Pawtucket Red Sox
The first team to be dubbed as the Pawtucket Red Sox debuted at McCoy Stadium in 1970 as a member of the AA Eastern League. Following the 1972 season the Red Sox switched leagues, moving up to the top-class AAA International League. The team was an instant success on the field, led by future major leaguers Cecil Cooper and Dick Pole, winning the 1973 Governors' Cup Championship in their inaugural year in the league. The following season the team finished 30 games below .500 and in 1975, while the parent club was on their way to the World Series, the Pawtucket Red Sox finished with the worst record in their history at 53-87. Following another sub-.500 season in 1976 the franchise went bankrupt, unable to pay off $2 million worth of debt.
Although it appeared the Red Sox's brief flirtation with the Pawtucket area was about to come to an end, retired businessman Ben Mondor stepped in and made sure the team would remain entrenched in the city. What Mondor wanted, and got, was a new franchise; although to outsiders it would appear as if nothing had changed since the team name remained the same. So it was really in 1977 that the current Pawtucket Red Sox, and PawSox, were born. To his credit, Mondor has turned Pawtucket into a viable baseball market, where so many others had failed before. In his 25 years at the helm of the PawSox, Mondor has seen the average attendance for Pawtucket games go from barely 1,000 fans per game in 1977 to nearly 9,000 in 2000. Mondor has been part of the management that has overseen the transformation of McCoy Stadium from an aging 1942 relic into its currently renovated form. And while keeping the price of tickets between $4-8, parking has always been free.
In addition to their success at the box office, the PawSox have excelled in the field. In 2000, Pawtucket set an all-time franchise record for victories with 82, as the team completed their 5th straight winning season. Pawtucket has fielded winning teams in 10 of the last 17 years, including the 1984 team that defeated the now-defunct Maine Guides 3-2 to win the 1984 Governors' Cup trophy for the second championship in Pawtucket Red Sox history.
As for the name PawSox, the origins are traced back to the first season in which Mondor owned the club. Despite rescuing the team from bankruptcy, up until three weeks before the 1977 season was to begin Pawtucket lacked uniforms. That's when former Boston GM Haywood Sullivan stepped in and sent Pawtucket 48 sets of old home and away uniforms. The home unis were fine, but since the road uniforms had "Boston" stitched across their chest Pawtucket GM Mike Tamburro, who's been GM with the club since Mondor's start in 1977, suggested using the moniker "PawSox" across the front, with each unstitched "Boston" letter replaced with one that spelled "PawSox." So the name was born out of the necessity of a uniform crisis, not a clever focus group-based marketing campaign.
As a man who made a career of buying and selling bankrupt business, Mondor has turned around the fortunes of Pawtucket baseball, instituting an affordable and friendly atmosphere, and giving Pawtucket a baseball tradition in line with what one would expect from an affiliate of the storied Boston Red Sox.