All due respect to Cooperstown, but it has nothing on Hamden. Located 47 miles from Cooperstown, Hamden predates Cooperstown’s tale of the origins of baseball in America by 14 years.
Quoting baseball lore: "On April 2, 1908, the Mills Commission determined that Abner Doubleday originated the game of baseball. In its final report, the seven-man commission states that, ‘The first scheme for playing baseball, according to the best evidence obtainable to date, was devised by Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, NY, in 1839.’”
Overzealous to tout the popularity of baseball in America (and change the story after several gambling scandals in the sport), the Doubleday tale overlooks the first - and very public - mention of a baseball (“bass-ball”) game in America in any newspaper. Appearing in the Delhi Gazette on July 12, 1825, Hamden challenged “an equal number of persons of any town in the County of Delaware, to meet them at any time at the house of Edward B. Chace, in said town, to play the game of BASS-BALL, for the sum of one dollar each game.”
The team of nine players from Hamden boldly welcomed all challengers. The original field was located near the old creamery in Hamden and, ever since, Crawford Field off Launt Hollow (beside the newly reopened Hamden Inn, across from the Hamden General Store) has held the honor as one of the first, if not the oldest existing, baseball fields in America. So, as millions of Americans flock to Cooperstown to celebrate America’s game, tiny Hamden holds a secret that needs to be shared.
On Saturday July 17th, 2021, Hamden will hold its annual baseball game at Crawford Field with festivities starting around 11:30am. Our local heroes will be playing Virginia's Max All-Stars team so this will be semi-serious affair. Oh and Dirt Road Camp is a proud sponsor! This will be the 196th year that Hamden has held its special place in baseball and American history, so don’t miss out!
Batter up! Better yet, grab a glove and you can play too!