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  • Paul Baker

Don '63 and Chris '88 Cook Field – Fairfield Stags


Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.43

Don '63 and Chris '88 Cook Field

1073 North Benson Road

Fairfield, CT 06824



Year Opened: 1951

Capacity: 350

 

The More Things Change

 

Baseball has been played at the site of the Alumni Baseball Diamond since Fairfield University first sponsored a varsity team in 1951. Aside from renovations completed in 2017, the facility has remained largely the same over its 70-plus years of use. However, big changes were announced in 2024.

 

In January it was announced that the facility had been renamed the Don ’63 and Chris ’88 Cook Field in honor of former Athletics Director C. Donald Cook. The elder Cook served as Director of Athletics from 1971-1986. He was the first President of the MAAC and is a member of the Fairfield Athletic Hall of Fame. Cook was co-captain of the Stags baseball team in 1963 and served as head coach from 1966-1984. The field’s new name also honors Cook’s son, Christopher, who died in 2014 after a long illness. The younger Cook also played on the baseball team while a student at Fairfield.

 

Fairfield competes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, which consists mainly of teams located in the metro New York City area. The Stags have qualified for two NCAA Tournaments, in 2016 and 2021. One Fairfield alumnus, Keefe Cato, has played in the Major Leagues.

 

Food and Beverage 0

 

There are no concessions available at Cook Field. Veteran Stag fans will bring their own refreshments to enjoy during the game. During Stadium Journey’s latest visit, a food cart was parked outside the entrance to the ballpark, but it was not open. It looks like it’s only there for lacrosse games.

 

Atmosphere 2

 

Baseball at Cook Field is a baseball purist’s dream. There are not a whole lot of bells and whistles here to distract from the action taking place on the field. The solid PA system at Cook Field is put to good use for between innings music and lineup announcements. A basic scoreboard in left field displays game information.

 

For a more unique perspective at a Fairfield Stags game, take in all or part of the game from the outfield. Some dorms overlook Cook Field in right-center field, and you can find students enjoying the action on a nice spring afternoon, heckling visiting outfielders and unwinding from their studies with a few beverages. Mixed in with these students are several family members of Stag ballplayers. It’s a good-natured, fun time, and a much different experience than what you will find in the grandstand.

 


Neighborhood 3

 

Fairfield University is located in affluent Fairfield, CT, a town with a population of about 60,000 located on Connecticut’s “Gold Coast” in the southwest corner of the state. Forbes Magazine rated Fairfield as the ninth best place to live in the United States, and the best place in the northeast.

 

Fairfield University is a typical northeastern campus with lots of green space and a great college vibe. The University is located in a largely residential area, with not much for visitors to do in the immediate vicinity. Just a mile or two south of the campus is Route One, which is a commercial zone filled with restaurants and lodging options. Visitors to Fairfield will likely search out this area before or after the game.

 

Within walking distance of Cook Field is The Levee, Fairfield’s on-campus sports bar. Serving a limited menu of basic Italian fare and beverages, it’s a decent option right after a Stags game. Also within walking distance of Cook Field are Fairfield’s other athletic facilities, including Leo Mahoney Arena and Rafferty Stadium.

 

Fans 2

 

Crowds at Cook Field can be classified as “friends and family”, as attendance generally ranges from 100-250 people. Many of the fans in attendance have some kind of connection with the players on the field, and as a result are quite knowledgeable about the team and enthusiastic in their support of the Stags.

 

Access 4

 

Fairfield University is located on a beautiful wooded campus in suburban Fairfield, in a region known as the “Gold Coast” of Connecticut. The campus is easily reached from Interstate 95, which travels just a few miles to the south of the university.

 

Driving is the primary method for arriving at the Fairfield University campus.  Visiting fans will simply take exit 22 (North Benson Road-Route 135) off of Interstate 95 and head north for about a mile on North Benson Road. Fairfield University will be on your left. Be warned that the traffic in this part of Connecticut is often heavy, and traffic jams are routine. Out of town fans looking to avoid the legendary Connecticut traffic with alternative methods of transportation can take an Amtrak train to the Fairfield train station. From there, shuttle busses arrive regularly to transport students (and Stag baseball fans) to the campus 10 minutes away. More information can be found here.

 

While Fairfield is a wonderful place to live, it’s not exactly a destination location. Fans coming to the area will most likely continue on to New Haven, located a half hour north on I-95, Hartford, an hour north on I-91, or New York, an hour south on I-95. The casinos of eastern Connecticut are located about 90 minutes to the east.

 

The Cook Field’s grandstand seats 350 fans with a combination of chairback and bleacher seating. Fans who do not want to sit for the entire game can stake out some standing room along the top row of the grandstand. Additional vantage points are located along various points of the outfield. As mentioned above, many students will hang out here, where the dorms are located.

 

There are plenty of parking options a short walk from Cook Field. A small lot adjacent to the ballfield and Rafferty Stadium fills up quickly, so it’s probable that you’ll have to park in either the lot beyond the left field fence, the lot on the opposite side of Lessing Field, or the garage across the street from the Leo Mahoney Arena. All are a short walk from the Cook Field grandstand. There are no bathroom facilities at the ballfield, but fans in need of rest rooms will find clean facilities at the neighboring Walsh Athletic Center, just on the other side of Rafferty Stadium.



Return on Investment 5

 

There is no charge for attending baseball games at Fairfield University. Parking in the lots nearby Cook Field are also free of charge. Fans are welcome to bring their own refreshments into Cook Field, meaning that an afternoon of Stags baseball won’t cost visiting fans a cent.

 

Extras 1

 

There isn’t a whole lot going on at a Fairfield baseball game that can be considered extra. We’ll award one extra point for the beautiful Fairfield University campus, including the area around the ballpark. Tree-lined streets, interesting backdrops beyond the outfield fence, and Rafferty Stadium located beyond the right field foul line ensure that there is plenty to look at in Fairfield.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Cook Field is one of those simple, yet picturesque little ballparks that dot the college baseball landscape across the country. While not a fancy or enormous ballpark, it suits this small college perfectly.

 

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.

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