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In today’s hurry-worry living, many phrases get shortened to save time or for convenience, including in baseball, unfortunately. For instance, the combo of Cooperstown baseball is exactly how a lot of people refer to different things in that little town in central New York state.
The term Cooperstown baseball could easily reflect many things, but mostly it refers to youth baseball tournaments, facilities, and operations in and around the town of Cooperstown, New York.
While it’s true that the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is located in the little town of Cooperstown, no true baseball fan refers to it as “Cooperstown baseball.” Usually, fans just say Hall of Fame, or sometimes, HoF, or just Hall.
Baseball fans might use the town name alone, as in, “He’s destined for Cooperstown.” But they will not call the Baseball Hall of Fame Cooperstown baseball.
The town name has become so synonymous with the game that adult enthusiasts of youth baseball have taken advantage of that fact by making it an annual focal point for serious young ball players every year.
Perhaps the most well-known to have adopted the term is Cooperstown Baseball World, a premier international tournament featuring select week-long tournaments for divisions covering ages 12 to 16.
For a month each summer, the organization hosts huge tournaments each week for specific age divisions. For example, here is the breakdown of the tourneys held in summer 2022:
July 2 to 8: for ages 12 and under (12U)
July 9 to 15: 12U and 13U
July 16 to 22: 12U and 14U
July 23 to 29: 15/16U
July 30 to August 5: 14U
With this schedule in mind each year, managers and parents involved with youth baseball organizations nationwide spend months putting together select teams and raising funds to cover their pilgrimage to central New York State.
Since its founding in 1998 by a former Major League Baseball executive, the CBW (as it calls itself) has hosted teams from 47 of the 50 states in America, as well as from the U.S. territories Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, and from Canada, Australia, Guatemala, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Israel, and even Kuwait and Dubai in the Middle East.
Many aspects make the youth experience memorable, including calling participants “campers,” and setting up the operation with intent to introduce players to a “college experience” ~ complete with assistance from the nearby College at Oneonta.
Besides the experience of traveling and playing against the best competition available each year, young players get to see and play on some of the best ballfields and complexes around.
Annually, CBW uses 6 fields, with 4 of them on its own campus. Of those, 2 are artificial turf. Additionally, there are 2 more fields in the town of Oneonta ~ which were built by the CBW organization when it started.
Among the playing fields is Damaschke Field, where Babe Ruth played baseball in the 1920s, and then many years later future New York Yankees stars Bernie Williams, Andy Pettite, and Jorge Posada played as minor leaguers in the 1980s and early 1990s.
At one point the field hosted a Class A team for the Detroit Tigers.
Founded in 1996, Cooperstown Dream Park is a state-of-the-art youth baseball facility with many fields and modern amenities, as well as a home for renown youth baseball tournaments. Cooperstown Dream Park alumni include current and former MLB players like Trey Mancini, Kyle Tucker, Kyle Schwarber, Jacob DeGrom, Bryce Harper, Michael Brantley, Mike Trout, and Kyle Wright.
This youth baseball haven is complete with bunkhouses for players to sleep nights very close by. This is really an operation for youth baseball players to spend a week living, breathing, and eating baseball. Parents can pick a week to go, and begin planning for their little player to compete in a tournament there.
Instead of hosting select tourneys in summer months and letting parents care for their own accommodations, this operation sells packages, where a player would get home and away professional jerseys, a CASV baseball cap, a warm-up jacket, 3 meals a day, air-conditioned bunkhouse, a ticket to the National Baseball Hall of Fame[LINK https://baseballscouter.com/what-happened-to-baseballhalloffame-org/ ], and more.
There are separate packages for coaches, and even for umpires to sign up and do their work there for a week.
- Cooperstown Baseball Classic ~ which tries to make the competition experiences like what is known as “backyard baseball.”
- Cooperstown Classic Baseball Tourney ~ this is actually an annual tournament for teams of adults, who can only use wood bats! It’s played at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Cooperstown Classic Clinic ~ An event at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, during the annual Hall of Fame Classic Weekend centered on the induction of MLB players into the Hall.
- Cooperstown Experience ~ a complex of fields for baseball and softball tournaments.
- Doubleday Field ~ Also during the Hall of Fame Classic Weekend, this field is adult-sized and can actually be used for MLB play.
In short, the national recognition of the town name “Cooperstown” has attracted adults to create things to market for youth baseball play, from ball fields to national tournaments and more.
Of course, all of these operations take advantage of the fact that the little town of Cooperstown is home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. As such, the works baseball and Cooperstown are forever linked.
It’s a well-known old yarn to true baseball fans, that the location was selected because it apparently was where the supposed founder of baseball, Abner Doubleday played the game. It’s a nice bit of myth-making, but no evidence has ever been produced to prove Doubleday played ball in Cooperstown ~ let alone invented the game of baseball!
Still, the honors for the baseball heroes since the Hall opened in 1936, from the first class of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner, and Christy Mathewson, and continuing into the 2023 class which featured only Scott Rolen, have attracted millions of visitors to the HoF facility as well as to that region of New York.
Related articles: What Happened To BaseballHallOfFame.org?
Question: How did the Cooperstown baseball term get coined?
Answer: Most likely, with the invention of the internet, most notably search engines, where parents type the term without knowledge of a specific operation as outlined above. People may not know names like Cooperstown Dream Park, or that the term could refer to several entities; or they’re just lazy and type the 2 words into a search box knowing they’ll get plenty of information.
Q.: Are there any other “Field of Dreams” like youth baseball facilities in the United States?
A.: Yes, many. An example is the Big League Dreams Sports Park in Palm Springs, California ~ which has replicas of classic MLB fields like those at Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, and Wrigley Field