University plans to move to Hoy baseball field

Hoy Field, home of Cornell baseball since 1922, is set to relocate from its current location on the central campus to farm plots near the intersection of Ellis Hollow Road and Game Farm Road, as noted in plans proposed by the University last month.

The proposed site is east of the East Hill Plaza, Reis Tennis Center and Oxley Equestrian Center – much further out than the current, centrally located land.

Plans filed by the University show the location of the new field in relation to East Hill Plaza, Ellis Hollow Road and Game Farm Road.

While the new Hoy Field lacks the convenience of its predecessor, it would have a 15,160 square foot support building to house locker rooms, batting cages and a press room while still matching occupancy. of 500 seats from the current site. The land would use synthetic turf and could accommodate up to 80 parking spaces.

The proposed move allows for the construction of additional buildings on the central campus while modernizing field facilities to bring them into line with other Division I programs.

Prior to this development, Hoy Field’s future was murky. The university had spent the last decades erecting new buildings in the direct vicinity of Hoy Field, the most notable examples being Rhodes Room in 1990 and Bill and Melinda Gates Hall in 2014. These developments have reduced the possibility of keeping a baseball field in the middle of campus, with players regularly hitting foul balls in the adjacent Gates Hall.

As early as 2008, the University indicated its plans to relocate Hoy Field and replace it with “Hoy Green,” a formal green space that could include a new college building and redesigned walkways and pedestrian streets.

If the plan is approved in the next few months, construction will begin in early 2022 with a view to using the new field starting in the spring of 2023. If the plan is approved, Hoy Field’s departure from its current location would leave it behind. a rich history that has accumulated over nearly a century.

The origin of Hoy Field comes from its namesake, David “Davy” Hoy ’91, University Registrar and dedicated advisor to the baseball team for 30 years. Hoy advocated a move from Percy Field, which was on the current Ithaca High School campus, to the central campus. When the new field was built in 1922, it was named in honor of Hoy.

Perhaps the most important event in the history of Hoy Field took place early in its existence. All-time great baseball player Lou Gehrig left his mark at Hoy Field despite only playing one season of college baseball at Columbia.

In a game between the Reds and the Lions in April 1923, Gehrig, undeterred by the fact that only one player before him had recorded a home run at Hoy Field, hit the most notable homerun in the history of Hoy Field.

“That right field at Cornell had a high fence, then there was a road behind, then a forest. ” recalled Columbia second baseman George Moisten and Gehrig teammate. “Lou lifted his home run in the forest. I looked at Coach Coakley, sitting next to me on the bench, and he was banging his head in wonder.

That legendary home run – said to be the longest in Hoy Field history – propelled Columbia to an 8-3 victory over Cornell that day. Not only did Gehrig hit a triple in addition to his homerun, but he also thwarted the Reds sticks, striking out 10 batters in six innings.

Despite the growing encroachment of other college building projects, there was still hope that Hoy Field would retain its place on the central campus. The grassed area was replaced by AstroTurf in 2007, and Cornell Athletics recently undertook a field improvement project in 2017. But with the University now taking steps to complete the move, the days for the current iteration of Hoy Field seem to be numbered.

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