Clarke Field has been the home of Princeton baseball for 40 years and is named for Bill Clarke, a former Major League catcher for the Baltimore Orioles who became Princeton’s first head coach upon his retirement in 1909. Clarke coached on-and-off through 1944, compiling a record of 564-322-10 in 36 seasons.
The field took the place of University Field, which stood where the E-Quad stands today. The first game played at Clarke Field came on March 31, 1961 when the Tigers lost to Massachusetts 4-2 in their season opener. Since that game, Princeton has played to a 422-277-6 (.603) record at Clarke Field and has had only eight seasons below .500 at home in that span.
The field is a sunken diamond with hills along both the first and third base lines. Permanent seats are built into the first-base line berm and bleachers are located atop the third-base line berm. Behind the plate, there is an indoor press box with a new public address sound system.
In Princeton’s continuing effort to keep the field in top condition, a brand new infield was installed and the outfield fences were repositioned in the fall of 2005. In the infield, the old grass and dirt was pulled up, tilled, and laser graded, then new sod and infield dirt was put down.
In the outfield, the fences were moved in to make the field a little more fair for hitters. However, even with fences moved in, Clarke Field is still one of the biggest in the Ivy League. Along the outfield fence are signs commemorating Princeton’s Gehrig Division titles, Ivy League titles and NCAA tournament appearances. Princeton’s Clarke Field scoreboard site is just over the wall in left-center field.
Last season, a pair of outdoor batting cages were built just outside the left-field line. The cages have field turf on the bottom and have provided the team with more areas to work while outside.
THE JADWIN PIT
The Princeton baseball and softball teams have been using the pit in Jadwin Gym for many years as an indoor training facility, but thanks to a major renovation during the fall of 2004, the teams know have a top-notch indoor training location.
To begin the project, the ground was leveled and state-of-the-art field turf was installed over the whole surface. The turf features a baseball diamond complete with bases, home plate and batters boxes, which will allow the team to simulate hitting and fielding situations while indoors.
The pit also contains pitching mounds and batting cages to allow players from different positions to work on their skills at the same time.