Paterson, NJ

Hinchliffe Returns To Life Today After $103 Million Restoration

The Hinchliffe Stadium oval, with the Paterson Great Falls in the foreground, has been restored and reopened.Photo byParkerjh, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

By Dan Schlossberg

Hinchliffe Stadium is back.

The one-time Negro Leagues ballpark, where Larry Doby Sr. and other future Hall of Famers played, will have a ribbon-cutting today in front of a flock of important guests.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), comedian Whoopi Goldberg, and a handful of former black stars will gather to kick off a new chapter for the 90-year-old ballpark.

Reduced from an original 10,000 seats to 7,800, Hinchliffe has a distinctive oval shape and a regular tenants in the Jersey Jackals, a Frontier League team that plays its first home game tomorrow.

Projected as the cornerstone in the comeback of once-blighted Paterson, NJ, the ballpark has a food court, a museum, a 315-space parking garage, and even 75 units of housing for seniors.

The one-time home of the New York Black Yankees and New York Cubans sits a stone’s throw from the Paterson Great Falls, a 77-foot waterfall that is part of a National Historic Park. Alex Hamilton once harnessed its hydroelectric power to service the growing industrial power of Paterson in the late 18th century.

The return of the stadium, built in 1932, marks a major success story for Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh and developer Baye Adofo-Wilson, both of whom participated in the original groundbreaking more than two years ago.

At that time, the concrete stadium had weeds growing in the bleachers and trees poking through the asphalt that covered the original playing surface.

The stadium will be owned and operated by the Paterson school district, which hopes to revive its annual Thanksgiving Day high school football classic on the site.

Hinchliffe is one of four surviving Negro Leagues parks. The oldest is Rickwood Field in Birmingham.

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg lives in Fair Lawn, NJ, less than a half-hour from Hinchliffe. He’s currently writing a book on Hank Aaron, who not only began his professional career in the Negro Leagues but was the last active big-leaguer who played in them. Reach Dan via e.mail at

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