The long standing McCoy Stadium is circling the bases one last time. After multiple rain delays in July, the stadium will have one more at-bat with its last ever event “McCoy’s Final Inning” on Sunday, September 3, before its demolition.
McCoy Stadium has had an odd past that goes back over 70 years. The stadium opened on July 4, 1942. Exhibition games and a few teams like the Pawtucket Slaters and the Pawtucket Indians called the stadium home but both teams left within five years. In 1970, the Pittsfield Red Sox moved to Pawtucket to be closer to Boston (now they’re closer still) and the PawSox were born.
The biggest claim to fame that the stadium holds is that it was the site of the longest professional baseball game in history. On April 18, 1981 (the day before Easter) the PawSox hosted the Rochester Red Wings for a record 8 hour, 25 minute, 33-inning marathon. The PawSox tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth and it took another 12 innings of baseball for either team to score a run. In the 21st inning, around approximately 1 am, both teams scored a run. Red Sox legend Wade Boggs, who drove in that tying run, said: “I didn’t know if the guys on the team wanted to hug me or slug me.” The game went on through the night until the end of the 32nd inning. With players delirious from exhaustion, at 4:07 am, the president of the league decided to have the teams finish the game at a later date. On June 23, play resumed. Because people knew it was history, almost 6,000 people came to watch the 33rd inning. PawSox first baseman Dave Koza hit a single to drive in the winning run. The 33rd inning took 18 minutes… a bit faster pace of play from the 8 hours and 7 minutes prior.
By 2015, McCoy was certainly showing its age. The Red Sox wanted to build a new stadium in Pawtucket to replace McCoy rather than try and renovate. Due to the inability to strike a deal with the city of Pawtucket on building that new stadium, Fenway Sports Group (ownership of the Boston Red Sox) reached a deal to move the PawSox to Worcester in 2021. Without a team to play at the stadium, the city started hosting events such as pro wrestling and concerts. But with the exciting promise of the Tidewater Project, there was no need for McCoy anymore.
On a personal note, I loved going to McCoy Stadium. My first game there I caught a foul ball hit by Brian Daubach, who ended up becoming one of my favorite Red Sox players growing up. I remember going with my dad and my brother to watch games there. It felt like home to walk up the third base side steps and lean on the rail and watch. I’m sure many of you have good memories of McCoy as well. Maybe you remember watching one of the many Red Sox legends that passed through there either progressing through the franchise or on a rehab assignment. Make your way to McCoy Stadium on September 3 to give it a proper sendoff.