Pawtucket Red Sox owner Ben Mondor died last night. He was 85. His cause of death is unknown as of this writing.
The Canadian born Mondor rescued the Red Sox Triple-AAA affiliate from bankruptcy when he bought the team in 1977. Instead of moving the team, Mondor refurbished McCoy Stadium while keeping ticket prices low. In 2010, the most expensive ticket to see a PawSox game cost $11. For good measure, most of the parking is free. When I say Mondor turned around the Pawtucket Red Sox I mean he really turned it around. If there was a beloved baseball owner, Mondor was surely it.
I had the opportunity to visit McCoy Stadium twice (once in 2001 and once in 2005.) It's a very family friendly place for such a large minor league stadium (the seating capacity is over 10,000.)
McCoy Stadium is perhaps best known for being the site of the longest game in organized baseball when in 1981 a 33-inning game between the Paw Sox and the Rochester Red Wings (then the Baltimore Orioles Triple-AAA affiliate.) Future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken, Jr. played in that game.
If nothing else, it's a great way to spend a weekday evening or a weekend afternoon to see future generations of Red Sox players. When I made my last visit to Pawtucket, the PawSox had a diminutive second baseman named Dustin Pedroia. He sure turned out to be the real McCoy.
Methinks I will take a trip down to Rhode Island next summer to take in a PawSox game to pay homage. Whoever succeeds Mondor has some awfully big shoes to fill.