Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
Pawtucket Red Sox History
Baseball in Pawtucket
Professional Baseball began playing in Pawtucket in 1892, and there were a number of teams that played there in the 1890s-1915. McCoy Stadium was dedicated in 1946, when the Class B Pawtucket Slaters played for four years until the New England League disbanded. Professional Baseball returned 16 years later when the Cleveland Indians placed their AA affiliate in Pawtucket. However, that association only lasted 2 years and Pawtucket was once again without professional baseball. That all ended in 1970 as the Red Sox moved their AA affiliate from Pittsfield, Ma to Pawtucket.
Moving up to AAA
In 1972, the Kentucky State Fair Board announced that Fairground Stadium would be converted to football, necessitating a move for the Louisville Colonels, the then current AAA affiliate of the Red Sox. Owner Walter J. Dilbeck moved the team to Pawtucket, with the current AA team moving a few hours West to Bristol, Ct.
The team was immediately successful on the field, Winning the International League Championship (The Governor's Cup) in its first season in Pawtucket. They would go on to play the American Association Champion Tulsa Oilers in the Junior World Series, winning that as well. The following season started a fast downward spiral. The team, despite an International League MVP award for Jim Rice, finished 30 games under .500. The following season as the major league club went to the World Series, the club finished a pitiful 34 games under .500. 1976 was slightly better as Pawtucket climbed within 2 games of .500, but still finished 20 games out. However, there were bigger issues in play.
Debt-ridden owner Phil Anez threatened to move the team to New Jersey, but sold the franchise to Marvin Adelson, who lost the ballclub after threatening to move to Massachusetts. During the 1976 season, the team was briefly known as the Rhode Island Red Sox.
After the 1976, the Pawtucket Red Sox declared Bankruptcy, with debts of over $2 million. On January 28th, 1977, Local Businessman Ben Mondor purchased the club and immediately installed Mike Tamburro as General Manager of the Ballclub. A 2004 article from Mike Scandura (MinorLeagueNews.com) has Ben Mondor explaining what he saw when he first entered McCoy stadium:
“We came here on a cold, gray, wet day and all we had was a set of keys,” said Mondor. “I saw frozen chicken bones in a concession stand and I asked ‘What did I get myself into?’
“Our office during the first three years was the one the umpires (eventually) used. The storage room for baseballs was a shower stall. In order to turn on the electricity for the photocopier, we had to turn on the scoreboard because of the crazy way the place was wired.
“Some time in his life, every businessman knows he’s going to pull a boner, and I thought this was the one for me.”
Besides inheriting an aging facility, there was still the issue of the debt. Serendipity called, as 1977 was an expansion year for Minor League Baseball (as well as Major League Baseball), and Ben Mondor got rid of the debt by buying a "new" franchise. From the above article, Ben Mondor explains:
“Since 1977 was an expansion year in major league baseball, I was told the timing was right,” said Mondor. “Eventually, I wrote a check to take care of certain expenses to get a new franchise, because I wanted a new, clean franchise.
“A lot of people said they were going to sue me. Nobody did. But the biggest problem we encountered was that nobody wanted to do business with us because the reputation here was so bad. It was a new owner but it was still baseball out of McCoy.”
While this took care of the debt, the reputation was still in disrepair. All products were purchased with Cash. The International League insisted that a AAA team in the shadow of the Boston Red Sox would never succeed, and encouraged him to move.
"We started keeping a chart," recalled Mondor. "After three years, (we found) when Boston was playing the Yankees at home on television, that's when we drew the best."
The first year of the Mondor administation was a success on the field, as the team won their first International League Regular Season Championship, and again played for the Governor's Cup, losing to Charleston. However, attendance was only about 20% of the ~5000 seat capacity of McCoy stadium. 1977 did see the Boston Red Sox travel down to Pawtucket, as they lost to the International League All-Stars, 1-0.
The Pawsox (See Trivia Section) would again go to the Governor's Cup Final in 1978, losing to Richmond. The Pawsox would not have another winning season until 1985.
However, attention would turn to Pawtucket on the evening of June 23rd, 1981. The Major League teams were on strike... and the amazing story in Baseball was happening in Rhode Island. Of course, the story doesn't begin on that date. It starts 2 months earlier, on the day before Easter... and Easter Morning (April 18th and 19th). On that day, Pawtucket and Rochester (AAA farm team of the Baltimore Orioles) played until 4:07 am until play was finally suspended with the game tied at 2. They had finished 32 innings.
When the game resumed, it didn't last very long... with the Pawsox winning on a Dave Koza single. The world had just witnessed the ending of Baseball's Longest Game. (For extended information on the Longest Game, click on the link)
The 80's and 90's
The 80's were not kind to the Pawsox from an onfield performance standpoint, finishing over .500 only 3 times (1984, 1986-1987). Oddly, the 1985 season (the only season Rac Slider managed) turned out to be the worst season in the history of the Pawtucket Red Sox, as the team finished with a record of 48-91. The 1984 team did play for the Governor's Cup (despite coming in 4th in the IL Regular Season), defeating Maine for their second Governor's Cup.
The 90's started out poorly (62-84 in 1990 with a midseason Managerial change), but things turned around in 1991 as Butch Hobson led the team to their first Division Title since 1977, and another berth in the Governor's Cup Final, losing to the Columbus Clippers. The team would also win division titles in 1994 and 1996, and finished over .500 in 6 of the 10 years of the 90s.
Expansion and the Era of Increased Attendance
In 1998, the Pawtucket Red Sox started the process of expanding the then 56-year old McCoy stadium. Over the year, the team expanded the stadium to add new third baseline seats, a new concourse to the outfield, and seating in the outfield (with the LF Berm and Bleacher Seats in RF). The expansion nearly doubled the seating in McCoy. Since the expansion, the Pawtucket Red Sox have increased attendance in every season, with a team high set in 2005 with 678,874 attendees. Pawtucket has led the International League in Average attendance the past two years, and has averaged over 9,000 fans per game in 4 of the past 5 years.
After a couple of poor seasons in 2001 and 2002, The Pawsox came back to win the most games in a single season, going 83-61, and winning another Division Title. They would go on to play in the Governor's Cup final for the 6th time in their history, losing to Durham. The Pawsox followed that season up with 2 more winning seasons in 2004 and 2005.
In 2004, the Pawtucket hosted players from the International League and the Pacific Coast League in the 2004 AAA All-Star Game.
|1973||78||68||.534||2nd International League||-1||Darrell Johnson|
|1974||57||87||.396||4th International League||-31||Joe Morgan|
|1975||53||87||.379||8th International League||-32.5||Joe Morgan|
|1976||68||70||.493||5th International League||-20||Joe Morgan|
|1977||80||60||.571||1st International League||+2||Joe Morgan|
|1978||81||59||.579||2nd International League||-4||Joe Morgan|
|1979||66||74||.471||5th International League||-19.5||Joe Morgan|
|1980||62||77||.446||7th International League||-20.5||Joe Morgan|
|1981||67||73||.479||6th International League||-21.5||Joe Morgan|
|1982||67||71||.489||5th International League||-14.5||Joe Morgan|
|1983||56||83||.403||8th International League||-26.5||Tony Torchia|
|1984||75||65||.536||4th International League||-7.5||Tony Torchia|
|1985||48||91||.345||8th International League||-30.5||Rac Slider|
|1986||74||65||.532||3rd International League||-5.5||Ed Nottle|
|1987||73||67||.521||4th International League||-8||Ed Nottle|
|1988||63||79||.444||6th International League||-14.5||Ed Nottle|
|1989||62||84||.425||8th International League||-21.5||Ed Nottle|
|1990||62||84||.425||7th International League||-27.5|| Ed Nottle (through 6/26)
Johnny Pesky (from 6/27)
|1991||79||64||.552||1st International League||+3.5||Butch Hobson|
|1992||71||72||.497||2nd International League||-13.5||Rico Petrocelli|
|1993||60||82||.423||4th International League||-14.5||Buddy Bailey|
|1994||78||64||.549||1st International League||+7||Buddy Bailey|
|1995||70||71||.492||3rd International League||-2.5||Buddy Bailey|
|1996||78||64||.549||1st International League||+5.5||Buddy Bailey|
|1997||81||60||.574||2nd International League||-2||Ken Macha|
|1998||77||64||.546||3rd International League||-3||Ken Macha|
|1999||76||68||.528||2nd International League||-2||Gary Jones|
|2000||82||61||.573||3rd International League||-3||Gary Jones|
|2001||60||82||.423||5th International League||-31||Gary Jones|
|2002||60||84||.417||5th International League||-31||Buddy Bailey|
|2003||83||61||.576||1st International League||+4||Buddy Bailey|
|2004||73||71||.507||2nd International League||-10||Buddy Bailey|
|2005||75||69||.521||2nd International League||-7||Ron Johnson|
|2006||69||75||.479||5th International League||-16||Ron Johnson|
|1973||Beat Charleston||Governors' Cup championship|
|1977||3||1||Beat Richmond||1st round of playoffs||0||4||Lost to Charleston||Governors' Cup championship|
|1978||3||2||Beat Toledo||1st round of playoffs||3||4||Lost to Richmond||Governors' Cup championship|
|1984||3||1||Beat Columbus||1st round of playoffs||3||2||Beat Maine||Governors' Cup championship|
|1986||1||3||Lost to Rochester||1st round of playoffs||-||-||-||-|
|1987||1||3||Lost to Tidewater||1st round of playoffs||-||-||-||-|
|1991||0||3||Lost to Columbus||Governors' Cup championship||-||-||-||-|
|1992||1||3||Lost to Scranton||IL East championship||-||-||-||-|
|1994||1||3||Lost to Syracuse||IL East championship||-||-||-||-|
|1996||1||3||Lost to Rochester||IL East championship||-||-||-||-|
|1997||1||3||Lost to Rochester||IL East championship||-||-||-||-|
|2003||3||2||Beat Ottawa||1st round of playoffs||0||3||Lost to Durham||Governors' Cup championship|
International League Awards
Most Valuable Players
Most Valuable Pitchers
Rookies of the Year
Manager of the Year
- 1973 - Joe Morgan
- 1977 - Joe Morgan
- 1984 - Tony Torchia
- 1987 - Ed Nottle
- 1991 - Butch Hobson
- 1996 - Buddy Bailey
- 1998 - Ken Macha
- 2003 - Buddy Bailey
Executive of the Year
- 1978 - Ben Mondor
- 1984 - Mike Tamburro
- 1987 - Lou Schwechheimmer
- 1988 - Mike Tamburro
- 1992 - Lou Schwechheimmer
- 1999 - Ben Mondor
- 2001 - Mike Tamburro
- 2004 - Mike Tamburro
- 1990 - Tim Naehring, SS
- 1991 - Scott Cooper, 3B Phil Plantier, OF Daryl Irvine, RP
- 1993 - Aaron Sele, RHP
- 1996 - Rudy Pemberton, OF Phil Clark, OF
- 1997 - Arquimedez Pozo, 3B Brian Rose, RHP
- 1999 - Michael Coleman, OF
- 2001 - Izzy Alcantara, DH
- 2003 - Andy Abad, OF Lou Collier, OF Bronson Arroyo, SP
- 2004 - Kelly Shoppach, C Adam Hyzdu, OF Earl Snyder, 3B
- 2005 - Kelly Shoppach, C
- 2006 - Dustin Pedroia, SS/2B
- 2003 - Anton French, OF Lou Collier, OF Bronson Arroyo, P
- 2004 - Tim Kester, P Andy Dominique, C Earl Snyder, 3B Buddy Bailey, Mgr Mike Griffin, Coach Bill Coffey, Trainer
- 2005 - Abe Alvarez, P Chip Ambres, OF
- 2006 - Craig Breslow, RP
- 1973 - Juan Beniquez .298
- 1974 - Jim Rice .337
- 1977 - Wayne Harer .350
- 1979 - Garry Hancock .325
- 1981 - Wade Boggs .335
- 1974 - Jim Rice - 25
- 1976 - Jack Baker - 36
- 1979 - Sam Bowen - 28
- 1990 - Phil Plantier - 33
- 1991 - Rick Lancellotti - 21
- 1973 - Dick Pole [7 innings], Bill Kouns [7 innings]
- 1974 - Charlie Ross [7 innings]
- 1975 - Jim Burton
- 1987 - Steve Curry
- 1998 - Juan Pena
- 2000 - Tomo Ohka [Perfect Game], Paxton Crawford [7 innings]
- 2003 - Bronson Arroyo [Perfect Game]
Given the relative proximity to Boston, Pawtucket has seen its share of rehabbers. Manny Ramirez rehabbed in Pawtucket in 2002, Curt Schilling in 2005, and Wily Mo Pena spent 14 games rehabbing in Pawtucket, from June 30-July 17, 2006.
The Pawtucket Shuttle
The Red Sox have often used Pawtucket as a way to expand the 25-man roster. Players are called up to Boston as needed, and then sent back down to Pawtucket when the need for their services end. Jermaine Van Buren, Abe Alvarez, Craig Hansen and Manny Delcarmen have all been on the shuttle this season. Kevin Youkilis rode the shuttle in 2004 and 2005.
The stretch of highway between Pawtucket and Boston is often referred to as "The Lou Merloni Memorial Highway" in reference to Merloni's several trips back and forth from Pawtucket to Boston.
- While the Pawsox name seems natural, it was caused by lack of funds. In 1977, the team lacked uniforms as the season was about to open. Boston General Manager Haywood Sullivan sent Pawtucket 48 sets of old Uniforms (Home and Away) from the Parent Club. The Road Uniforms had ""Boston"" stiched across the Uniform Top. Mike Tamburro suggested the moniker PawSox, taking out the stitching of the Boston letters and replacing them with the letters for PawSox
- 9/2/2006 - Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon, and Alex Gonzalez all start in rehab appearances. First time in Pawsox history they had 3 rehab players in the same lineup.
- Pawtucket Red Sox web site
- Providence Journal Pawsox Page
- Pawtucket Times Sports
- Boston Red Sox prospects
- Minor League Baseball.com PawSox team site
- International League Website
|Modern Pawtucket Red Sox Teams|