Ray Bourque, Tim Wakefield to appear in 2018 Abbot Financial Management Oldtime Baseball Game to be held Thursday, August 16th

CAMBRIDGE’S SUMMERTIME CELEBRATION OF BASEBALL TO BENEFIT AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION

(Note: Media Day for the Oldtime Baseball Game will be held Monday, August 6 at 2 p.m. Ray Bourque and Tim Wakefield will NOT be at Media Day. Details below.)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Ray Bourque and Tim Wakefield, two iconic Boston athletes from two different sports, will be suiting up for a common cause on Thursday, August 16 to play in the 25th Annual Abbot Financial Management Oldtime Baseball Game at beautiful St. Peter’s Field on Sherman Street in North Cambridge. The pregame ceremony begins at 7 p.m.

WEEI talk-show host Lou Merloni, who played nine seasons in the major leagues, including six seasons with his hometown Boston Red Sox, will once again come out of retirement to play in this year’s Oldtime Baseball Game.

This year’s game is being played as a benefit for the American Heart Association in memory of Steve Harris, longtime hockey writer for the Boston Herald who died in February.

Wakefield, whose vaunted knuckleball propelled him to 200 victories in his big-league career, played for the Red Sox from 1995 to 2011 and was a member of Boston’s 2004 and 2007 World Series-winning teams. He has gone on to a successful career as a studio analyst for Red Sox games on NESN.

Bourque, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, played for the Bruins from 1979 to 2000 and was a five-time winner of the Norris Trophy, presented to the NHL’s top defenseman. He closed out his brilliant career by leading the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup championship in 2001.

Bourque will be joined by his two sons, Ryan Bourque and Chris Bourque, both professional hockey players. The Bourques will lead off the game as the 1-2-3 batters against Wakefield. Ray Bourque, who wore No. 7 with the Bruins until he famously gave his sweater to retired Bruins legend Phil Esposito, switching to No. 77 for the remainder of his career, will return to wearing No. 7 on August 16 — since, after all, it’s an oldtime number for an oldtime baseball game. He will be wearing a throwback uniform of the Boston Royal Giants, an independent Negro Leagues team from the 1930s.

The Oldtime Baseball Game is a celebration of our national pastime. From its humble beginnings in 1994, the game has grown considerably over the years yet has remained loyal to its mission of offering a glimpse of what it was like in the old days, when hundreds of fans would turn out to root for their “town” team in various local semipro leagues.

The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Founded in 1924, the Association now includes more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters. The Association also  provides critical tools and information to save and improve lives, which includes youth programs in Massachusetts schools.

These youth programs focus on three primary areas: CPR, food and nutrition, and physical activity. In many schools, a lack of access to equipment is an impediment to kids getting proper exercise. Funds raised in this year’s Oldtime Baseball Game will allow the American Heart Association to place Floor Hockey Kits and CPR Kits in select schools throughout Greater Boston.

What makes the Oldtime Baseball Game so special is its dazzling collection of flannel uniforms that represent virtually every era in baseball history. Used just once a year for the Oldtime Baseball Game, the uniforms represent such long-ago teams as the Boston Braves, St. Louis Browns, Homestead Grays and Kansas City Monarchs.

Although the Oldtime Baseball Game includes amateur players from schools throughout the Boston area and beyond, more than 40 past participants have gone on to play professionally. Three former participants in the game – Carlos PenaChris Lambert and Nate Freiman – have gone on to play in the big leagues.

During pregame ceremonies this year, the ninth annual Greg Montalbano Award will be presented to former Boston College star Matt Paré, who later played five minor-league seasons with the San Francisco Giants organization. Paré is now living in Los Angeles and pursuing a career as a writer and online video creator.

The award is named in memory of Greg Montalbano, a former Red Sox minor-league pitcher who was only 31 when he died of cancer in 2009. A native of Westborough and later a standout at Northeastern University, Montalbano was a participant in the Oldtime Baseball Game in 1997 and ’98. Selected by the Red Sox in the fifth round of the 1999 amateur draft, he played six seasons of professional baseball before illness ended his career. In 2001, he was named Minor League Pitcher of the Year by the Red Sox.

The award, instituted in 2010, is presented to a former participant in the Oldtime Baseball Game who best exemplifies Greg’s spirit, competitiveness and good nature.  Paré, a native of Portland, Maine, suited up for the Oldtime Baseball Game from 2009 to 2012.

As has become custom in the Oldtime Baseball Game, this year’s Montalbano Award recipient plans to come out of retirement to play in the game. Paré will be wearing the 1926 St. Louis Cardinals uniform that Montalbano wore when he played in the game in 1998.

Admission to the Oldtime Baseball Game is free. Fans are asked to bring a beach blanket or chair and camp out along the foul lines, as it is the crowd that makes the game so electric. Spectators who park at the Fresh Pond Shopping Center can walk through the Danehy Park Athletic Complex to St. Peter’s Field in about 10 minutes.

The rain date for the Oldtime Baseball Game is Friday, August 17th, also at 7 p.m.

MEDIA DAY INFORMATION

Media Day for the Oldtime Baseball Game will be held on Monday, August 6 at 2 p.m. at St. Peter’s Field. Though Tim Wakefield and the Bourques will not be in attendance, most players will be in uniform and available for photographs and interviews. Light refreshments will be served. Media Day is held rain or shine.