The historical origins of Baseball were probably multi centric and took place in the middle of the 19th century. Precursors to the game go back thousands of years, if not farther. Nonetheless, there is in this country, at the present time, only one recognized "Shrine" to Baseball. The concept of such a place of historic significance goes back to the early 20th century when the game began to grow vigorously and when it had evolved to a sport with universally recognized and consistent rules of participation.
Named after Abner Doubleday (1819-1893), a Union Army General and allegedly the originator of baseball, Doubleday Field is as real as baseball stadiums get. Major League parks may try to create an intimate setting, but Doubleday Field was born that way and never strayed.
The Grandstands erected at Baseball Field in Cooperstown in 1939 represent a truly prototypical "Ball Park," erected on land which was at least a very important part of the early days of baseball.
Doubleday Field , in its current form, with a covered grandstand behind home plate and bleachers nearly surrounding the rest of the field, is an historic landmark. Its distinctive, early 19th century design, and the very fact that Babe Ruth and many other Hall of Famers made game appearances at Doubleday Field, present it as the perfect link to the past.
Today, Doubleday Field is owned entirely by the citizens of the Village of Cooperstown.
What a treat it is for the fans to sit in the Cooperstown sunshine watching ballplayers hustling like there is no tomorrow and having a good time in the process. The experience may be amateur, but it is major league in every way as the passion that the ball players display faithfully carries on in the tradition of America's favorite pastime at the "Birthplace of Baseball" in Cooperstown NY.
Hall of Fame Game:
Each year from 1940 to 2008, Doubleday Field hosted the Hall of Fame Game. Originally a contest between "old-timers" teams, it later became an exhibition game between two major league squads. Traditionally, the game was held during the annual induction weekend of the nearby Baseball Hall of Fame, but in later years it was scheduled in May or June, to accommodate the participating teams' travel schedules. As MLB's last remaining in-season exhibition game, its results did not count in the official standings, and substitute players were generally used to avoid injury to starters. The curiosity factor of two teams from different leagues playing each other in this game outside of a World Series or spring training situation was eventually removed with the launch of interleague play, further reducing the game's cachet.
On January 29, 2008, Major League Baseball announced that the final Hall of Fame Game would be played on June 16, 2008 between the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres, citing "the inherent challenges" of scheduling teams in the modern day as the reason for ending the annual contest. However, the contest was canceled on account of rain.
In November 2008, the Hall of Fame and the MLB Players Alumni Association announced the creation of the Hall of Fame Classic, an exhibition game involving Hall of Famers and other retired MLB players to be played on Father's Day weekend. The inaugural Hall of Fame Classic was played on Sunday, June 21, 2009.
Doubleday Field is used primarily for amateur and American Legion ball; The "Legends of Baseball" rents out Doubleday 3 weeks over the summer. The Cooperstown Hawkeyes of the collegiate summer New York Collegiate Baseball League use the field during the summer. Play at the Plate Baseball also has an annual event at Doubleday Field every September. No professional team has ever called the stadium home, although in 1996 the Northeast League considered placing a franchise in Cooperstown. The idea was rejected: Doubleday Field has no lights, a necessity for a team in a pro league. Also, some felt that Cooperstown should be the home of all baseball, and not just one team. The New York-Penn League has played an annual regular-season game at Doubleday Field since 1991. The nearby Oneonta Tigers served as the home team through 2009. Despite their move to Connecticut, the Tigers will host the 2010 game.