Locate Finger Lakes Business Journal

Auburn Doubledays: A Field of Dreams in the Finger Lakes

As our nation celebrates another birthday, it’s the season to give thought to baseball, our American pastime. And there’s no better place than the Finger Lakes to see a game showcasing the major league stars of tomorrow.

The Finger Lakes region has been home to organized professional baseball for well over a century. In 1902, Auburn became the first home office of Minor League Baseball, known then as the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.

Auburn and Geneva were among the original teams in the New York-Penn League (NYPL), and Newark followed years later. Today, Auburn continues it NYPL affiliation, while Geneva and Newark host high-level college athletes in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

Auburn today hosts the baseballs legends of tomorrow

The Auburn Doubledays are a minor league baseball team of the NYPL and the Class A Short Season affiliate of the Washington Nationals. They play their home games at Leo Pinckney Field at Falcon Park, a 2,800-seat stadium that opened in 1995. Falcon Park was originally built in 1927 on the same site. The team is owned and operated by Auburn Community Baseball.

Auburn Doubledays Logo

The New York-Penn League will celebrate its 80th anniversary next year.

Many baseball legends enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown played in the New York-Penn League. They include all-stars such as Warren Spahn, Tony Pérez, Randy Johnson, Phil Niekro, Robin Yount, Wade Boggs, Jim Rice, and Nellie Fox. Yankee greats Jorge Posada and Don Mattingly are in the New York-Penn League Hall of Fame, and may yet receive induction in Cooperstown.

Auburn natives Leo Pinckney and Charlie Wride are among those honored in the NYPL Hall of Fame. Pinckney was a long-time president of the NYPL and Wride was its historian. Both are also recognized on the Auburn Baseball Wall of Fame at Falcon Park, alongside other notable contributors and players such as Barney Hearn, Vince Klein, Mel Stottlemyre, Tug McGraw, Chuck Savage, Dr. Thomas Stapleton, Bill Graney, and Pat Penafeather.

Adam Winslow, 38, is general manager of the Auburn Doubledays. He first landed the role in 2011, after 10 years working for professional sports teams in Rochester.

He spent two years with the Doubledays before leaving for a private sector job that allowed him to spend more time with his family. Near the end of 2016, the general manager position reopened and Winslow was recruited for his second at-bat.

Born and raised in Auburn, Winslow has fond childhood memories of the ballpark, watching the then Auburn Astros.

“There is a rich history of baseball in this community,” said Winslow. “We’ve had some form of professional baseball in Auburn since the late 1800s.”

The city’s NYPL franchise was established in 1958. The team was first known as the Auburn Yankees, an affiliate of the New York Yankees. It has since competed under various names as the farm team for several Major League Baseball teams, including the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros, and Toronto Blue Jays.

The Doubledays and its mascot, Abner are named for Abner Doubleday, the Civil War general and one-time Auburn resident dubiously credited with inventing the game of baseball. Abner wears number 96 in honor of the team’s re-naming in 1996.

Take me out to the ball game

Winslow describes the ballpark experience as “majestic.” He said the club aims to provide a community atmosphere, where people of all ages and backgrounds can come together for a few hours of fun, entertainment and escape from the daily grind.

The fan base has undergone a revival of sorts, according to Winslow.

“Our demographic is getting larger,” he said. “There’s been a boost in young families, 30-45 year olds with kids. And we’re seeing rapid growth among 18-25 year olds.”

Like the famous line from the movie “Field of Dreams” – if you build it, they will come. But for the Doubledays, what happens off the field is just as important as what happens on the field.

“We truly pride ourselves on the whole experience, not just the baseball game,” he said.

Fans will see several upgrades at Falcon Park this year, including a larger deck area, two new platforms behind home plate for small group gatherings, a private club for season ticket holders, and an improved kids zone. There are also additional concessions offering healthy options, New York State and local craft beers, and wine and wine slushies from the region’s Montezuma Winery.

The Doubledays organization is always focused on ways to improve the fan experience, Winslow said. It works closely with the city of Auburn and consistently seeks feedback from the community.

“Our business will not grow unless somebody comes through the gates for the first time, and has such a good experience that they come back a second time,” he said. “Without those two pieces, we wouldn’t be here.”

A community-minded ball club and business

For Winslow, running a baseball team is like running a business. With the help of assistant GMs Shane Truman and Andy Collier, he manages and oversees all aspects of the club’s operation, including the hiring of employees, sales and marketing, purchasing, team operations, event planning, and community relations. Winslow is ultimately responsible for maximizing sales, minimizing expenses and turning a profit.

The front office employs 19 people, and the club brings on 70-100 seasonal workers each year from the local area.

Sixty-five to 75 percent of the club’s spending stays local, going to such places as food and beverage vendors, hotels and bus companies.

“I try to buy as much local as possible because I believe in our local economy,” Winslow said. “We can’t grow without each other.”

Each of the team’s 38 home games this year will bring awareness to important community issues, including education, mental health, sustainability, and hunger.

After all, baseball lasts a season, but a community is for a lifetime.

“As long as we continue to grow and keep an asset like this in the community, that’s the goal,” said Winslow. “If we can do that and contribute in a way that’s fun for the people who come here and makes Auburn a better place, that’s what it’s about for me and my family. That’s the legacy I want to leave my kids.”

Enjoy post-game fireworks on Wednesday, July 4th when the Auburn Doubledays take on the State College Spikes. For ticket information, visit or call 315-255-2489.

Auburn Doubledays Baseball Club

Leo Pinckney Field at Falcon Park
130 North Division Street
Auburn, NY 13021

Twitter: @Doubledays
Instagram: @auburndoubledays

Coming soon in Locate Finger Lakes Business Journal: More on the Geneva Red Wings and Newark Pilots of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

Krista Gleason is a contributor to the Locate Finger Lakes Business Journal. She is a freelance writer and owner of Gleason Writes in the beautiful Finger Lakes.

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