Pawtucket Red Sox moving to new Worcester ballpark in 2021

McCoy Stadium will not be the home of the Pawsox after 2020. The Pawtucket Red Sox are moving to Worcester starting in 2021 to become the Worcester Red Sox.

The Pawtucket Red Sox, the Triple-A International League Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, have been in Rhode Island since 1970. One of the most iconic owners of the Pawsox was Ben Mondor who bought the team out of bankruptcy in 1977.

Mondor was a two- time winner of the International League Executive of the Year in 1978, and in 1999. He was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall Of Fame in 2004. Mondor was elected into the International League Hall Of Fame in 2008. Mondor died in October of 2010.

The team was bought in 2015 by Larry Lucchino. The former Boston Red Sox chairman wanted to move the team elsewhere. The new owners of the Pawsox tried Providence as a spot for a new stadium and tried desperately to stay in Rhode Island.

Last May, the Pawsox and the City of Pawtucket proposed an $83 million stadium near the Blackstone River. The plan was passed by the Rhode Island General Assembly and signed by Governor Gina Raimondo on June 29 of this year. However, that stadium plan would be rejected by the Pawsox ownership and on Friday the Pawsox announced they would be moving to Worcester, MA. They would now be called the WooSox and play at Polar Park by 2021.

“We are eager to build an innovative, family-friendly ballpark that reflects the love and appreciation of baseball and that unifies Central Massachusetts and the Blackstone Valley Corridor,” Lucchino said Friday, according to CBS Boston.

McCoy Stadium, however, has some history. It’s home of baseball’s longest game set back in 1981. The Pawsox were playing the Rochester Red Wings and the play was suspended after the 32nd inning at 4:07 a.m. The game did not resume play until June 23 when Dave Koza got a base hit with the bases loaded to give the Pawsox the win 3-2. Also, future Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Wade Boggs played in the game.

Other great moments in McCoy Stadium history include Tomo Ohka pitching a perfect game on June 1 of 2000. Also in 2003, Bronson Arroyo pitched a perfect game.

The Pawsox have had several Hall Of Famers play and coach at McCoy Stadium including Joe Morgan, Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk, Wade Boggs and many more. Pawtucket was always a nice place to be when a player from Boston was on a rehab assignment. I remember when David Ortiz was going to be rehabbing in Pawtucket the tickets sold out within minutes.

Former Public Address Announcer Jim Martin was always good doing games at McCoy Stadium. He used to do the Pawsox in the Summer and the Boston Bruins in the winter. Now, Martin just does the Boston Bruins games as the PA Announcer.

On a personal note, McCoy was always a great spot to catch a game. Having my grandfather work as the security guard for the clubhouse was pretty special. I’d always sit in section 7 right behind home plate and after the game sometimes have access to the clubhouse. I got to meet players like Nomar Garciaparra, Trot Nixon, Scott Hatterberg, and others. McCoy Stadium though was always the prime spot to catch a game. The tickets were cheap, the parking was free and you got to see prospects try to make it to Boston.

My favorite moment and greatest sporting event of all time was attending the 2004 Triple-A All-Star Game. It was a three-day event. Monday was the celebrity Home Run Derby between the Pesky’s and the Dimaggio’s. Celebrities appearing that night were Dominic DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr, Bill Lee, Jerry Remy, Don Orsillo, Rico Petrocelli and many others. Tuesday night was a WaterFire in Providence with autographs. Then on Wednesday night was the game that was broadcast on ESPN2.

McCoy Stadium, in my opinion, will always be home to the Pawtucket Red Sox. The memories there will live forever and from sitting behind home plate, to watching the players from Boston play when they are in rehab. The player who  drew the largest crowd had to be David Ortiz.

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Also, their firework shows are always great too. It really is a nice family oriented atmosphere but with it moving to Worcester and Lucchino in charge, get ready for a $9 beer and $40 dollars to park your car.  Unfortunately, all things must come to an end.

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