The 39th annual Hall of Fame Game was cancelled due to the 50-day players’ strike, but the Oneonta Yankees and the Elmira Pioneer Red Sox filled in, playing Doubleday Field’s first ever New York-Penn League game on Aug. 3, 1981. In a game that featured six home runs, the Yankees won 8-6.
Elmira built a 6-2 lead early thanks to three home runs by Pat Castiglia, Joe Arfstrom and Tim Walck, but Oneonta came back in part due to back-to-back home runs from Scott Bradley and John Hughes to tie the game at six apiece.
The Yankees scored the winning run when Roberto Dennis singled, stole second, advanced to third on an infield hit by Mike Pagliarulo, then scored on a wild pitch by Elmira’s Willie Weston. Pagliarulo scored Oneonta’s final run when Jim D’Aloia hit an RBI single.
The win marked Oneonta’s 14th straight victory over the Red Sox, dating back two years.
The Hall of Fame Game was originally scheduled to feature the Cincinnati Reds against the Oakland Athletics.
Doubleday Field in Cooperstown hosted Hall of Fame Games from 1940 through 2008. (National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)