Last night, the 24th annual Oldtime Baseball game took place at St. Peter’s Field in Cambridge. For those who don’t know, the game is a charity event that was started in 1994. Every year, the game benefits a different charity, with this year’s beneficiaries being ALS Therapy Development Institute and the John Martin fund. Other charities from previous years have included Boston vs. Bullies, Pete Frats #3 Fund and the Jimmy Fund.
John Martin has been a videographer at NESN for 19 years and recently announced that he has been diagnosed with ALS. During his time with NESN, he was able to share in many of Boston’s most historic sports memories including Game 4 of the 2004 World Series and Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. Along with his job at NESN, John was involved in Boston’s South End Little League for 30 years.
The game itself features players from all over the New England area, with a majority of collegiate baseball players. The Cape Cod League, Futures League of New England and Yawkey League are all represented in this game.
Along with college leagues, former Major league players have also participated in the game. Lou Merloni and Pedro Martinez headlined the event, as Pedro was named one of the starting pitchers. For the first time in 8 years, Martinez took the hill in a live action baseball game. Although he was not throwing his regular high 90’s fastball, fans packed the park to watch one of the game’s all-time greats pitch one last time.
The players wear replica throwback jerseys of teams from the MLB, Negro league and even some minor league teams. However, there are some pieces of actual history represented on the field. WTP’s own Joe Skoczylas, who has played in the game the past two years, wears Ted Williams’ own game used pants. According to Joe’s dad, they are kept in a shadow box until game day, when he breaks them out once a year for the special event. With the pants, Joe was also able to sport the red number 9 on his old time Red Sox jersey.
The event drew over 5,000 fans, including some former Red Sox players. Keith Foulke, the closer who recorded the final out of the 2004 World Series was in attendance to see some of the cities best college talent. I had the pleasure to talk to Keith for a few innings, who loved the event. Not only was he excited and willing to talk to fans, but he also spent time working in the bullpen with some of the collegiate pitchers. Keith was one of many familiar Boston faces walking around the crowd Thursday night.
Boston journalist Steve Buckley plays a huge role in organizing this event. Other journalists such as Tom Caron and Dan Shaughnessy were also there helping to raise funds for the game. With the help of these familiar Boston faces, the 2017 game was the most attended game since it’s beginning in 1994.