Continuing with our Paw Sox Relocation series, the proud franchise that is the Pawtucket Red Sox owns a deep history. The Paw Sox are currently faced with relocation to dreaded Worcester before. Not to mention, entering near bankruptcy. However, one man pulled the pride of Pawtucket out of the trash and into the future. That man is Ben Mondor.
The Year of Our Lord 1970 gave birth to the very first incarnation of the Pawtucket Red Sox. However, they were a Double-A team at the time. Pawtucket was beginning to seem like their home for the foreseeable future. In 1973, the Pawtucket Red Sox players packed their bags for Bristol, Connecticut to make room for a new team… The Pawtucket Red Sox! This time in Triple-A.
In light of the relocation, some exceptional players got the chance to play on the new Paw Sox. Including Carlton Fisk, Cecil Cooper, Dick Pole and Rick Burleson. The 1973 team made history by winning the Governor’s Cup in their first season. The first true taste of victory did not last long in Pawtucket. During the next three season, the Paw Sox finished below .500. Due to the lack of on-field success and lots of empty seats, the franchise went bankrupt. Relocation, again seemed imminent.
Tom Yawkey to the Red Sox is Ben Mondor is to the Paw Sox. Ben Mondor, a successful businessman, wanted to make sure baseball remained in Pawtucket. Mondor, an honorary degree holder from Providence College, was born in St-Ignace-du-Lac, Maskinongé, Quebec on March 26, 1925. The two time International League Executive of the year, took the Paw Sox from a team playing in a ball park that had not been updated since before World War 2 ended, and molded them into one of the most well-known and respected minor league franchises in all of baseball. Mondor saved McCoy Stadium and made it a landmark.
He did all this while never losing sight of the fans. Despite spending millions of dollars to renovate McCoy Stadium, tickets remained cheap at $6 and kept parking free. John Henry could learn a thing or two from Mondor. Prior to his death on October 2010, Mondor made a point of greeting fans as they were entering and leaving the ballpark. Today, Mr. Mondor continues this tradtion as a life-sized statue outside McCoy Stadium. His smiling face continues to welcome Paw Sox fans. Mondor saved the Paw Sox from moving away before. His widow, Madeleine Mondor inherited the team. Larry Lucchino pried the Paw Sox away from her and he and his ownership group want the Paw Sox out of their home in McCoy and possibly out of Rhode Island. I hope Ben Mondor’s ghost makes a visit to Larry.
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