Year Completed: 1932 ~ Location: Paterson, New Jersey, USA ~
Original Capacity: 10,000 seats / 2023 Capacity 7,500 seats
Hinchliffe Stadium is one of the last remaining Negro Leagues stadiums in the United States. It is the first National Historic Landmark that honors baseball and the only sporting venue within the boundary of a National Park. Over 20 Hall of Famers graced Hinchliffe's hallowed grounds, many of whom played in the Negro Leagues.
Hinchliffe's horseshoe style is reminiscent of the Polo Grounds, the long-time home of baseball's New York Giants. Paterson's ballpark opened to great fanfare in July of 1932. The sports promoters of the day noticed that when visiting African American ballclubs played at Hinchliffe Stadium, attendance would increase.
The following year, Hinchliffe Stadium was one of the sites for the 1933 Colored Championship of the Nation. Although the series was mired in controversy, that series was the impetus for having steady Negro Leagues games at Hinchliffe beginning with the 1934 season.
Hinchliffe Stadium served as the home park for the New York Black Yankees, New York Cubans, and on occasion, the Newark Eagles.
In 1942, Larry Doby, a fresh-faced graduate of Paterson's Eastside High School was offered a tryout with the Newark Eagles at Hinchliffe Stadium. Doby made the ball club, a day that would change his life forever. On July 5, 1947, Doby made his Major League Baseball debut with the Cleveland Indians as the first African American player in the American League, a mere 11 weeks after Jackie Robinson integrated the National League.
The venue was completed in 1932 and is just steps from Paterson's National Historic Landmark Great Falls. The stadium is surrounded by the city's National Landmark Historic District, the first planned industrial settlement in the nation, chartered in 1792 by George Washington and Alexander Hamilton.
Hinchliffe Stadium is one of only a handful of stadiums surviving nationally that once played host to significant Negro League Baseball.
Italian-born Gaetano Federici (1880-1964) was nothing less than the "Master of Paterson" in the great Renaissance tradition he admired. Federici's career as Paterson's near-official sculptor began in 1905 with the Congressman James Stewart memorial before the County Courthouse on Hamilton St. Scores more Federicis dot the city, including formidable life-size bronzes of Mayors Nathan Barnert (1924) and Thomas McBride (1947) outside City Hall, and exquisite popular culture icons like the Dublin Spring Water-Boy (1931) on Oliver Street.
The sculptor’s connection with Hinchliffe Stadium began in the planning stages around 1931, about the same time that he was named a Schools Commissioner, and sculpted a model of the stadium for public view (shown below). The association lasted through '36, after he completed two bronze reliefs of student athletes (1932 & 1934), and a high-relief cast-stone “Roman Gladiator,” mounted on the stadium's northwest tower, above the concession stand.