The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., is among the most historic venues in the nation. Its baseball memorabilia, pictures, videos and more represent the stories, the glory and the history of America’s national pastime. Now all that rich history can be enjoyed in a 21st century format: a mobile app from the Cooperstown shrine.
The app, called BHOF Beacon, is available at no cost in iOS through iTunes. It provides an exclusive location-based mobile tool that opens fans' eyes to baseball history all around them and is designed to inspire people to plan a road trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
The app was supported by Empire State Development and the I Love NY Division of Tourism and built by Sullivan, a brand engagement firm. Donny Lowe, director of digital strategy for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, spoke about the app and what it offers baseball fans around the country.
“We were looking for a way to connect with baseball fans no matter what their location was across the country," Lowe said. "One of the things we find is that a visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame is on every baseball fan’s bucket list, and we wanted to figure out a way to connect with those fans, tap into their passion for baseball and ultimately lead them on their journey to Cooperstown.
"BHOF Beacon gives us a platform to highlight historic baseball locations across the country and feature one-of-a-kind items from our collection of 40,000 three-dimensional artifacts, 135,000 baseball cards, the over 3 million pieces in our library and 300,000 photographs.”
So you might be asking yourself, how does the Cape Cod Baseball League figure into all of this? The Cape League’s 10 ballparks are featured as stops on the app. Because of the Cape League's tremendous impact on Major League Baseball, Craig Muder, director of communications at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, couldn't pass up the opportunity to include the Cape League in the application.
“The Cape Cod League’s rich history is woven into the popularity of baseball, and the museum documents that history every day in Cooperstown," Muder said. "The Cape League remains one of the gems of the game. Amateur baseball has long been key to the development of big league players. The Cape League provides a platform for some of the best players in the country to get valuable experience along the way to the majors.”
The app is used to highlight places where baseball history was made and continues to be made. It features “Use Places” to see what locations in baseball history are near you, as well as what pivotal moments occurred there. It also encourages adventurous fans “to go on curated trips built around baseball’s biggest themes,” Lowe said.
It also features “My Stats,” to track your progress and manage your profile. “Follow that ‘Stache” was launched prior to the 2015 MLB All-Star game so fans in Cincinnati could explore all of the mustache statues placed around the city.
Lowe spoke more in depth about the features of the application. “The app is location-aware and will provide a notification whenever you are near a historic location. When you click on the highlighted place, you will find a historic or present day image of the location along with historic moments that happened in that location. Those moments will feature photos, videos or audio.
"The Beacon transforms the entire nation into a living, breathing exhibit of the game we all know and love. Using its ever-growing collection of places and moments, the Beacon alerts you when you’re near baseball history, invites you to check in and earn points, and provides pictures, video, and audio to deepen your experience.”
Judy Walden Scarafile, president of the Cape League, also commented on the application. “We were very excited when Craig Muder of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown invited us to participate. He requested a photo of each of our 10 fields and our turnaround time set a record! Each team picked out its best photo and that was the start. It is quite an honor to be included in this app that eventually leads everyone to Cooperstown.”
Wherever the location, baseball history is engraved there. The app is the key element to understanding what baseball means to each city and how the game has changed over the years. It's the perfect extension to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and should serve as a fun and useful tool for baseball fans around the nation and beyond.