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  • Writer's pictureGregory Koch

Clarke Field – Princeton Tigers


Photos courtesy of Gregory Koch


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71

Clarke Field Western Way & Fitzrandolph Rd Princeton, NJ 08540

Year Opened: 1961 Capacity: 850

 

Baseball in Scenic Princeton

Located on the campus of Princeton University, Clarke Field is home to the Princeton Tigers' baseball team. The ballpark is named after former major leaguer Bill Clarke, who later became Princeton's first baseball coach.


2024 is likely the last season for Clarke Field, as it will be knocked down and replaced by the Quantum Institute on the same site. No plans for a new baseball stadium have officially been announced, but there have been reports that they will move to the other side of Carnegie Lake next to the new softball stadium.


Food & Beverage 0

There is no food or drink for sale at Clarke Field, but fans are free to bring their own.

Atmosphere 2

Clarke Field is built sunken into a hill right next door to the Princeton football stadium. There are some chairbacks down the first base line built into the hill, but many of these seats will have their view partially obstructed by the dugout. There are also bleachers located directly behind home plate, on field level up the first base line, and on top of the hill down the third base line. These offer a better view of the field, but do not have backs. A scoreboard in the outfield also shows the line score.


Overall, a Princeton baseball game is a pretty basic experience. Music is played during breaks in the action, but not loudly, and other than that, it's really just the game. Baseball purists will love it, while some others may get bored.





Neighborhood 5

Princeton has that feel of a small college town. but there is certainly plenty going on here. The Dinky Bar & Kitchen, named for the NJ Transit line that connects the Princeton campus with Princeton Junction, is located in a former train station near campus. There are many more options in downtown Princeton, ranging from hoagies to seafood to pizza and more. Parking may be a challenge downtown, but there is much to do there even if you have to walk a bit from your car.

Fans 2

Princeton baseball only draws a few dozen fans per game, mostly friends and family of the players. The crowd here is not particularly loud, especially with them spread out over several sets of seats. While they may make some noise following big plays, for the most part it is almost completely silent here. College baseball in the northeast often doesn't have many fans, but Princeton has a small crowd even for this region.


Access 3

Free parking is available in the Stadium Drive Garage about a five minute walk from the stadium. The procedure may be slightly different on weekday afternoons, so check the Princeton website if this applies to you. The Princeton Branch of NJ Transit, more commonly known as the Dinky, is a short commuter rail line (the shortest in the country in fact) connecting Princeton's campus with Princeton Junction on the Northeast Corridor. From the station, the stadium is about a 20-25 minute walk.


There are no real restrooms at Clarke Field itself. A single port-a-potty is available down the right field line, or fans can head into Princeton Stadium next door and use the real restrooms there. While the port-a-potty may be occupied at times, there should never be a line in the football stadium as those restroom were designed to accommodate football crowds several orders of magnitude more than what you will see here.


Return on Investment 5

There is no charge for admission to a Princeton baseball game, or any other expenses you will incur besides gas. This makes a Princeton baseball game a great value.


Extras 3

One bonus star for the Bill MacCoy memorial down the right field line by the entrance. MacCoy was a star Princeton baseball player who passed up the opportunity to go pro to join the Air Force during World War II. He was killed tragically in a training flight a week before he would have received his pilot's wings.


Next to the memorial is a flagpole showing not just the American flag, as you would expect, but the flags of Princeton and whoever their opponent is that day.


Finally, check out the signage on the outfield walls honoring Princeton's Ivy League Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances.




Final Thoughts

College baseball is often not a huge deal in the northeast, and Princeton is no exception. Still, with the stadium closing after this season, fans only have one more chance to get down to Clarke Field before it's too late. For those with some connection to the program, or who just want to see free baseball regardless of where, Clarke Field is worth the visit. It is in a gorgeous setting on an Ivy League campus, and although the experience is barebones, it is still a nice play to take in a ballgame.

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