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  • 03.31.15

The Baseball Hall Of Fame Is Going From Cooperstown To Your Smartphone

The Hall of Fame seeks to bring visitors to Cooperstown by showing them how much baseball history is in their own backyard.

The Baseball Hall Of Fame Is Going From Cooperstown To Your Smartphone
[Photo: Flickr user Chris Evans]

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, is a fairly magical place. At least it is if you’re charmed by old-timey things like pinstriped uniforms, athletes with absurd mustaches, and (let’s face it), the kind of twee, quaint game of baseball itself. Still, that is a group that includes a whole lot of Americans (and Canadians–we didn’t forget about you, Blue Jays!), which makes the pilgrimage to Cooperstown something that has a broader appeal than your average visit to a village in upstate New York.

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To encourage visitors to consider the broader context of baseball history, the Hall of Fame has launched an app called BHOF Beacon. Developed in collaboration with branding firm Sullivan and built around geolocation, the app offers dozens of events in baseball history, and the exact locations at which they occurred–from Jackie Robinson’s burial site in the Brooklyn Cemetery to Columbia’s Baker Field, where the first baseball game was televised, to Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium, where Robert Redford’s The Natural was shot. Right now, the app is New York-exclusive–every location takes place either in the city or throughout the state–but the Hall promises that additional locations are coming to encourage road trips through the parts of baseball history that occurred outside the Empire State.


As you visit the sites on the app, you check in to earn “pennants,” so you can impress your friends, if you have any, with the extent of your baseball nerdery–and, of course, a number of those sites are in Cooperstown itself, under a tab called “Make the Pilgrimage.” The number of baseball sites in Cooperstown are limited to one–the Hall itself–but what can you really expect from a village of fewer than 2,000 people? While you’re in town, the app encourages checking in at the site of other cultural artifacts, from the site of the Glimmerglass opera festival to the Ommegang brewery, where the Game of Thrones-themed Valar Morghulis beer is brewed. All men must die, after all, but not all of them make it to Cooperstown.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.

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