If there is one place baseball fans should travel to someday, it’s Cooperstown, New York, the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, which many baseball loyalists know by its nickname – “Cooperstown.” That shrine to the game led to numerous other stops in town for baseball fans to check out, making it more than a one-day trip.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, located at 25 Main St., was founded in 1939 by Stephen Carlton Clark, who, as a local hotel owner, was looking to bring tourists back to town after the Great Depression and Prohibition. Using the claim – later proved false – that Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown, the marketing ploy did indeed bring tourists back to the small village, which has a population of approximately 1,850 based on the 2010 census.
The Hall takes visitors through a history of baseball (both stateside and international), as well as ballparks of the past and present, women in baseball, and the game’s top players. The three-story building features a collection of over 38,000 pieces of memorabilia, and hosts numerous events throughout the season, including the annual Induction Ceremony held in late July.
Abner Doubleday Field, at One Doubleday Ct. in Cooperstown, is located two blocks from the Baseball Hall. With a seating capacity of nearly 10,000, the stadium hosts hundreds of games each year, including the Father’s Day weekend Hall of Fame Classic, as well as the occasional concert or special event. Doubleday Field hosts three games each day from mid-April through mid-September, and two each day from mid-September through mid-October. The stadium is available to rent for games through application to the Village of Cooperstown. Next door to Doubleday Field is the Doubleday Batting Range, equipped with TRU-PITCH batting machines like many of the pro teams use.
The Heroes of Baseball Wax Museum, located at 99 Main St. in the village, features more than 40 true-to-life wax models of past players, complete with historic background displays. It also offers fans a chance to take a swing in the virtual reality batting cages, and to check out the Baseball Bloopers Movie Theatre.
The Cooperstown Bat Company’s retail store at 118 Main St. opened in 1995, following the company’s start in 1981 in the owner’s home. The company creates custom bats for special occasions and youth tournaments as well as collectible bats and display cases and holders. The factory, located at 3152 County Route 11 in nearby Hartwick, offers bat turning demonstrations from June through August, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. ET.
Another bat company, the Where It All Began Bat Company, has its factory and store located 87 Main St. in Cooperstown. The factory is open for tours during the summer, and the retail store is home to the world’s largest wooden baseball bat.