Ballparks of the PGCBL: Doubleday Field

Above photo courtesy
Editors’ Note: This is the fifth feature in a series on the nine ballparks that make up the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. The series will feature each park and will conclude prior to the start of the 2012 PGCBL regular season in early June.

Part I: Veterans Memorial Park, Mohawk Valley
Part II: Colburn Park, Newark
Part III: Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds, Watertown
Part IV: East Field, Glens Falls

Doubleday Field
Team: Cooperstown Hawkeyes
Location: 1 Doubleday Court, Cooperstown, N.Y.
Opened: 1920s (Grandstand built 1939)
Capacity: 9,791

Chronology of teams…
Cooperstown Hawkeyes (New York Collegiate Baseball League) 2010
Cooperstown Hawkeyes (PGCBL) 2011 – current

Cooperstown and baseball, the words are almost synonymous. When one thinks of Cooperstown, the first thing that comes to mind is baseball. Abner Doubleday, the birthplace of baseball on the grassy fields of a small village in Upstate New York, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Doubleday Field. The venerable Doubleday Field, whose roots can be traced back to the 19th century, is the current home of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League’s Cooperstown Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes hold the distinction of being the first baseball team to call Doubleday Field home on a permanent basis.

Over 170 years ago, the site of Doubleday Field was a breezy cow pasture owned by Cooperstown printer Elihu Phinney. As the legend of baseball goes, Phinney’s fields were the birthplace of baseball. That is where Abner Doubleday supposedly first invented the game in 1839. Eighty years later, the green pastures known as Phinney’s Lot gave way to baseball grounds. The grounds first featured a wooden grandstand in 1924. A century (1939) after the so-called birth of baseball in Cooperstown, a steel and concrete grandstand was completed as part of a Works Progress Administration project. That grandstand, built over 70 years ago, still resides at Doubleday Field and is one of few WPA projects still standing.

Upon arriving at Doubleday Field, you’re brought back to a simpler era, before the designated hitter, night games and the advent of computerized scorekeeping. A modest brick structure, Doubleday can hold 9,791 fans. The gate to the field almost glows with red brickwork, iron gates and the large “Doubleday Field” in white block letters carefully painted above the entrance. The outside of the grandstand, just past the entrance is awash in lightly-tanned bricks and concrete while the inside boasts rows and rows of steel. Modest ramps take one from the entrance gate quickly up into the grandstand which makes you feel right on top of the action. About seven rows of gray steel bleacher seats scoop around the home plate area. A slanted green roof looms high above protecting the entire grandstand from the elements.

Uncovered bleacher seating runs down both the first and third base side from the end of the grandstand and all the way to the outfield fence. In right field, the bleacher seating continues in the shadow of leafy green trees. The outfield bleacher seats begin at the right field foul pole, curl around center field and then terminate in left-center field. All around Doubleday Field, one can pick out local neighborhood houses and buildings painted in the light colors of gray and white; rising up in the left field corner are spires of a local church. Trees and a steel mesh fence line the top of the outfield wall in the left field. All alone in the left field corner, a simple scoreboard is posted above the fence featuring the runs, hits, errors, balls, strikes, outs and the current inning. The small green scoreboard has “Doubleday Field” written in white block letters across the top.

From a players’ perspective, Doubleday Field is unique. The outfield presents an interesting challenge with short porches in left field (296 feet) and right field (312 feet) of unequal distances. The right field alley (350 feet) is a slightly longer reach than the left-field alley (336 feet). The dugouts are carved into the brick grandstand with one on each side of the structure fairly close to home plate. The dugout is literally dug into the ground as one has to climb up the dugout steps to reach ground level and the field of play.

As mentioned above, no one team called Doubleday Field home until the Cooperstown Hawkeyes of the PGCBL took up residence in 2010. Games at played at the facility nearly non-stop between April and October and one can find a game at Doubleday Field almost every day during the summer months. From 1940, one year after the current grandstand was built through 2008, Doubleday Field hosted the Hall of Fame Game. It began as an old-timers’ event and then turned into an exhibition game between one National League and one American League team. The final Hall of Fame Game in 2008 between Chicago Cubs and the San Diego Padres was rained out. The exhibition contest was replaced in 2009 by the Hall of Fame Classic, an exhibition game between members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and other retired Major League players. The Hall of Fame Classic takes place on Father’s Day weekend .

The Cooperstown Hawkeyes have played two successful seasons at Doubleday Field. The team has posted back-to-back winning seasons and has made two-straight playoff appearances. The 2011 Hawkeyes won the PGCBL West regular season championship and manager Eric Coleman was named the PGCBL Coach of the Year. Infielder Bryan Aanderud shared the 2011 PGCBL batting championship with Elmira’s Ryan Normoyle and three Hawkeyes were named to the All-PGCBL team, Aanderud, Danny Nelson and Conor Kerins. Alex Todd, a member of the 2010 Hawkeyes, was drafted by the Houston Astros last June and he is currently playing for the South Atlantic League’s Lexington Legends. The Cooperstown nine also flourished at the gate in 2011 as over 10,000 fans watched the Hawkeyes play at home. The 2011 Hawkeyes set a franchise record for overall attendance and attendance average.  The team saw its’ largest crowd at Doubleday Field on July 13, a throng of over one thousand.

Search Archive »

Browse by Month »

May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
January 2022
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
June 2020
May 2020
March 2020
January 2020
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
March 2019
January 2019
October 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
November 2010