The 1961 Hawaiian Islanders baseball team finished almost dead last — but oh, what uniforms they had. Green and yellow like a pineapple, they boasted figures of island hero Chief Kamehameha, and sleeveless tunic tops to beat the heat.
It’s time, once again, for the annual Oldtime Baseball Game, a charity contest held at St. Peter’s Field in Cambridge in which players wear uniforms from dozens of teams plucked from baseball history, such as the minor-league Islanders.
Others will take the field Monday night wearing replica uniforms from the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Boston Braves, and the Birmingham Black Barons, a 1940s Negro League team that once featured a 15-year-old outfielder named Willie Mays.
Now in its 19th year, the Oldtime game, which has raised more than $700,000 for local charities, takes a step back in time with its wooden bats, bandstand music, peanuts, popcorn, raffles, and, of course, uniforms, most of which are wool or flannel, as in Ted Williams’s day. The game is free but bleacher seating is limited, so fans are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to set up along the outfield foul lines.
Rosters consist of top college and amateur players, with a smattering of local sports celebrities joining in. But the most excited participant in this year’s contest may well be Pete Frates, the captain of Boston College’s 2007 varsity baseball team, who in March was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Now in its 19th year, the Oldtime Baseball Game takes a step back in time.
The Beverly native will start at first base for the home team, with his college coach and two former teammates playing alongside him in the field. After one pitch — enough to make his appearance official — he will come out of the game.
“Pete’s an old-school guy, so he looks great in these outfits,” says friend Steve Gath, who’ll be at third base. “There’s no better way to see his spirit for baseball than in a game like this.”
Frates, normally an outfielder, will be donning a replica of Williams’s 1939 Red Sox uniform.
“Hopefully, they’ll do the old ‘take a pitch’ so the kid doesn’t hit a line shot at me,” he jokes. “It’ll be fun.”
The Oldtime Baseball Game
Monday at 7 p.m. at St. Peter’s Field, Cambridge.
Donations benefit the American Red Cross of Eastern Mass.