Pawtucket Red Sox

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In baseball, the Pawtucket Red Sox (known colloquially as the PawSox) are the AAA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and belong to the International League. They play their home games at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

History of the PawSox

The first team to be dubbed as the Pawtucket Red Sox debuted at McCoy Stadium in 1970 as a member of the Double-A Eastern League.

The team that is now the Pawtucket Red Sox was long ago the International League franchise Toronto Maple Leafs. After the American Association and its Louisville Colonels franchise folded in 1962 and the American League owners voted down Charlie O. Finley's agreement to move the Kansas City A's to Louisville in 1964, Louisville was ready for the return of baseball. In 1968 the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Red Sox' top minor league club since 1965, were bought by Walter J. Dilbeck and moved to Louisville where they became the new Louisville Colonels, the AAA franchise of the Boston Red Sox. While in Louisville, star players included Carlton Fisk (1971), Dwight Evans (1972) and Cecil Cooper (1972). The Louisville Colonels made the International League playoffs in 1969 and 1972. However, in 1972 the Kentucky State Fair Board, which operated the stadium where the Colonels played, decided to convert the facility to primary use for football.

Following the 1972 season the Louisville Colonels moved to Pawtucket and became the Pawtucket Red Sox. The team was an instant success on the field, led by future major leaguers Cecil Cooper and Dick Pole, winning the 1973 Governors' Cup Championship in their inaugural year in the league. The following season the team finished 30 games below .500 and in 1975, while the parent club was on their way to the World Series, the Pawtucket Red Sox finished with the worst record in their history at 53-87. Following another sub-.500 season in 1976 the franchise went bankrupt, unable to pay off $2 million worth of debt.

Although it appeared the Red Sox's brief flirtation with the Pawtucket area was about to come to an end, retired businessman Ben Mondor stepped in and made sure the team would remain entrenched in the city. What Mondor wanted, and got, was a new franchise; although to outsiders it would appear as if nothing had changed since the team name remained the same. So it was really in 1977 that the current Pawtucket Red Sox, and PawSox, were born. To his credit, Mondor has turned Pawtucket into a viable baseball market, where so many others had failed before. In his 25 years at the helm of the PawSox, Mondor has seen the average attendance for Pawtucket games go from barely 1,000 fans per game in 1977 to nearly 9,000 in 2000. Mondor has been part of the management that has overseen the transformation of McCoy Stadium from an aging 1942 relic into its currently renovated form. And while keeping the price of tickets at $6 and $9, parking has always been free. The PawSox usually lead the league in attendance, and in 2005 set a franchise record with 688,421 tickets sold during the year.

In addition to their success at the box office, the PawSox have excelled in the field. In 2000, Pawtucket set an all-time franchise record for victories with 82, as the team completed their 5th straight winning season. Pawtucket has fielded winning teams in 10 of the last 17 years, including the 1984 team that defeated the now-defunct Maine Guides 3-2 to win the 1984 Governors' Cup trophy for the second championship in Pawtucket Red Sox history.

As for the name PawSox, the origins are traced back to the first season in which Mondor owned the club. Three weeks before the 1977 season began the team lacked uniforms, despite having been rescued from bankruptcy. Former Boston GM Haywood Sullivan stepped in and sent Pawtucket 48 sets of old home and away uniforms from the parent club. Although the home uniforms were fine for the team to use, the road uniforms had "Boston" stitched across the chest, which was a problem. Then Pawtucket GM Mike Tamburro, who is currently the organization's President, suggested using the moniker "PawSox" across the front, with each unstitched "Boston" letter replaced with one that spelled "PawSox." Thus, the PawSox name was born out of the necessity of a uniform crisis, not a clever focus group-based marketing campaign.

As a man who made a career of buying and selling bankrupt business, Mondor has turned around the fortunes of Pawtucket baseball, instituting an affordable and friendly atmosphere, and giving Pawtucket a baseball tradition in line with what one would expect from an affiliate of the storied Boston Red Sox.

"The Longest Game"

The PawSox played the longest game in professional baseball history, a 33 inning game against the Rochester Red Wings at McCoy Stadium. The game started on April 18, 1981. Play was suspended at 4:07AM at the end of the 32nd inning. The game did not resume again until June 23 when the Red Wings returned to Pawtucket. Only one inning was needed, with the PawSox winning 3-2 in the bottom of the 33rd. Future Major League Baseball stars Cal Ripken Jr. and Wade Boggs played in the game.

Playoff History

The PawSox have won the Governors' Cup, the championship of the International League, twice, and have lost the series four other times.

  • 1973 Defeated Charleston
  • 1977 Lost to Charleston
  • 1978 Lost to Richmond
  • 1984 Defeated Maine
  • 1986 Lost in Semi-Finals
  • 1987 Lost in Semi-Finals
  • 1991 Lost to Columbus
  • 1992 Lost in Semi-Finals
  • 1994 Lost in Semi-Finals
  • 1996 Lost in Semi-Finals
  • 1997 Lost in Semi-Finals
  • 2003 Lost to Durham

Managerial History

Name Record Win Pct. Duration
Darrell Johnson 78-68 .534 1973
Joe Morgan 601-658 .477 1974-82
Tony Torchia 131-148 .470 1983-84
Rac Slider 48-91 .345 1985
Ed Nottle 302-338 .472 1986-90 (June 26)
Johnny Pesky 32-41 .438 1990 (June 27-Sept. 3)
Butch Hobson 79-64 .552 1991
Rico Petrocelli 71-72 .497 1992
Buddy Bailey 419-436 .490 1993-96,2002-04
Ken Macha 158-124 .560 1997-98
Gary Jones 218-211 .508 1999-2001
Ron Johnson 75-69 .521 2005
Totals 2212-2320 .488 1973-2005

Alumni

Some notable and locally well-known major league players who have worn the PawSox uniform, many while on injury rehab for the Boston Red Sox.

External links

Template:International League