In what would've been a joyful goodbye to the beloved Pawtucket Red Sox in 2020, it never happened. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic that canceled the 2020 MiLB season, PawSox fans were hopeful that maybe they would still get a chance to say goodbye. Unfortunately the team decided to stay on course and become the Worcester Red Sox starting the 2021 season. For the last two seasons, McCoy has remained tenant-less. Soon there will be no McCoy, just memories.
Back in November, the city of Pawtucket and the residents voted to have McCoy Stadium demolished and make room for what will be the site of a new high school. This is surely a punch in the gut and the final blow for PawSox fans who felt that they never got a proper goodbye. To be fair, those fans are absolutely right. No one anticipated, expected or even wanted a pandemic in 2020 that would cost so much. Fans never got to say their goodbyes to not only the stadium, but also their beloved baseball as well.
Pawtucket's Mayor Donald R. Grebien does want to give residents and fans one last chance to enjoy the stadium prior to the demolition of the ballpark. While the PawSox were in Pawtucket, every Fourth of July, there would be fireworks after the game and just a chance to soak in the atmosphere of a baseball game and a historic park. Fans will have their chance to enter the ballpark one last time. However would truly be fitting is if the Worcester Red Sox for one-day only reverted back to the Pawtucket Red Sox and play one final game at McCoy stadium to give the fans the true proper send off. It could be a day or even a weekend series, it would be the most fitting end to say goodbye to what has been a staple in Pawtucket since 1942.
Opening its doors for the first time on July 4th, 1942, McCoy Stadium has hosted many teams and events and does have historical ties. Originally named Pawtucket Stadium; In 1946 it was renamed after former Mayor Thomas P. McCoy who laid out the foundation of the stadium. Mayor McCoy passed in 1945.
The first minor league baseball team to call McCoy Stadium home were the Pawtucket Slaters, a class-B affiliate of the Boston Braves. The Slaters would play at McCoy for just four seasons before the team & the New England League folded operations after 1949. It would take 16 years for stadium to get another baseball team when the Pawtucket Indians came to town in 1966 as they were the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. However; the Indians only last two seasons before they moved to Waterbury, Connecticut and once again, McCoy had no baseball team.
In 1969; McCoy hosted the Pittsfield Red Sox twice, once in July & and a double-header in August. Both events came to the tune of over 10,000 fans in attendance. Prior to the 1970 season it was announced that the Pittsfield Red Sox would permanently move to McCoy Stadium, thus the 'PawSox" were born. For the first three years they were the Double-A Affiliate in the Eastern League for the Boston Red Sox until being promoted as the Triple-A affiliate of the parent club prior to the start of the 1973 season.
There were multiple threats of the team being relocated due to financial issues and the team was actually renamed as the Rhode Island Red Sox for a season. It wasn't until beloved owner Ben Mondor arrived and saved the franchise and turned not only the club but also the ballpark into a fan-friendly place to come to enjoy a baseball game. It resurrected the franchise and kept the fan base happy. Mr. Mondor owned the team from 1977 all the way until his passing on October 3rd, 2010. During the PawSox time; they brought home four International League Championships to McCoy in 1973, 1984, 2012 & 2014. McCoy is also the home of the longest baseball game in the history of professional baseball as a game between the Rochester Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox back in 1981. The game in total lasted 33-innings with the Paw Sox winning the game by a score of 3-2. Fun fact, the game was originally started on Saturday April 18th, and was finally concluded on Tuesday June 23rd. The game last a grand total of 8 hours and 25 minutes.
McCoy did host many Red Sox stars of the past and present. Whether they were climbing their way through the minors in hopes of getting to Boston or it was an MLB player on a rehab assignment, McCoy hosted some of the biggest stars in Red Sox history such as Pedro Martinez, Wade Boggs, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, Trot Nixon, Jason Varitek, Jon Lester, Jim Rice, Luis Tiant, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and many many others over the course of a 50-year span.
The final official baseball game that was played at McCoy Stadium was played on September 2nd, 2019 where the PawSox defeated the Redwings 5-4 in 10-innings. The 2020 season was scheduled to be final season of the PawSox but instead it was used as the alternate training site for Boston during the 2020 covid-shortened MLB Season with the minor league season being canceled.
The chances of the Worcester Red Sox moving back down to Pawtucket for a weekend to give the ballpark a proper send off is probably zero, but it would be the best ending for a historic venue and the team that created and lasted many memories to the community to see one last game be played at the ballpark. The city does have plans for a celebration of the ballpark to take place around the Fourth of July. Ironically enough the Worcester Red Sox would be starting a 6-game home series against the Syracuse Mets that would last the entire weekend heading into the MLB and minor league All-Star breaks.
Again, probably won't happen but it never hurts to dream and even pray that it does. Frankly, I feel the WooSox should consider it, never got the chance to say a proper goodbye to the stadium or the community Never too late to give the stadium the proper sendoff it deserves.