COOPERSTOWN – Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch will update the public on several village projects due to begin right after Labor Day at an informational meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28, in Village Hall’s second-floor ballroom, which is accessible by elevator from the Fair Street entrance.
Topics to be covered include the waste-water treatment plant improvement project, Pioneer Park upgrades, the continuation of the Downtown Pedestrian Improvement Project (TEP), and design and construction plans for Doubleday Field. Engineers and contractors will be on hand to answer questions.
COOPERSTOWN – If you’ve ever dreamed of setting foot on historic Doubleday Field, Jeff Katz and the Friends of Doubleday can make that happen.
“People always want to get on the field,” he said. “There’s lots of signage telling people the story of Doubleday, but it doesn’t get them out there.”
The Friends of Doubleday – Katz is president – have begun offering tours 8-9 a.m. every Wednesday and Thursday to take fans through the grandstand, into the dugout and onto the historic field, where they can take pictures or take a run around the bases.
Jeff Idelson, Baseball Hall of Fame president, left, and Hall board Chairman Jane Forbes Clark, right, stand with members of 30 Major League Baseball teams who made up the roster for the 2019 Hall Of Fame Classic game at Doubleday Field this afternoon in Cooperstown. Despite some sprinkles, professional ballplayers gave their fans a great game as well as T-shirt give-aways, children’s competitions, as well as signing autographs and memorabilia. At right, Maria Noto, Cooperstown, backed by the Cooperstown Sign Language club, sings the National Anthem at the beginning of the afternoon’s game. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
From the starting line in front of Doubleday Field a few minutes ago, Cooperstown’s Frankie Panzarella, top photo, center, and his pal Justin Wolfe, left, led the 8th annual BASE Race 5K “Fun Run” now underway through the streets of the village, the first activity in a day of Hall of Fame offerings. At 10 a.m., ribbon-cutting on the new exhibit on baseball cards, “Shoebox Treasures,” will happen at 25 Main. The 11th annual Hall of Fame Classic, featuring six Hall of Famers and many MLB standouts, begins at 1:05 p.m. at Doubleday; tickets are still on sale at the Hall. Between Frankie and Justin is Bradley Weldon of Cooperstown, who is running with Ashlyn Wolfe, an assistant Otsego County Dairy Princess. Inset, the Hall’s Shirley Tyler, who is emceeing, chats with the two celebrity starters, Grant Balfour, who played with four teams, from the Twins to the A’s, and, with back to camera, Ryan Rowland-Smith, who played with the Mariners and Diamondbacks. Both are rare Australian players who made it into the Majors. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
LEGENDS GAME – 1:05 p.m. The 11th annual Hall of Fame Classic 7-inning game w/6 HOF legends & players from all-30 MLB teams will play 7-inning game. Tickets $11-12.50. Pregame Home Run Derby at noon. Doubleday Field. Info, 607-207-9519, www.BaseballHall.org
COOPERSTOWN – After weeks of debating T-Mobile’s proposed 25-foot tower atop the Key Bank building, tonight Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch was blunt.
With the village planning $5.8 million in upgrades to Doubleday Field, “a significant historical landmark” behind the bank building, “there is no consensus or eye to approving the project at this location,” she declared at the end of a special meeting on the issue.
PARADE – 6 p.m. Following awards presentation, Hall of Famers ride trucks down Main Street to special reception at Baseball Hall of Fame. Staging on Doubleday Field, Cooperstown. 607-547-7200 or visit baseballhall.org
Hail Doubleday! Historic Ballfield To Be
Reinvented For 21st Century Fans’ Needs
Too much discussion about Doubleday Field in recent years has centered on how it
was once considered the Birthplace of Baseball, and now isn’t.
That’s not a productive conversation.
Let’s stipulate that boys played baseball in Phinney’s Field in the mid-1800s, as boys did across the country. Let’s stipulate that Abner Doubleday was at West Point in 1839, when he purportedly invented baseball here. Let’s stipulate that, yes, something with a bat and ball was played as far away as Poland as long ago as the Middle Ages.
No matter. Doubleday Field has played a central role in Cooperstown becoming the locus of the National Game, which in turn led to the founding of the National Baseball Hall of Fame here instead of Hoboken, which in turn fueled Otsego County tourism, which in turn led to the youth baseball camps that now underpin our cornerstone local industry.
In announcing a $1 million grant the other day toward $5.8 million in renovations, state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, caught the personal dimension of that living history. He remembered seeing Mickey Mantle hit a single there, (although a pinch-runner took it from there.) One of the Wounded Warriors told him, with awe, the other year: “Babe Ruth sat in the dugout where I’m sitting now.”
In short, Doubleday Field IS historic.
So the renewed interest in renovating Doubleday Field is as welcome as it is overdue.
In addition to Seward’s Million, another $3 million is expected any day from the Empire State Development Corp., (which this week announced the opening of The Wick, a boutique hotel in
Hudson, a $10 million project – the state DOES do this sort of thing, as it should.)
The resulting Doubleday Field – with a green swath leading from Main Street to the main entrance, a historic exhibit beneath the grandstand, and a multi-purpose building (offices, restrooms, a pressroom and space for public gatherings) – will cement this national icon further in community life.
Cooperstown’s new mayor, Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch, immediately began promoting the project on taking office April 1, winning the endorsement of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Commission – necessary to receive the grant – just days after taking the oath.
She appointed her predecessor, Jeff Katz, as president of the Friends of Doubleday, which will assure continuity as things move forward.
Tillapaugh has a sensible priority list: As soon as the money is in hand, no matter how much, work will begin on the most important things first. No waiting.
This should assure that something – fingers crossed that is will be largely complete – will be in place in time to celebrate Doubleday Field’s centennial properly, sometime next year or in 2020.
Hail Doubleday!, (wherever or whenever baseball emerged from the primeval maw.)
Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson and Chairman Jane Forbes Clark, far right, pose for a team photo with Hall of Famers and Major Leaguers who came out to play ball in Doubleday Field for the Hall of Fame Classic game Saturday. Among them were Rollie Fingers, Eddie Murray, Tim Rains, Ozzie Smith, Ryan Sweeney, Chris Gomez, A.J. Pierzynski, Tim Crabtree, Todd Zeile and more. Between innings fans clamored at the gates around the fields, hoping to get autographs from the star players. At right, Goose Gossage gives a fist-bump to Russle Slamowitz and his father Adam who traveled from Reno, Nevada, especially for the game. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
HOF CLASSIC – Noon. Get hyped for the game with the Home Run Contest then enjoy the 9th Hall of Fame Classic Game. First pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Doubleday Field, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-7200 or visit baseballhall.org/events/classic-18?date=0
LIVE AUCTION – 3 p.m. Find beautifully painted tables, chairs, and paddles for auction. General Clinton Park, 2507 Hinkley Ln., Bainbridge. Call 914-262-3216 or visit www.jerichoarts.com