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, including two 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 Award has been presented to a former participant in the Oldtime Baseball Game who exemplifies Greg’s spirit, competitiveness and good nature.
The complete list of recipients follows. Unless otherwise noted, each recipient wore Greg’s 1926 St. Louis Cardinals uniform the year they received the award and came out of retirement to play in the game.
The roll call . . .
2010: Todd Korchin, Northeastern University. Played with Greg at Northeastern. Played in the Oldtime Baseball Game from 1997 to 2001, including MVP honors and a home run in 2000. Korchin began the Oldtime Baseball Game tradition of wearing Greg’s 1926 St. Louis Cardinals uniform and playing in the game.
2011: Steve Langone, Boston College. Played in the Oldtime Baseball Game from 1995 through 1999, hitting a home run in ’98. Cemented the tradition of Montalbano Award recipients wearing Greg’s uniform when he played in the 2011 game. Later began a new career in baseball operations with the Red Sox.
2012: Orazio Azzarello, Framingham State. Pitched a scoreless inning 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. He went on to become varsity baseball coach at Medford High School, as well as being a coach in our game.
2013: Junior Medina, Stonehill College. Played in the game 2000-01, and again in 2013 as 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. (He was safe at home, he proudly points out.)
2014: Pete Frates, Boston College. The former BC baseball captain’s battle against ALS helped inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge as well as 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.
2015: Jose Klimkiewicz, Harvard University. A late addition to the game in 2001 as a senior at Buckingham, Browne and Nichols School, he emerged as co-MVP. Continued to play in the game through 2005 during his Harvard years.
2016: Tim Dunphy, Brandeis University. A native of Cambridge, Mass., he played in the game from 2001-06, representing Cambridge Rindge & Latin School and Brandeis University. He went on to become a teacher at Full Circle/Next Wave, an alternative school in Somerville.
2017: Matt Nuzzo, Everett, Mass. A football/baseball star at Everett High School, he later played baseball at Brown University and was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays. Played in the Oldtime Baseball Game 2005, ’07-08. He has gone on to a career with New Balance as senior product manager for baseball and football footwear.
2018: Matt Paré, Portland, Maine. A Deering High School graduate, he made his first Oldtime Baseball Game appearance in 2009 as an incoming freshman at Boston College and continued to be part of the game for the next three years — including one year as a coach when an injury prevented him from playing. He went on to play five minor-league seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is now a director and Emmy-nominated producer for Uninterrupted, the athlete media company founded by LeBron James’ and Maverick Carter.
2019: Rick Devanna, Northeastern University. Played in the Oldtime Baseball Game from 1999 of 2003 during his years at Westford Academy and Northeastern University. He pitched a total of nine innings in his five appearances without allowing a run. Now consulting customer manager for Clari, a market-lrevenue platform.
2021: Cameron Monagle, Merrimack College. Has a long history with the Oldtime Baseball Game, beginning as a batboy and later as a player from 2013 to 2018. He hit a home run and was named MVP in ’16. Following his years at Merrimack College he went on to become a Cambridge firefighter. He is based at Engine 5 in Inman Square, the very neighborhood in which he grew up.
2022: Framingham native Lou Merloni received the 2022 Montalbano Award but was unable to appear due to rain forcing the game to be rescheduled from Monday to Wednesday, which happened to be a night he was calling a Red Sox game on WEEI. Merloni, who played nine seasons in the big leagues, six of them with the Red Sox, played in the Oldtime Baseball Game 2008-2019.
Also worn by:
University of North Florida right-hander 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. Brian wore this uniform 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, UMass/Amherst (’07-08); John Farrell, William & Mary (’09); Josh Klimkiewicz.