Doubleday Field Donation Shows Sincere Preservation Dedication

Doubleday Field Donation Shows
Sincere Preservation Dedication

Jeff Katz, president of Friends of Doubleday, gives Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh a check for $10,000.00 to aid Doubleday Field renovations. (Photo by Ted Mebust)


COOPERSTOWN – The Friends of Doubleday, a 501c(3) nonprofit fundraising organization based in Cooperstown, has donated $10,000.00 to the Village of Cooperstown to bolster renovation costs of Doubleday Field’s new third-baseline building, which will be named the Bud Fowler Pavilion.

“We’re very thankful for the Friends of Doubleday and excited to be nearing the end of the road on this project,” said Cooperstown Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, who accepted the donation on behalf of the village at a meeting of the Doubleday Committee on January 9.

The FOD originally organized to help the village with renovation costs and smaller projects to maintain the historic site by selling merchandise, tours, art prints, autographed photos of Hall of Famers, and events, still offered today. Their previous projects include restoring the roof of the ballpark’s grandstand, the paver project, in which the names of people and organizations that donated to restore the field were inscribed on bricks placed just outside the grandstand, and the dedication of Bud Fowler Way, honoring the first known Black professional baseball player.

In 2018, Tillapaugh inherited and has since continued the Doubleday Field renovation project from former Mayor Jeff Katz, who, she said, had already headed great efforts in designing plans and organizing funds with the Village’s Doubleday Committee and Friends of Doubleday. Over $5 million was raised, thanks to the help of former State Senator Jim Seward, the late Assemblyman William Magee and an Empire State Development Grant. The Village of Cooperstown also made a proportional match to the generated funding.

Major structural changes to the grounds, including a total redesign of the parking lot to improve drainage and add a pedestrian-friendly walkway which highlights sculptor Victor Salvatore’s “The Sandlot Kid” statue, as well as repairs to the field’s grandstand, were completed by 2020.

Surveyal of the third-baseline stands, however, impeded renovation progress as boring samples indicated the ground underneath was not compact enough to be built upon without additional reinforcements. Thus, plans for the proposed third-base building were modified to include the necessary supports.

Despite changes to the original design, the building still includes bathrooms for men, women, and families, two changing rooms for teams, an office for the Doubleday Field caretaker, and an umpire’s room.

“There’s really going to be an elevated sense of quality [to the stadium]… I’ve always believed that Cooperstown should have the best,” said Katz, now FOD president.

With only the bleachers left to be installed, project leaders anticipate the Bud Fowler Pavilion to be operational by June. Doubleday Field has stayed open for events despite the renovations, Mayor Tillapaugh noted, and the village anticipates a busy summer following the project’s completion.

“We’re seeing more use of the field for league play and Hall of Fame events, especially this last July, which is exciting,” said Tillapaugh, who explained that, historically, the busiest time period for renting the field has been from September to October.

The Savannah Bananas, in partnership with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, announced that Doubleday Field will be the final stop on their World Tour, playing their Banana Ball Game on September 16 of this year.

The Savannah Bananas are a traveling baseball experience dedicated to improving the game of baseball for fans through experimentation with different rules and performative displays, prioritizing the fan experience.

In addition, contract negotiations are underway between the village, the BBHoF and the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, currently composed of 10 teams, to host games at Doubleday Field.

To learn more about the FOD and their work, visit

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