By Ed Townsend
COOPERSTOWN The Tri-Valley Central School Bears faithfully carried on in the tradition of America’s favorite pastime at the “Birthplace of Baseball” in Cooperstown on Friday morning in a non-league game against the Ellenville Blue Devils.
The grand game of baseball and Doubleday Field certainly resonated with the Bears as a number of the players expressed the thrill and great opportunity presented to them in being able to play on the baseball field named after Abner Doubleday, who has been credited as the originator of the sport.
“What a treat,” was heard from several players who noted that this same ball field was the home to the annual Hall of Fame game every summer in which two major league teams played and to this day an annual Major League Old Timers game takes place in this park over the Father’s Day weekend.
Doubleday Field, which seats 9,800 fans, opened in 1939 and now contains metal bleacher seats down both foul lines and the outfield. The field also features bleachers about 10 rows deep from right field to center field.
The smallest part of the park is in left field near the electronic scoreboard and it was in that location where Ellenville right fielder Justin Rose hit a three-run homer over that fence in the sixth inning to tie the score at 3-3.
Ellenville (5-5) loaded the bases in the eighth inning and Shaquan Taylor drew a walk to score the winning run in the Blue Devils’ 4-3 victory.
Joe Mickelson had three hits and Steve McInerney went 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI for T-V, which now has a record of 5-4 on the season.
Those attending or playing in this game could somehow feel the integrity, passion and spirit that this historic baseball field gives.
Following the game, both teams toured the famous Baseball Hall of Fame.
Each year from 1940 to 2008 Doubleday Field hosted the Hall of Fame game which was an exhibition game between two major league squads and traditionally the game was held during the annual induction weekend at the nearby Baseball Hall of Fame.
One of the shop owners on Cooperstown’s Main Street pointed out that Major League Baseball put a stop to the game after the 2008 season, citing “scheduling difficulties” and the fact that there was now interleague play which was formerly featured at the Hall of Fame game.
Doubleday Field employees said the attempt to get a minor league team to play in Doubleday Field fell through in 1996 and the fact that the park does not have lights brings the reality that this probably will never happen.
In 2010 the Cooperstown Hawkeyes, a Collegiate League Team, made Doubleday Field their home park.
The Tri-Valley and Ellenville fans who make the trek up to Cooperstown stood and admired the famous entrance to Doubleday Field and the covered grandstand behind home plate which looks the same as it did 50 years ago and contains no individual seats and just wooden benches with backs.
Note: More photos from the game can be found at bght.blogspot.com.