McCoy Stadium

From BR Bullpen

McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, RI, was the home of Pawtucket affiliated baseball from 1946 through 2019. After that, the Pawtucket Red Sox of the International League moved to a new stadium in Worcester, MA, as the Worcester Red Sox.

McCoy was also the BoSox 2020 Coronavirus pandemic alternate training site.

Built in 1942 as a WPA project, it hosted only BoSox teams after 1970 - Double-A through 1972, then Triple-A. The home of the PawSox for their entire existence and originally seating around 7,000, it is named for Pawtucket Mayor Thomas P. McCoy. It underwent extensive renovations in 1998 and 1999.

McCoy's first affiliated team - although not Pawtucket's first professional club - came in 1946, in the form of the New England League's Pawtucket Slaters. After their 1949 departure, pro ball would not return until the Pawtucket Indians of the Eastern League played there in 1966 and 1967. The EL returned in 1970, when that circuit's Pittsfield Red Sox moved to Pawtucket. After three seasons, McCoy graduated to Triple-A when the International League's Louisville Colonels moved there and took over the PawSox brand, bumping the Double-A club to Bristol, CT.

In 2015, a group of investors that included Boston Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino purchased the PawSox from the widow of long-time owner Ben Mondor. The group announced that, instead of undertaking a costly new round of renovations to McCoy Stadium, they would seek to build a new ballpark in nearby Providence, RI, by 2017. However, that plan fell through, as did their subsequent effort to build a new stadium in Pawtucket - dooming minor-league baseball in both the city and the state. As the Pawtucket plan was failing, the city of Worcester mounted a citizen postcard campaign, a stadium deal was put together, and the PawSox opened 2021 there. To make things worse for the loyal fan base, the planned final season in Pawtucket was cancelled by the pandemic.

McCoy Stadium.JPG

As an older ballpark, McCoy Stadium had an unusual orientation that made for some spectacular sunsets during night games - but also making it hard for the first baseman, who would be staring right into the setting sun. Official Baseball Rules say it is "desirable" that the line from the plate to second base run East-Northeast, but many ballparks don't follow that. Often, architects and their clients decide that the crowd's view beyond the outfield is more important.

McCoy's future may be demolition, but its past is historic. The land is now under consideration to be the site of a proposed unification of Pawtucket's two public high schools.

What, aside from its longevity, is historic about its past?

The Longest Game in Professional Baseball History[edit]

The April 18, 1981, game between the PawSox and the Rochester Red Wings - delayed at its start by light trouble - was a frigid 1-1 after nine innings. An IL rule that should have stopped it in the midnight hour went unheeded because the umpires did not have the curfew in writing. The teams traded single runs in the 21st. Finally, IL President Harold Cooper - reached in bed by telephone - ordered it suspended after "this" inning; the 32nd ended at 4:09 a.m. The June 23rd finish took but 18 minutes: Rochester mustered only a Cal Ripken single, the PawSox loaded the bases with none out, and Dave Koza's clean hit ended it. Time: 8:25; innings: 33 - both pro records.

McCoy's closing event was a 33-hour salute to the longest game, in which two future Hall of Famers played - Ripken and Wade Boggs.

Ironically, in 2019, McCoy hosted the first IL game to go extras under the invented-runner rule, which places a runner on second base when starting extra innings.

Related Sites[edit]