Anchor Staff Writer
Pawtucket residents voted in favor of Question 4 on Election Day. This question approved a plan that would see the city’s beloved baseball field, McCoy Stadium, demolished in order to build a new high school. The proposal, which passed with almost 80% of the vote, includes a $330 million bond that is said to come with a 85% reimbursement from the state, according to Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien. Once constructed, students from both Shea and Tolman High School will attend the campus.
The stadium, which opened in 1942 and was named after former Pawtucket Mayor Thomas P. McCoy, saw use by several different teams throughout its history. This stadium has been vacant since 2019, when the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, the Pawtucket PawSox decided to relocate to Worcester and rebrand themselves as the WooSox.
It was a sad departure for a beloved team that saw the likes of players such as David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Dustin Pedoria take the field, only made worse by the final farewell season in 2020 being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents all across Rhode Island may also have fond memories of Fourth of July firework shows taking place at the stadium. This historic venue also held the record for the longest game in professional baseball history, when on April 18, 1981, the PawSox faced off against the Rochester Red Wings in a nail-biting 1-1 bout that lasted until 4:09 AM, good enough for 32 innings. The game was finally called after the umpires, who did not have an official curfew in writing, called the then International League President, Harold Cooper. Cooper smartly decided to suspend the game. The game only required one more inning the next day, which saw the Pawsox win via a walk-off hit with the bases loaded by Dave Koza. The 33 inning, record-setting game also saw two future baseball Hall of Famers participate in the game: Cal Ripkin, who played for the Red Wings, and the aforementioned Boggs, who played for the PawSox.
Pawtucket will soon have a new attraction from the world of sports. A soccer stadium is being built in the city for Rhode Island’s brand new USL team: Rhode Island FC.
The decision to demolish a beloved part of Pawtucket’s history is met with mixed feelings, but no one can deny the impact this project will have on students and the community.