years in service of his country as a member of the United States Navy.
Pellagrini returned to baseball in 1946 and was called up to the parent team for the start of the season. In a memorable moment in Red Sox franchise history, "Pelly", the hometown hero, hit a home run in his first at-bat on Opening Day at Fenway Park on April 22, 1946. The Red Sox defeated the Washington Senators, 5-4. Pellagrini is one of only three players in Red Sox history to hit a home run in their first at-bat. Bill LeFebvre (June 10, 1968) and Bob Tillman (May 19, 1962) are the other two.
On May 3, 1997, Boston College paid its tributes to Pellagrini by naming the diamond at Commander Shea Field in his honor. He was inducted into the Boston College Varsity Club Athletics Hall of Fame in 1970.