Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, NY

Michael Bushnell
Publisher


Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, New York, named for baseball’s founder Abner Doubleday, is our next stop as we tour the fields that contribute heavily to the history of America’s national pastime, baseball.


Constructed in 1919 on what used to be a cow pasture that belonged to local farmer Elihu Phinney, the location traces back to the actual founding of the game in Cooperstown by Doubleday back in 1839.


In 1905, the city of Cooperstown appointed the Mills Commission to determine the origin of baseball. According to the testimony of Abner Graves, a schoolmate of Abner Doubleday, Graves was present when Doubleday initiated rule changes to what he then referred to as “town ball.”


The committee’s final report, on Dec. 30, 1907, stated, in part, that “the first scheme for playing baseball, according to the best evidence obtainable to date, was devised by Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, N.Y. in 1839.”


In 1916, National League President John Tener visited Cooperstown to see the pasture in which baseball was said to have been founded. During that visit, Tener said the field ought to be preserved as a memorial to Doubleday.


In June 1919, Cooperstown’s Chamber of Commerce Playground Committee secured a lease from Phinney for the use of the ground as a baseball diamond for a period of two years. An immediate appeal went out to the townspeople for volunteer labor in order to bring the field into shape for games to be played that summer.


On Sept. 6, 1920, Doubleday Field officially opened. The first game was between Milford and Cooperstown. John Heydler, president of the National League, was the home plate umpire for the first inning.


In 1924 a wooden grandstand was added and a capital campaign was undertaken in 1926 and 1927 to purchase additional parcels of the lot in order to expand the footprint of the field.


During the Great Depression, a number of upgrades were done to the field under the Works Progress Administration that included the expansion of the field area to regulation size, grading and landscaping the entrance to the field and the addition of more bleachers, increasing the seating capacity to roughly 10,000.


All of this work was completed just in time for the celebration of the centennial of baseball in Cooperstown in 1939 that also coincided with the dedication of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as the playing of the 1939 All Star Game.


Thanks to the popularity of the ’39 All Star game, an annual Hall of Fame game was established in 1940 as an in-season exhibition game between two major league teams.


The Hall of Fame game has featured such baseball icons as Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, and Mickey Mantle hitting “round-trippers” inside the compact confines of the park.


The field is owned and operated by the village of Cooperstown and plays host to over 350 ball games each year.


The Chrome-style postcard spotlights an actual Hall of Fame game and was published by Daniel A. Blacksmith. It was mailed in 1989 to Mrs. and Miss Maletto by Melissa. Melissa was apparently engaged in a number of vacation activities, none of which, sadly, judging by her note, involved baseball.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Remember This? Protractor & Compass

    September 23rd, 2020
    by

    Cool tools for school, useful for math class and art class too. The protractor was first used by mariners to […]


    Indian Mounds, St. Paul, Minn.

    September 23rd, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Continuing our History series of famous Indian Mounds, this week we travel north to St. Paul, Minnesota […]


    Largest prehistoric mounds located in Southern Illinois

    September 16th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher On the heels of last week’s profile of the Indian Mound located in Historic Northeast Kansas City, […]


    Remember This? Art supplies

    September 16th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor When the “father of the American Christmas card” needed art supplies for his young daughter, he started […]


    REMEMBER THIS? School boxes

    September 9th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Can you fit all your school supplies inside a cigar box? Elementary school students in the 1960’s […]


    Mound builders were region’s first residents

    September 9th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This week we’re shifting gears and coming back to our Historic Northeast roots with a profile of […]


    American Made!

    September 2nd, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Typically, our Labor Day postcard spotlights mill workers pictured in the Boiler Room of the Kelly Flour […]


    Remember This? Driver’s Education Text Books

    September 2nd, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Teenagers, would you like to study a 438-page textbook before you obtained your driver’s license? This high […]


  • Remember This? Commemorative Stamps

    August 26th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor The 100th Anniversary of professional baseball was commemorated with this six cent stamp issued in 1969. In […]


    The Kansas City Athletics moved to Oakland, CA

    August 26th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum opened in 1966 after almost six years of planning by the City of Oakland […]


    Remember this? Darts

    August 19th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Play baseball indoors, in any weather, with this special-designed dartboard. Added to the reverse of a standard […]


    Anaheim Stadium

    August 19th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher “Anaheim Stadium, designed to bring the fans back to the game and the game back to the […]


    Remember This? Yogi Bear

    August 12th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Hey, hey, hey, it’s Yogi! Whether Yogi is a catcher with the New York Yankees or a […]


    The house that Ruth built

    August 12th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher The original Yankee Stadium opened on April 18, 1923 and true to form, the first home run […]


    Remember This? The Lone Ranger

    August 5th, 2020
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Who was that masked man? The Lone Ranger began his quest of law and order as a […]


    Arlington Stadium, home of the Texas Rangers

    August 5th, 2020
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Arlington Stadium bears a distinction in the major leagues of being one of only five stadiums originally […]


  • Northeast Newscast


  • Faces Of Northeast


  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.