DeLazier Memorial Field
Review by Gary
If you ever found yourself in the tiny suburb of New York City that is Bloomingdale, New Jersey, you may happen across a most unusual site. Running along Ballston Street is a towering natural stone wall built with cement that resembles a medieval fortress. Walk through the iron gate beneath the majestic stone arch entrance and behold a baseball field with a Roman Coliseum-esque concrete grandstand!
This J-shaped seating area wraps around from third base and down the first base line to right field. It accommodates fans for both football and baseball as was the rage at the time with multipurpose sports fields (see Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, NJ or War Memorial Stadium in Greensboro, NC). Initial plans called for a new infield, restrooms, lights, scoreboard, and a fence. A roof to cover the grandstand and a clubhouse were also envisioned, but financial problems put the kibosh on these plans and would later spell doom for the franchise.
Built in 1940, DeLazier Memorial Field was home to the expansion Bloomingdale Troopers of the fledgling North Atlantic League. Bloomingdale was one of eight teams that competed in the league’s inaugural 1946 season, formed during the post-World War II minor league baseball boom in the United States. The league and its teams operated as a Class D affiliate of MLB, with the Troopers being a farm club of the Boston Braves in 1947 and the Cleveland Indians in 1948. They are the only professional baseball team to ever play in Bloomingdale. The team was named "Troopers" after the original owner's son, who was killed in the line of duty while with the New Jersey State Police.
In the summer of 1946, Babe Ruth attended a Troopers game at DeLazier Field. A record-setting 1,467 spectators came out to see the Great Bambino. When the Sultan of Swat wasn’t cavorting at the park, the average Trooper game attendance was about 600. The Troopers lasted only three seasons and the league faded soon after. Today, DeLazier Field is used by the Triboro Little League and numerous youth football and baseball games.
The field boasts an enormous chain-linked batting cage/backstop with matching fenced-in dugouts and has no permanent outfield wall. The outfield melds with an adjoining smaller diamond beyond left field and a football gridiron that shares center and right field. The football field sports its own press box, concession stand and scoreboard making DeLazier quite the nice little sports venue. Stop by DeLazier Memorial Field when in Bloomingdale. It’ll be worth the trip.