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Ballou on Baseball: September 20, 2023

September 21, 2023

This would not qualify as breaking news on CNN, Fox or anywhere else in the media world, but times have changed in baseball. When Tom Yawkey bought the Red Sox in 1933 he installed Eddie Collins as the franchise’s first general manager. Collins was succeeded by Joe Cronin, who became

This would not qualify as breaking news on CNN, Fox or anywhere else in the media world, but times have changed in baseball.

When Tom Yawkey *bought the Red Sox in 1933 he installed *Eddie Collins as the franchise’s first general manager. Collins was succeeded by Joe Cronin, who became president of the American League in 1959. So, Boston had only two GMs in a span of 25 years.

When *Chaim Bloom’s *replacement is named — the title will be different, but the duties the same as general manager — it will be four GMs in the 12 years since *Theo Epstein *resigned.

Change is good. Panic not so good. There is a fine line in there somewhere. In those first 25 years when Boston had just two GMs, the Sox won one pennant and no World Series. Stability only goes so far. In the 12 years since Epstein left, Boston has won two World Series, so which is the better business model?

What effect will Bloom’s firing have on the Worcester Red Sox?

From a distance, the view should not change. Polar Park will still be Polar Park. Boston will still have its next-in-line young players here, and send down the occasional Chris Sale for a cameo rehab appearance. The team on the field is a different item.

In the three years Triple-A baseball has been here, WooSox fans have shown that while they buy into the idea that it is all about player development, they expect to see good baseball. They expect to see winning teams, which is all they have seen to this point in time.

Bloom can take some credit for that. He was the architect of a very successful farm system in Tampa Bay, an organization that has proven you can win in the majors and the minors. The Durham Bulls are among the best teams in Triple-A every single season these days.

Boston Red Sox fans seem mostly happy about his dismissal. Worcester Red Sox fans should be more careful with that perspective. Bloom cared about the minors and a couple of his deals brought some exciting players to town. He got David Hamilton *from the Brewers, *Enmanuel Valdez and *Wilyer Abreu *from the Astros. That helped replenish the farm system and provide WooSox fans with some great baseball.

Ultimately, having a strong Boston Red Sox team is good for business in Worcester. Interest in the big-league Sox generates interest in their minor league teams. It is the classic rising tide that lifts all boats, and that tide had ebbed under Bloom.

Still, he put good teams and good players at Polar Park. That should be his legacy in the Heart of the Commonwealth.



1. Who holds the Red Sox Triple-A record for most career home runs by a foreign-born player?

2. Including Polar Park, how many different Triple-A ballparks have the WooSox played in?

Answers below.


It was great to meet author Adam Lazarus *at Polar Park last week. He was on hand to talk about his new book “The Wingmen,” about *Ted Williams *and *John Glenn and their relationship built around flying combat together during the Korean War. No matter how much is written about Williams, there always seems to be another angle and this is a particularly interesting one. … A random number, but a number nonetheless: the most common scores for WooSox games through the years are 5-4 and 3-1, which have happened 18 times. Worcester is 11-7 when it is 5-4, 9-9 at 3-1. … Until 2021, the WooSox’ first season in town, minor league seasons ended on Labor Day. Nobody really knew how teams would have drawn had the season gone longer considering that kids were back in school after that, but the month has turned out to be a money-maker, especially in Worcester. The WooSox have played 29 September home games through the years and have averaged 7,979 for those games. That includes 10 crowds above 9,000 … You never know who’ll you see at Polar Park — former Red Sox catcher and broadcaster Bob Montgomery was in the crowd Sunday. Montgomery had a 10-year career in Boston after spending nine full seasons in the minor leagues, three at the Triple-A level.



  1. Izzy Alcantara, a native of the Dominican Republic, hit 74 home runs in parts of three seasons (1999-2001) with the Pawtucket Red Sox. Alcantara had a long career marked by several bizarre on-field incidents, both with the PawSox and other teams.

2. The WooSox have played in exactly 12 Triple-A ballparks in three seasons in Worcester. Rochester has had two names for the same ballpark, Frontier and Innovative, and Buffalo played games in Trenton’s Thunder Ballpark during the 2021 Covid quarantines.


WooSox president Dr. Charles Steinberg has put some serious roots down in Worcester and is Red Sox all the way through, but he grew up in Baltimore as an avid Orioles fan and got his first job in baseball working for the O’s.

So, how does he feel about his old team evolving into one of the best in baseball?

“I still have a lot of family and friends in Baltimore,” Steinberg said, “and friends both in the front office and wearing a uniform, and I couldn’t be happier for the peoople who have been waiting so long to have Orioles magic again.”

Their last World Series appearance, and championship, was in 1983.


*Bobby Dalbec’s *double Friday night, perhaps his last hit for the WooSox this season, allowed him to do something not many Boston Triple-A hitters have done through the years.

It was his 50th extra base hit of the season. Dalbec is the first WooSox batter to do it and the first in the Pawtucket-Worcester continuum since *Chris Marrero *at Pawtucket in 2016.

Marrero had 30 doubles, 2 triples and 23 home runs that season.

In all it has been achieved 20 times since the PawSox began play in 1973. The best is Earl Snyder’s off-the-charts season in 2004 when he had 43 doubles, a triple and 36 home runs. There are a few prominent names on the list including Josh Reddick, Trot Nixon *and *Gary Allenson; *and one Hall of Famer in *Jim Rice.

Rice was 21-4-25 in 1974.

Dalbec’s season includes a speed aspect that is lacking in almost every other member of the 50-plus club. He has 18 stolen bases this season. Marrero did not even attempt a stolen base in 2016. The only other 50-plus players with 20 or more steals are George Lombard, who was 28-8-20 with 23 stolen bases in 2005, and Nixon. He was 26-4-23 and stole 26 times in 1998.



Versatile right-handed pitcher Hector Velazquez has seen limited action for Yucatan of the Mexican League. He is 0-3 with a 5.72 ERA there in 10 games. Velazquez was in the Red Sox organization from 2017 through 2019 and was 8-4 in 32 games for Pawtucket during that time.

Outfielder Cole Sturgeon, the last Boston Triple-A batter to hit three homers in a game until Wilyer Abreu did it for Worcester this season, is in commercial real estate in his native Kentucky. Sturgeon, who turned 32 on Sunday, hit just 13 total home runs in 168 games for the PawSox but he will forever be remembered for hitting the last HR in McCoy Stadium history on September 2, 2019 in what turned out to be the final swing ever at McCoy.



Worcester will be living here in Allentown to close the 2023 season. They take on the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs in the standard six-game series this week. After Tuesday’s loss, Worcester is 10-9 versus Lehigh Valley this season including s 2-5 mark at Coca-Cola Park. They are 21-20 there through the years.

The Pigs are playing well these days, especially at home where they are 24-8 in the season’s second half. Overall, Lehigh Valley is 6-4 in its last 10 games.

Kody Clemens, son of Roger Clemens, is playing for Lehigh Valley. Ironpigs batters have bashed 25 home runs off WooSox pitching. Drew Ellis *has hit six, *Weston Wilson five.