BOSTON — There was no shortage of Red Sox legends at Sunday morning’s Alumni Game at Fenway Park. And with Peabody’s Steve Lomasney and Nahant’s Chris Howard, the game also featured local ties.
Lomasney, a 1995 Peabody High graduate, donned No. 56 and started at first base for the team managed by Luis Tiant. He went 1-for-1, lacing a hard-hit single to left field.
“It was a great time,” Lomasney said. “There were a few guys that I came up with in the minors. I was fortunate enough to spend time with them. It was nice to see the guys I grew up watching as a young Bostonian. It was an all-around great experience.”
Howard, a St. Mary’s graduate, wore No. 31 for Dwight Evans’ team. Howard entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the top of the third inning. He hit a pop-fly to center field in his lone at-bat.
“The Red Sox are really good to all of us that played there,” said Howard, 52. “When they called and asked, I automatically said ‘yes.’ I committed to it before I even threw a ball, I haven’t thrown a ball in a long time. They’re good to me and I do whatever they ask.”
Among those who took the field were Pedro Martinez, Bill Lee, Mike Lowell, and Wade Boggs. Tiant’s team grabbed a 2-0 win thanks to Julio Lugo’s two-run home run off Martinez, which sailed over the Green Monster in the top of the first inning.
Lomasney, a catcher, was drafted by the Red Sox out of Peabody High in 1995. A fifth-round selection, Lomasney spent eight years climbing the ladder in Boston’s farm system. He played one game with the big league club in 1999, a 1-0 win at Baltimore.
“At first I thought about it a little bit, not sure where you fit in with a group like this,” said Lomasney, 40. “I was with them for a long time, from 1995-2002. Ultimately, the Red Sox were great to me. They appreciate the fact that I’m a local guy. I’m still a part of their tradition. It was a great experience. I’m glad I did it.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t take a few swings to get ready,” Lomasney added. “The trick is controlling your emotions. You get out on the field, you don’t want to look bad. You don’t want to take it too seriously, you want to have fun with it. You go out there, just try to relax and have fun. That’s what I tried to do.”
Sunday’s game gave Lomasney the opportunity to play in front of his three children; daughters Logan, 12, and Emery, 6, and son Ty, 8.
“I’ve played in a few charity games in the past but that was their first time seeing me with that group,” said Lomasney, who still resides in Peabody. “They were very excited.”
Howard, a relief pitcher, played college baseball at Miami. He held stints on three teams through his career in the majors. The left-hander spent the 1993 season in Chicago with the White Sox, returned home to play for Boston in 1994 and pitched for the Texas Rangers in 1995.
Howard made 44 career appearances, went 2-0 with a 3.13 ERA and logged 25 strikeouts.
“Every kid’s dream, playing Little League in this area, is to play for the Red Sox,” said Howard, who lives in Nahant. “After I left the White Sox and became a free agent, the Red Sox were one of the first teams to offer me a contract. Playing for the Red Sox was pretty special for me.”
The Red Sox are looking to make the alumni game an annual event after a 25-year hiatus. Sunday’s game was its first since 1993. Both Lomasney and Howard are in favor of holding it annually, and playing again.
“It was a great experience,” Lomasney said. “I know they mentioned they wanted to do it again. I’m looking forward to it if it does happen.”
“It was fun, all the guys had fun,” Howard said. “The fans seemed like they had a great time. I hope they do it again next year.”