Uniform & Team History
After beating out the Reds and Pirates to capture the National League pennant, the 1926 Cardinals beat the New York Yankees in a thrilling World Series, with Grover Cleveland Alexander fanning Tony Lazzeri in the seventh inning with the bases loaded.
Oldtime Game History
When Northeastern University pitcher Greg Montalbano was selected to play in the Oldtime Baseball Game in 1997, he had to withdraw because he was undergoing treatment for cancer. But he did throw out the first pitch in 1997, and on that night was announced as the starting pitcher for the 1998 Oldtime Baseball Game. He did indeed return in 1998 as the starting pitcher for the visiting team, working two shutout innings. This was also the year that throwback uniforms were introduced to the Oldtime Baseball Game, and Greg was the first player to wear the uniform of the 1926 St. Louis Cardinals.
Greg went on to be selected by the Boston Red Sox in the fifth round of the 1999 amateur draft, and in 2001 was the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year. A recurrence of cancer ended Greg’s baseball dreams, but he continued to be an inspiration to his family, friends and teammates. Such was the love and respect Greg earned over the years that when he died, on August 21, 2009, Carlos Pena, then of the Tampa Bay Rays, who played with Greg at Northeastern University, dedicated his next game to him. And in dramatic fashion: Pena, who played in the Oldtime Baseball Game in 1996 and ’97, went 3-for-4 against the Texas Rangers, with two home runs.
“He was my right hand in college,” Pena said after the game. “He had been battling cancer for 10 years. He was always smiling. The only thing that comforts me is I know he’s in a better place, but we’re going to miss him greatly. I dedicated this game to his memory and his family.”
Then-Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis, who played with Greg in the minor leagues, also dedicated the next game in which he played to his former teammate. He went 3-for-5 and also hit two home runs.
“When I pointed to the sky to him when I went to the dugout, that was for him,” Youkilis told reporters. “That’s one of those things. There are some crazy things that have happened in my life where you always feel there’s somebody out there pushing balls out and doing great things for you.”
Beginning in 2010, the Greg Montalbano Alumni Award was presented to a former participant in the Oldtime Baseball Game who best exemplifies Greg’ s spirit, competitiveness and good nature. The first recipient was Todd Korchin, who played with Greg at Northeastern University and who played in the Oldtime Baseball Game from 1997 to 2001, including MVP honors and a home run in 2000. Korchin began an Oldtime Baseball Game tradition when he came out of retirement to play on the 2010 game, wearing Greg’s 1926 St. Louis Cardinals uniform.
Former Boston College star Steve Langone, now an advance scout with the Red Sox, continued the tradition when he wore Greg’s uniform and played in the 2011 Game after receiving the Montalbano Award. Langine originally played in the Oldtime Baseball Game from 1995 through 1999, hitting a home run in 1998.
Medford native and Framingham State alum Orazio Azzarello wore Greg’s uniform and pitched a scorless iinning in the 2012 Game after being honored with the Montalbano Award. It was the eighth OTBG appearance for Azzarello, who originally played from 1995 through 2001.
Former Stonehill College star Junior Medina, who played in the game in 2000 and 2001, was the 2013 recipient of the Montalbano Award. However, he was forced to leave the game when he suffered a hand injury in a home plate collision with Bowdoin College catcher Dan Findley.
In 2014, the Montalbano Award was presented to Pete Frates, whose battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) inspired not just the Ice Bucket Challenge but our own decision to play the 2014 Oldtime Baseball Game as a fundraiser for the ALS Therapy Development Institute of Cambridge. With Pete wearing his own No. 3 Red Sox shirt and serving as an honorary coach, Greg’s uniform was worn by 2012 Montalbano Award recipient Orazio Azzarello, now a coach in our game.
Also worn by:
University of North Florida righthander Josh Papelbon, younger brother of Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, wore this uniform when he worked a scoreless inning in the ’05 Game. From 2001 through 2004, it was worn by Rhode Island College third baseman Brian Trupiano, son of former Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Trupiano, in honor of his grandfather, a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan. Jaime Quiros (’00) of Boston College went on to play for the Lincoln Salt Dogs of the Independent Northern League. Also: Danny Nugent, American International College (’06); Mike DiCato, University of Massachusetts (’07-08); John Farrell, William & Mary (’09).