Obituary: Dick Flavin, Red Sox guru and Pilot sports columnist, dies at 86

Richard Patrick "Dick" Flavin, 86, of Quincy died Dec.28, 2022. Flavin was born on Dec. 7, 1936, in Boston and grew up in the Merrymount section of Quincy. He was the beloved son of the late James and Helen (Donovan) Flavin.

He graduated from Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree and Stonehill College in Easton.

After a brief stint at his family's real estate business, Flavin and Flavin Realty, a profession for which, by his own admission, he was ill-suited, he found his calling in politics. He became the press spokesman for the Massachusetts State Democratic Committee in 1963. He worked as a speechwriter for several Democratic politicians.

In 1970, Flavin left politics for political reporting. He became political editor and reporter for WNAC-TV in Boston before moving to WBZ-TV in 1973, where he spent 14 years as a political commentator and social satirist. It was during this time that he was named one of Boston's 10 outstanding young leaders by the Boston Junior Chamber of Commerce and was presented the Stonehill College Outstanding Alumnus Award.

In 1987, Flavin left television to devote all his time on the lecture circuit. His speaking career took him all over the United States. He raised untold sums for charities by volunteering his services as an emcee. He loved giving back to the community and was generous with his time. Among the charities closest to his heart were The Jimmy Fund, and The Genesis Foundation for Children (The John Havlicek Celebrity Fishing Tournament was a favorite annual event).

In 2001, Flavin took the road trip of a lifetime when he drove two Red Sox greats, Dom DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky from Massachusetts to Florida. He drove the dear friends to "say good-bye" to a gravely ill Ted Williams. A self-proclaimed Rhymer, Flavin rewrote "Casey at the Bat," turning it into "Teddy at the Bat." (He made sure to tweak the ending so Teddy didn't disappoint the fans, a la Casey.) When they arrived in Florida, as an offering, and in what he believed would be a one-time performance, Flavin recited the poem in front of the three baseball greats. It must have been a hit (pardon the pun), as word of the reconfigured poem made its way back to Boston. He was asked to reprise the recitation at Fenway Park during a Red Sox memorial for Williams. He went on to perform it all over the country, including at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, and with the Boston Pops Orchestra at Boston's Symphony Hall. David Halberstam, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, wrote a book about the adventure called "The Teammates." Later, ESPN produced a documentary based on the book. Narrated by Flavin, the documentary was nominated for a national Emmy award.

In proof that dreams really do come true, Dick Flavin was named Poet Laureate of the Boston Red Sox. In a career of many highlights, his most treasured position was that of being named the Voice of Fenway Park. He served as the day-game announcer at Fenway Park for five seasons, beginning in 2013. In 2015, he released a collection of his poems entitled "Red Sox Rhymes: Verses and Curses." The book, published by William Morrow, was a New York Times sports bestseller.

In 2009, he was diagnosed with throat cancer, a difficult blow for a man who made his living giving speeches. But like other obstacles he encountered in his lifetime, cancer was no match for his strong spirit -- for heaven's sake ... the man had lots more to say!

In the most recent seven years, he published a weekly blog "Musings by Dick Flavin." It featured "whatever thoughts he might have at any particular time about any particular subject" and is available at He was a weekly contributor to The Pilot, the oldest Catholic newspaper in the country.

Lest you think otherwise, he had hobbies that did not include the Red Sox. He was an avid jogger, sailor, and fisherman. He was a history buff, a voracious reader, a cinephile, and pretty darn good at a crossword puzzle.

Flavin was loved by all who knew him. His family most of all. He leaves behind two daughters: Leslie, her husband Rich and their two children, Bitsy and Duke McCarthy of Los Gatos, California, and Meredith Flavin, her husband, Alan Frank, and their daughter Helena of Carlsbad, California.

He was one of four children and leaves behind his little sister, Marilyn (Flavin) Colman. He was predeceased by his sister Marguerite Flavin and his brother Father James J. Flavin, OMI.


By Dick Flavin c. 2009

Here's the skinny on this Flavin guy,

The one who writes the posey.

He's Mrs. Flavin's youngest boy

She loved him head to toesy.

His commentaries on TV

Gave politicians hives.

The set designers way back then

Were Currier and Ives.

He skewered parties equally,

Republicans and Demmies.

And got away with so much

That he won seven Emmys.

He wrote a play on Tip O'Neill,

Revealing and quite funny.

It brought him fame and some acclaim

And everything but money.

He writes ditties on the Red Sox

Their victories and losses.

He'll even rhyme from time to time

To tweak the BoSox bosses.

He'll give a speech in your hometown.

He'll do the speaking tour.

Truth is, if it comes to that,

He'll go door to door.

He's fooled some folks some of the time

By doing all that stuff.

And that, he's very pleased to say,

Seems to be quite enough.

[Ed. -- Our sports columnist Dick Flavin died on Dec. 28 after a fall over the Christmas weekend at his Quincy home. His daughter Leslie penned this (edited) version of a column about her father. None of us here could equal her style or love for her father. Dick had submitted a few columns in advance, his last "Musings" will be in our Jan. 13, 2023, issue.]