Thursday September 28, 2023

Historic Negro Leagues Ballpark Hinchliffe Stadium Reopens 

  • New Jersey's Hinchliffe Stadium is now home to the NJ Jackals of the Frontier League, an MLB partner league.
  • $103 million went into restoring the historic stadium, which had been closed since 1997.
Hinchliffe Stadium, built in 1932, is one of the last surviving Negro League stadiums.
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Hinchliffe Stadium, one of the last surviving stadiums of segregated baseball’s Negro Leagues, is open for the first time since 1997 after the completion of a $103 million renovation project.

The historic stadium in Paterson, New Jersey, hosted Opening Day on Sunday for the Frontier League’s New Jersey Jackals against the Sussex County Miners. The Jackals will play home games at Hinchliffe Stadium this season after relocating from nearby Montclair State University. 

Built in 1932, Hinchliffe Stadium was home to Negro League teams like the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Legendary players such as Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, and “Cool Papa” Bell played in games at the stadium, which was condemned in 1997 after basic repairs went unaddressed.

The Charles J. Muth Museum, dedicated to Hinchliffe Stadium’s Negro Leagues history, is slated to open this fall beyond the venue’s center field overlooking the Great Falls National Historical Park. The museum will operate as an official extension of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.

Among those in attendance for Hinchliffe Stadium’s reopening included MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds, MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark, former MLB manager Joe Maddon, Yankees adviser Omar Minaya, former Yankees All-Star Willie Randolph, and comedian Whoopi Goldberg.

Reynolds and Paterson mayor Andre Sayegh began lobbying in 2021 for a “Field of Dreams”-style MLB game to be played at Hinchliffe Stadium once its renovations were completed. 

“This sacred stadium tells the story of the struggle for social justice and American integration,” Sayegh said at the reopening. “Hinchliffe Stadium is a game-changer, and it is the real Field of Dreams. To paraphrase arguably the most famous quote from that movie, ‘If you build it, they will come.’ We have built Hinchliffe Stadium back again, and we are here.”

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