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About this Property
We’ve been to many games at the stadium with family, friends, as business outings, and as scout outings. Its hard to imagine anyone in Rhode Island who has not attended at least one game in its 50+ year history as the home to the Pawtucket Red Sox, whether they be a baseball lover or just someone who occasionally enjoys a game.
We can’t say much more than what has already been said, so here are some links to people who have said it better:
- An interesting dive into the history of a colorful major, Mayor Thomas P McCoy (the “Price of Providence”) and the Building of McCoy Stadium (“McCoy’s Folly”), by Dan Barry, hosted at Small State Big History
- The Worcester Red Sox and the Problem of History, by Matt Ellis, hosted at The Hardball Times
- Abandoned From Above: McCoy Stadium, by Jason Allard. Video available on YouTube (see below)
The stadium has been without a team since 2019. The last season for the Pawtucket Red Sox was supposed to be 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic cut it short. The stadium has hosted a few concerts and events since the Paw Sox left, but few and far between. The infield grass, which requires much care and upkeep, has largely gone to seed or burned away from the dry summer. The adjacent soccer field and track get more use than this baseball diamond.
Update August 2023
There are efforts to save the stadium, though the effort seems like a long-shot. A billionaire investor is interested in the stadium, though again, the long-term feasibility of this is unclear.
- A search on Change.org brings up three or more different petitions about the issue
- Save McCoy Stadium Facebook group
- An article about the recent moves of an individual billionaire to save the stadium
Mayor Thomas P. McCoy, a five-term mayor, steered the City of Pawtucket away from financial collapse during the Great Depression by positioning Pawtucket to be one of the first cities to benefit from the federal recovery programs. McCoy used those programs to employ residents building a new filtration and water plant, the monumental City Hall (1935), the new Pawtucket West High School (1938) and the Pawtucket Municipal Stadium (1938-1940).1
In some ways, Mr. McCoy was Pawtucket’s Vincent “Buddy” Cianci 30 years early. The report goes on to say “the ‘Prince of Pawtucket’ never succeeded in being elected to state wide office. […] Tom McCoy fits the stereotyped image of the urban, working-class boss using power politics and machine rule with consummate skill. While charged of corruption, most particularly of election fraud and misuse of public funds, were again and again leveled against his administration, and numerous indictments were handed down against members of the McCoy machine, the obvious physical improvement of the city accomplished during McCoy’s reign must be weighed against them.”2
The stadium was to be built on a swampy piece of land known as Hammond’s Pond. Local engineers Mark Linenthal and Thomas E. Harding planned the structure.3 On November 3, 1940, Mayor McCoy laid the foundation cornerstone for what was then known as Pawtucket Stadium. Construction was completed in 1942, and in 1946 the stadium was officially named in honor of Mayor McCoy, who had died the previous August. McCoy Stadium first began hosting affiliated Minor League Baseball in 1946. The Pawtucket Slaters, a Class B affiliate of the Boston Braves, was the first team to call McCoy Stadium home. The Pawtucket Slaters would play for four seasons in the New England League, as Braves affiliates. 4
Professional baseball ceased at McCoy for sixteen years until the Pawtucket Indians of the Eastern League played there in 1966 and 1967. The Eastern League 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.5
The Longest Game
Taken directly as a quote from BaseballReference.com:
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 (International League) 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.6
In the News
Pawtucket approves plan to demolish McCoy for construction of new unified high school
by Zack Deluca
Valley Breeze | November 16, 2022 (abridged)
By a healthy margin, Pawtucket voters last week supported funding to develop a new high school on the site of McCoy Stadium.
The stadium has been vacant since the baseball team’s move to Worcester in 2019, and questions around what would become of the stadium have circulated since. Some residents bemoaned the loss of the historic stadium, home to the longest professional baseball game in history, but it appears a majority of voters are looking to the future after ballot question four was approved with 10,377 votes, or 79.1 percent, to 20.9 percent, or 2,736 votes, to reject.
The state-of-the-art high school envisioned for the property, unifying the west and east sides of the city by combining both Shea and Tolman, is now projected to become a reality, and McCoy will be knocked down to make way for the roughly 482,000-square-foot high school campus.
With their votes, residents approved $330 million in bonds for the construction, with more than four-fifths of that total set to be reimbursed by the state to the city. Ahead of the election, advocates for the bond said it was an unprecedented opportunity to build a new state-of-the-art high school with only limited dollars coming from local taxpayers.
Facilities Committee Chairperson Jay Charbonneau […] said nothing will happen until the city issues the bond. The district needs the funds to commence its stage one application to the Rhode Island Department of Education, and he noted that applications can only be submitted in February or September.
It will take several years before the new high school is up and operating. […]
Captured 20 February, 2023 from https://www.valleybreeze.com/archives/pawtucket-approves-plan-to-demolish-mccoy-for-construction-of-new-unified-high-school/article_34f03a8e-63bf-11ed-86d7-6fce82abadb6.html
“Statewide Historical Preservation Report P-P-A-2: Pawtucket, Rhode Island.” Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission and authors, October 30 1978, page 35. ↩
“Statewide Historical Preservation Report P-P-A-2: Pawtucket, Rhode Island.” Page 49 ↩
“McCoy Stadium.” Contributors and editors, Wikipedia. Captured 20 February, 2023 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCoy_Stadium ↩
“McCoy Stadium.” Baseball Reference. Captured 20 February, 2023 from https://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/McCoy_Stadium ↩