Hinchliffe Stadium Back & Better Than Ever

May 22, 2023
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In 2009, André Sayegh embarked on a journey to Rickwood Field, a surviving Negro leagues stadium in Birmingham, AL. A passionate baseball enthusiast born and raised in the city of Paterson, Sayegh returned from the trip with a vision of restoring Hinchliffe, should he ever become the city's mayor. After two unsuccessful election attempts and one victory, Now Paterson Mayor André Sayegh finally put his plan into action. Sayegh expressed his desire to make a significant impact for Hinchliffe and history alike, stating, "I aimed to hit a home run for Hinchliffe and history." And that he did.

In 2014, Bob Kendrick visited Hinchliffe Stadium with a sense of hope. As the president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., he had traveled to the east coast for a ceremony that recognized Hinchliffe as a National Historic Landmark. The stadium is one of the last remaining ballparks from the Negro leagues era, but it was difficult to tell at the time. Hinchliffe had been abandoned since 1997, and the field was covered in pavement. Overgrown vegetation, graffiti, and shattered glass littered the stands where fans had once watched future Hall of Famers perform. Idols like Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, Martín Dihigo, Monte Irvin, and of course Paterson's own Larry Dobie, all played in Hinchliffe. Local products like Larry Doby (the first African American in the American League) followed Jackie Robinson in the integration of MLB.

Hinchliffe Stadium Before & After

Less than a decade later, Hinchliffe Stadium has undergone a massive redevelopment project costing over $100 million. This was the largest development project in the city's history. The initiative, which broke ground in April 2021, includes a multisport athletic facility, a preschool, restaurant, event space, parking garage, affordable senior housing, and even a museum dedicated to the venue's glory days from the 1930s to the '80s. This weekend, professional baseball games took place at the site. Now Mayor André Sayegh and Bob Kendrick couldn't be happier.

"To stand on those hallowed grounds, where legendary stars of the Negro leagues like Larry Doby and Monte Irvin played, is special," Kendrick said. "When I stood on those grounds the last time, it was just blacktop. Now, to see it in its current state and alive and active, I'm sure that's pretty emotional."
Larry Doby Jr., whose childhood featured tall tales of his father's Hinchliffe heroics, added, "It's been a long time coming. There were efforts by many people to make this happen."
Whoopi Goldberg & Mayor André Sayegh at Paterson's Hinchliffe Stadium
Senator Cory Booker & Mayor André Sayegh at Paterson's Hinchliffe Stadium

It was a star studded event with people like; Comedian and TV host Whoopi Goldberg, Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Bill Pascrell, and much more. Whoopi had a front-row seat with Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh and his wife, Farhanna, on one side and MLB Network's Harold Reynolds and Yankees adviser Omar Minaya on the other. U.S. Senator Cory Booker gave a rousing speech – but only after acknowledging six-time All-Star Willie Randolph, "the greatest second baseman ever to play the game of baseball," and Goldberg, "one of the greatest EGOTs ever to come to be." Tony Clark, executive director of the MLB Players Association, was seated among the 300 VIPs, and three-time Manager of the Year Joe Maddon and MLB Network insider Tom Verducci stood among others gathered on the green turf.

This was surly an event to remember. Now The Newly Renovated Hinchliffe Stadium is here to make history again.

Hinchliffe Stadium Seating & Field

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