News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
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Friends of Doubleday

Doubleday Has A Friend

Friends Of Doubleday Present

Doubleday

Has A Friend

MANY Friends Aim To Raise

$800,000 To Complete Redo

Jeff Katz, former mayor and new Friend of Doubleday president, said the organization aims to raise $800,000 for next year’s centennial of the historic site. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Where some people saw scraps, Jeff Katz and Quinton Hasak saw a fundraising opportunity.

“When the demolition of the third-base bleachers started, the question arose about what we were going to do with them,” said former mayor Jeff Katz, now president of the Friends of Doubleday. “They’re not the original bleachers, but they’re still a thing from the field.”

Someone offered to buy the entire pile for $1,000. “It wasn’t ours to sell, but even so, not for that little,” said Katz. “It’s worth more than fill.”

This Original ‘Friend Of Doubleday’ Might See Dream Come True

Friends of Doubleday Past

This Original ‘Friend

Of Doubleday’ Might

See Dream Come True

Rudy: Even 25 Years Ago, Ballfield Was ‘Worn’

This artist’s rendering shows what the third-base bleachers will look like when complete. The $5.8 million project will also renovate the historic grandstand and improve the Main Street entrance to the Doubleday Lot.

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Cooperstown Baseball B&B proprietor was one of the first Friends of Doubleday when the organization formed in 1994. (AllOTSEGO.com photo)

COOPERSTOWN – A lifelong love for everything baseball.

That’s why a small group of men started the Friends of Doubleday in the early 1990s, according to John Rudy, a retired lawyer and now Cooperstown Baseball B&B proprietor, who was present at the creation.

The story of the Friends’ founding began in the summer of 1985 when Rudy, still practicing law in New York City, and 30 other men from all over the country enrolled in a fantasy baseball camp in Cooperstown.

“We got our own teams and uniforms. We stayed at The Otesaga.  And we all got to play on teams with these former Major League players for three days on Doubleday Field,” he said.  “It was incredible.”

Rudy didn’t go to the 1986 camp, but he enrolled in the 1987 one with 50 other guys.  That summer, though, things went awry.

Friends of Doubleday Offer Tours Of Historic Field

Walk Where Legends Walked

Friends Offer Tours

Of Doubleday Field

By LIBBY CUDMORE• Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Jeff Katz, president, Friends of Doubleday, poses with a the exclusive pin you get when you take a tour of Doubleday Field.

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.

3rd-Base Work Scaled Back To Preserve Historic Ambience
PART TWO: DOUBLEDAY FIELD

3rd-Base Work Scaled Back

To Preserve Historic Ambience

Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch unveils a new artist’s rendering of a scaled-back building on Doubleday Field’s third-base line, more in keeping with the architecture of the grandstand. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTESGO.com)

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

COOPERSTOWN – Future brides, if you dreamed of taking your vows overlooking Doubleday Field and dancing in air-conditioned comfort until the sun comes up, set those dreams aside.

A picnic might be more like it, Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh Kuch suggested this evening at a public hearing on $5.8 million in improvements to Doubleday scheduled to begin this spring.

The more minimalist plan for Doubleday’s third-base line replaced this grander concept.

Plans for a two-story building on the third-base line have been scaled back from a venue for weddings and celebrations to a more modest pavilion that echoes the architecture of the historic 1939 grandstand, the mayor told 30 attendees at the second of two public hearings in the Village Hall Ballroom.

The original plan, with its elegant glassed in reception area, was set aside in the back and forth between the village and the state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, the mayor said.  “We’re really excited about it,” she added.

Granted, from the time the first grant for the project was announced on May 21, 2018, the mayor had predicted the final design would be much different, and it is.

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