Red Sox Legend Fred Lynn to Appear at 29th Annual Oldtime Baseball Game on Thursday, August 24
Fred Lynn, who made history in 1975 when he was named Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year in leading the Red Sox to the American League pennant, will appear at the 29th annual Abbot Financial Management Oldtime Baseball Game on Thursday, August 24 at St. Peter’s Field in Cambridge. The pregame program begins at 7 p.m.
This year’s game is being played as a fundraiser for The Boston Home, a non-profit residence and national resource for adults with advanced neurological disorders, primarily multiple sclerosis.
Additionally, the evening will be dedicated to the memory of longtime Oldtime Baseball Game board member Bill Novelline, whose vision transformed the game into an annual event. Novelline, who was raised in Medford and lived in Andover for many years, was 82 when he died last December.
With its collection of throwback uniforms, coupled with period music and local players, the Oldtime Baseball Game has grown to become one of Greater Boston’s most beloved amateur sporting events. And it helps that a glittering array of former Red Sox players have lent their star power to the game.
Lynn, who played 17 seasons in the big leagues, seven of them with the Red Sox, will serve as an honorary manager at this year’s game. In past years, former Sox stars Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Tim Wakefield, Jim Lonborg, Mike Timlin, Lou Merloni, Oil Can Boyd and the late Jim Corsi have played in the Oldtime Baseball Game. The late Johnny Pesky was a longtime coach in the game.
Heading up the fundraising effort for The Boston Home on behalf of the Oldtime Baseball Game is Aidan Freeburg, an Arlington native who was diagnosed with MS when he was a 19-year-old pitcher at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In spite of periodic setbacks to his health, Freeburg, now 28, persisted on his path to a degree in mechanical engineering at WPI as well as playing college baseball.
Freeburg, who continues to pitch for the Lexington Blue Sox of the Intercity League and Somerville Senators of the Boston Metro Baseball League, will be making his eighth mound appearance in the Oldtime Baseball Game.
Founded in Cambridge in 1994, the Oldtime Baseball Game is known for its dazzling reproductions of flannel uniforms representing virtually every era in baseball history. Used just once a year, these throwback uniforms include such long-ago teams as the St. Louis Browns, Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Athletics.
The game also includes a uniform representing the Boston Braves, the city’s long-gone National League ball club. This makes for an interesting footnote to this year’s game: Fran Murphy, chief financial officer of The Boston Home, is a grandson of the late Lou Perini, the former owner of the Boston Braves. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Braves franchise being relocated to Milwaukee.
“The Boston Home is thrilled to partner with the Oldtime Baseball Game in our mutual pursuit for innovation, appreciation for history and service to others,” Murphy said. “My grandfather Lou Perini embraced these ideals, and together with his passion for baseball, helped lead the way to baseball’s integration movement and the westward expansion of major league teams.
“His lifelong love of baseball culminated in assembling a Milwaukee Braves team led by 23-year-old MVP Hank Aaron that upset the indomitable New York Yankees in the 1957 World Series,” Murphy said. “Lou was a pioneer in baseball philanthropy, and it is heartwarming to see his commitment to giving back being carried forward by the Oldtime Baseball Game.”
The Oldtime Baseball Game also has several uniforms representing the Negro Baseball Leagues, including the Homestead Grays, Kansas City Monarchs, Cleveland Buckeyes, Baltimore Elite Giants, Detroit Stars and Boston Royal Giants. Former minor-league teams are represented by the Oakland Oaks, San Francisco Seals, Wichita Falls Spudders and Hollywood Stars.
The game also a uniform representing a team that never actually existed: The New York Knights from the film classic “The Natural.” The uniform was worn in 2006 by Wesleyan University alum Jed Hoyer, who at the time was assistant general manager of the Red Sox and now is president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs. This year that same uniform will be worn by infielder Ernie Little, a Melrose, Mass., native and current member of the Wesleyan baseball team who was named NESCAC Rookie of the Year for 2023.
During pregame ceremonies a former participant in the Oldtime Baseball Game will be introduced as recipient of the Greg Montalbano Award, named in memory of the 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 pitcher at Northeastern University, Montalbano was a participant in the Oldtime Baseball Game in 1997 and ’98. The award, instituted in 2010, is presented to a former player in the game who exemplifies Greg Montalbano’s spirit, competitiveness and good nature.
As has become custom, the recipient of the award will play in the game and wear the 1926 St. Louis Cardinals uniform that Montalbano wore 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. Fans can look forward to enjoying a Wahlburger at the game as Dorchester native Paul Wahlberg and his team of A&E TV series fame provide concessions.
In the event of rain, the game will be played on Friday, August 25 at 7 p.m.