On December 4, Maplewood Park in Malden will be hosting the 21st annual Winterball Baseball Game that benefits the U.S. Marines’ Toys for Tots program.
This year’s contest will be a battle between the Sugar Cookies and Snickerdoodles, with players from the Boston Men’s Baseball League, Boston Amateur Baseball League, Commonwealth Amateur Baseball League, Yawkey Baseball League, and Boston Park League invited to participate. To play, players must arrive at the ballpark with one unwrapped toy that will be donated to the Toys for Tots program, which the Marines will collect prior to the first pitch.
According to South Shore Giants outfielder and event organizer Brett Rudy, the WinterBall game has collected approximately $84,000 in toys over the 21 years since the event began. Approximately 40-50 players sign up to play each year.
“It’s always a great feeling to give to those less fortunate, especially to a charity like Toys for Tots which has been around for a very long time,” said Waltham Cutters’ catcher Dan Field. “It’s pretty awesome to see a member of The Marines come down to the event every year and collect all of the toys, knowing they are in good hands and will eventually be delivered to those less fortunate children on Christmas.”
“It never gets old, knowing that you are giving back, and making a difference for local kids who are less fortunate than we are,” said Rudy.
Last season, the game was decided by a battle between father and son in the bottom of the 5th inning. John “Smokey” Moore entered the game to face his son Zack Moore, who promptly “roped” the ball into the right-field gap for an inside-the-park home run.
“I was ecstatic my last pitch I ever threw was a home run to my son,” said John “Smokey” Moore. “Couldn’t have asked for a better ending of my pitching career.”
Thanks to Zack’s home run, the Santa’s Stompers defeated the Roaring Chestnuts, 6-5.
This at-bat was a rematch between father and son, who last faced off in the 2010 Winter Ball game. Zack flew out to right field in that matchup. Both father and son have been playing this game for 15 years together and John was previously a Toys for Tots recipient in 1975 at the age of eight.
This year’s contest will begin at 10 a.m. with batting practice, followed by the U.S. Marines collecting toys before first pitch at 11 a.m. Visit the Winterball 2021 Facebook page to sign up to play in this Saturday’s contest in Malden. All participants are encouraged to wear festive attire.