Draper Field

    On June 18th, the first night game ever scheduled [in Hopedale, that is] was played between Hopedale and Milford at Draper
    Field before a capacity crowd, with the locals winning out 11 - 6.  The lighting system was rented for the occasion and
    consisted of 8 towers, placed around the field in such a way as to insure the greatest coverage.  Each tower supported 8 -
    1500 watt bulbs, and the candle power delivered was sufficient to permit maximum vision in all sectors of the field.

    Contributing no little to the success of the season was the new baseball field constructed to the rear of Bancroft Park.  The
    opening day game with Whitinsville was attended by an overflow crowd of 1686 paid.

    Draper Field is located on a 4 acre swampland lot reclaimed with slag and other fill from the shop and the Town.  This rough
    fill was covered and leveled off with 12,000 cubic yards of subfill followed by 4,250 cubic yards of loam so as to insure a
    proper playing surface.  The field is laid out facing the north in order that the setting sun offers a minimum of glare to the
    pitcher, batter and outfielder alike.  The design of the skinned base paths and outer outfield edges is circular, as can be seen
    from the aerial photographs of the field, offering a symmetry pleasing to the eye.  The distance from home plate to the center
    field fence is 388 feet, and to the left and right field fences, 350 feet; 80 feet from the base line to the fence on each side of the
    diamond, and 60 feet from the catcher's box to the backstop. Both the batter's and pitcher's box are filled to a depth of 8
    inches with special clay to prevent the forming of permanent holes.

    Perhaps the outstanding feature of the park however and one that makes it the equal of any major league field in the country
    is the underground sprinkling system that has been installed. This system is a duplicate of the one currently in use at Braves
    Field.  There are 11 outlets spotted over the entire area so that any portion or all of the field can be sprinkled at any time.  One
    sprinkler head can water a circle 170 feet in diameter.  These outlets are protected by a rubber cap that is set flush with the
    surface of the ground with the result that there are no projecting edges of iron caps to catch a ball player's spikes.  In use,
    this rubber cap is removed and the sprinkler head pushed down on a valve and locked with a half turn.  It then starts to
    operate immediately.

    The grandstand, designed to seat 1250 spectators, contains 10 rows of seats, chair high, with a full 18 inches of walking
    space between each row.  The players' dugouts are located at the usual first and third base side of home plate, and will
    easily accommodate a full team compliment.  Underneath the grandstand are separate dressing rooms for the umpires as
    well as the visiting and home teams; each equipped with its own showers.  Here too is a concession stand which was well
    patronized by the many fans who saw the Draper team lead the league by finishing the regular season two games ahead of
    its nearest rival.    Cotton Chats, November 1948.   

    In 1950, a permanent lighting system was erected at the field.  
                                 Now and Then - Draper Field                Draper Menu              Park, Pond and Sports Menu       

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    A few weeks before John Cembruch sent the map above, I had noticed in one of the Barncroft Library
    scrapbooks, a Milford News article from the 1930s about a baseball game at Draper Field. Until then,
    I thought all baseball in Hopedale was played at the Town Park, and Draper Field wasn't built until
    about 1948. I've put it below with a 90 degree turn which might make it easier to read.  DM