Doubleday Field is considered by many to be the birthplace of baseball. The site began first functioning as a baseball field in 1920, and became used regularly for the annual Hall of Fame Game starting in 1940. Just two blocks from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, all year round baseball fans from all over the country and indeed the world flock to this sacred ground in the little village of Cooperstown, NY.
As iconic a building the Doubleday grandstand is, they could not have anticipated the sheer volume of people using the facility current day. However, the grandstand has always been the jewel, even though the lack of substantial restrooms and locker rooms made modern-day operations a challenge. Thanks to a grant from Empire State Development, updates are on the way with a new addition to the park.
Saratoga Associates in partnership with Delaware Engineering is in the final stages of design on a new third base building adjacent to the current grandstand to replace the ailing bleachers. The new bleacher structure will also house some new seasonal functions in the form of modern bathrooms, locker rooms, office functions, and a fully accessible covered “upper deck” area to view the game from a seat at a table. Sensitivity to the scale and materials of the new structure was of critical importance to the design team so as to be subservient to its historic big brother 30 feet away.
In addition to the new Third Base Bleacher Building, Saratoga envisioned a new landscaped circulation spine connecting the pedestrian Main Street to the grand entry arch of Doubleday Field. The design incorporates the historic “Sand Lot Kid” statue as well.
With the induction of Derek Jeter to the Baseball Hall of Fame in May of 2020, Saratoga Associates is working diligently to make big improvements to Doubleday Field, while still remaining sensitive and respectful of its national historic importance.