Since its founding in 1994, the annual Oldtime Baseball Game has grown – now it requires street closures and traffic warnings, and it draws sports legends who want to take part in the fun and help its charitable causes.
The 24th game, held Thursday at St. Peter’s Field on Sherman Street, included Pedro Martinez in old Red Sox togs and his old number, 45, pitching two scoreless innings and going 0-1 at bat.
Martinez, who played pro from 1992 to 2009, said he was happy to take part in a game benefiting the ALS Therapy Development Institute and a New England Sports Network videographer diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, John Martin. “Remember why we’re here,” Martinez said in a speech.
Organizer Steve Buckley, a Boston Herald sports columnist, tweeted that the hug between Martinez and Martin he saw captured in a photo “one of the best pics in history of the Oldtime Game.”
The event offers a glimpse of what it was like to come watch a semipro “town” team play, and one of the highlights of the games is seeing the old flannel uniforms broken out for use – just for the night, before being returned to storage by Royal White Laundry of Somerville, according to event organizers.
In addition to Martinez, the games have seen participation by former Red Sox pitchers Oil Can Boyd and Jim Corsi, as well as former New York Yankee Mike Pagliarulo. The teams are largely made up of players from colleges and universities in the Boston area (with an occasional high school player), and organizers say that over the years more than 25 young players have gone on to play professionally.
“But the Oldtime Baseball Game is, and always will be, a charity event,” organizers said on Facebook. “Since we work so hard each year to gather more than 1,000 people to watch our game, it just makes sense to use the event to raise money for a worthy cause.”