An Old Baseball Negro League Stadium May Make A Comeback

Paterson, New Jersey once hosted Negro League games.

It appears that one of the last standing Negro baseball league stadiums in the United States, Hinchliffe Stadium which opened in 1932 in Paterson, New Jersey, will be getting a new life. The New Jersey legislature has decided to give $67.2 million in grants to a developer that plans to renovate the old art deco venue.  Paterson was the home of two Negro League baseball teams, the New York Black Yankees and the New York Cubans in the 1930s and 1940s. The ballpark, which has been closed since 1997, will be renovated as part of a Paterson urban development plan. The stadium could be back in action by August 2022 as a high school stadium that could host soccer, football and track and field events.

The rebuilt venue will seat 7,800 people. Hinchcliffe Stadium will have a restaurant and a museum that will feature Negro baseball league history. Additionally, there will be a parking garage and a senior citizen apartment complex nearby as part of the development. The Paterson stadium not only hosted baseball games but integrated concerts and other entertainment events. Baseball Hall of Famers Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston and “Cool Papa” Bell played there. Duke Ellington performed one of his final concerts there in 1971. The stadium also hosted boxing matches, auto racing and minor league soccer. In the 1940s, the Bud Abbott and Lou Costello comedy team performed their Who’s On First baseball routine at the stadium. Costello was a Paterson native. Also, in the 1940s, the Andrews Sisters sang there. Paterson is New Jersey’s third biggest city and once was an economic powerhouse with a silk industry leading the way but by the 1960s, Paterson fell into a steep decline. The stadium is rundown and looks like a ruin with trees growing through the grandstand.

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