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[graphic] Hinchcliffe Stadium
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Panoramic view of Hinchliffe Stadium and the 1936 New York Black Yankees (view larger team photo)
Color photo by and courtesy of Andrew Clark, team photo courtesy of Dick Clark and the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium

Located in Paterson, New Jersey, Hinchliffe Stadium served as the home field for the New York Black Yankees between 1933 and 1937, and then again from 1939 to 1945. Hinchliffe is possibly the sole surving regular home field for a Negro League baseball team in the Mid-Atlantic region.



Interior view of Hinchliffe Stadium
Photo by and courtesy of Andrew Clark

The stadium was named after former Paterson City Mayor, John V. Hinchliffe, who served during planning and construction of the stadium between 1929 and 1932. While the stadium design is attributable to local Paterson architect John Shaw, the design was partially based on a landscape plan submitted to the Passaic County Parks Commission by the Olmsted Brothers of Brookline, Massachusetts, a highly renowned design firm. The cast-concrete, 10,000-seat Art Deco-style stadium contains an athletic field and a running track. Hinchliffe has been used for sporting events such as exhibition, regular season, and champion baseball, football, boxing, track and field events and automotive and motorcycle racing. During the 1940s, the Andrews Sisters and Abbott and Costello performed at Hinchliffe Stadium. Duke Ellington performed one of his last concerts here in 1971.

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Team photos of two Negro National League teams to play at Hinchliffe Stadium: the 1935 Pttsburgh Crawfords (above) and the 1946 Newark Eagles (below)--with Paterson's own Larry Doby in the upper right.
Courtesy of Brian LoPinto and the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium

Achieving significance as the scene of some of the most prodigious baseball in America, Hinchliffe hosted some of the most distinguished Hall-of- Fame ballpayers in America. In its first full baseball season, the New York Black Yankees lost to the Philadelphia Stars in the "Colored Championship of the Nation" at Hinchliffe in September 1933. The team opened with an eight-game winning streak at Hinchliffe the following season. At a game against the Pittsburgh Crawfords on July 28, 1934, future Hall-of-Famers Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, James " Cool Papa" Bell and Oscar Charleson all played, and legendary pitcher Leroy "Satchel" Paige (later to pitch for the Yankees here in 1941) was listed on the Crawfords roster. Paterson native and Hall-of-Fame baseball player Larry Doby was playing at Hinchliffe Stadium with the local high school team in 1942 when he was scouted for the Negro National League's Newark Eagles. Later, when signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1947, Doby became the second black baseball player to break the major league color barrier, and first black player in the American League.



Historic postcard from Thanksgiving Day 1932, the year the stadium opened
Courtesy of the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium

Use of the stadium was gradually limited to high school athletics until lack of funding for maintenance forced its closing in 1997. That same year it was declared one of New Jersey's Ten Most Endangered Historic Sites by Preservation New Jersey. On the stadium's 70th anniversary in 2002, the Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium
was formed to advocate for the redevelopment of the stadium, as the owner, Paterson Schools, was threatening its demolition. The Friends group, partially funded by the Paterson Historic Preservation Commission, was instrumental in listing the stadium in the National Register. Revitalization of the stadium is now being considered as part of a redevelopment of this area of Paterson.

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