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
EXHIBIT RECEPTION – 2 p.m. “Oneonta’s Own: The State Militia & the National Guard in Oneonta, 1812 – 2003” features Oneonta-related items on loan from NYS Military Museum, & from the collections of GOHS, Hartwick College. Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St., Oneonta. Call 607-432-0960 or visit www.oneontahistory.org
JURIED ART SHOW – 5 – 7 p.m. Opening reception of the 27th annual regional show, the exhibit “A Singularity of Vision,” by E.A. Pilbeam, and The Leatherstocking Brush & Pallette Club Fine Arts Exhibit. Awards at 6 p.m. Cooperstown Art Association. Call 607-547-9777 or visit www.cooperstownart.com
DOG WALK – 9 a.m. Animal lovers are invited for a walk around Doubleday Field and Cooperstown to support the Susquehanna Animal Shelter. Features music, activities, adoptable animals. Walk around Cooperstown leaves 10 a.m. Pre-registration preferred. Doubleday Field, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-8111 or visit susquehannaanimalshelter.org/dogs-diamond-walk/
ONEONTA DEVELOPMENT – 1 p.m. GOHS presents the Albert E. Morris award to Kitchen Table Conversations for their work preserving Oneonta oral histories. Followed by discussion of past/present economic development. Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St., Oneonta. Call 607-432-0960 or visit www.oneontahistory.org
AWARDS PRESENTATION – 4:30 p.m. Features the presentation of the Ford C. Frick award for baseball broadcasting excellence and the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. Gates open 3 p.m. Followed immediately by the Parade of Legends Doubleday Field, Cooperstown. baseballhall.org/events/Awards-Presentation-2017?date=0
WRITERS CAMP – 1:30-3:30 p.m. Join Jen and the HML Writers Group for a NaNoWriMo style weekly workshop. Jen will present prompts and other activities to get you writing. Registration required. Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St., Oneonta. hmloneonta.org/calendar/
Cooperstown’s Wounded Warrior Nick Clark, in right photo, hits what would lead to the first run in this afternoon’s softball game against Cooperstown firefighters at Doubleday Field. But daughter Stella, top photo, in her mom’s arms, slept through all the excitement. Mom Kirsten chats with Kaitlyn DiPippo by the entryway to the historic field. If you hurry, you can catch the second game, between the Warriors and a combined NYCM/Five Star Subaru team. Mayor Jeff Katz welcomed the team and Dr. Paul Russo, the optometrist and Air National Guard officer, sang the National Anthem. The Warriors played against a combined Oneonta police and firefighter team Saturday afternoon in Damaschke Field. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
In his unmistakable bright yellow, Oneonta’s Brandon Gardner, who’s been running distance events since he was 8 years old, accelerates from the starting line at this morning’s Hall of Fame BASE Race, which starts and end in Cooperstown’s Doubleday Field. This is the sixth BASE race – it stands for “Be A Superior Example.” Fees collected help underwrite a Hall program aimed at encouraging young athletes to embrace healthy – non-steroid – lifestyles. At right, two Cooperstown running pals – Jacob Miller and Patrick Dewey – were competing together again, as they have since their days at Cooperstown Central. They’ve just completed their sophomore years, Jacob at Harvard and Patrick at Edinboro University in western Pennsylvania. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)