Historic Hinchliffe Stadium reopens after 2 year, $103M transformation

Friday, May 19, 2023
PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- After two years of transformative redevelopment, a historic 90-year-old baseball stadium will soon reopen to the public in New Jersey.

"The View' co-host Whoopi Goldberg was among the celebrities who attended Friday's ceremony for the ball park's reopening in Paterson.

Goldberg said the stadium, which is one of the last Negro League ballparks in the U.S., is essential to preserving American history.

"This is why we have to continue to insist that no history be erased," Goldberg said. "Anything that's happened in this country should never be erased from books of any kind because we need to know, we need to remember. Little kids need to know, and they need to understand. There's not a color in this country that doesn't participate in our collective history."

Hinchliffe Stadium is one of two remaining fields in the country that hosted the Negro League, and the mayor of Paterson said it is the town's real field of dreams.

Paterson native Larry Doby, the first Black man in the American League, played there - and now it is the home of the minor league New Jersey Jackels baseball team.

"I don't know if any of the old people that have ever been here to see an event, when they see this, they are blown away," owner of the Jackels Al Dorso said.

Dorso is a Paterson native who watched the demise of the stadium some 25 years ago and now he's pitching in to bring his city back.

"It's safe, it's near the Falls, historic district, I think they're gonna get used to that, the fans from out of town, and the fans from in town will get a great experience," Dorso said.

The $106 million project includes senior housing with a great view of the ballpark and there is a huge parking garage.

WATCH: Sneak peak at the historic ball park before the ribbon cutting ceremony
Historic stadium in Paterson reopening to public

The work continues on a year-round concession area and the East Coast version of a Negro League museum. Those will open in September.

"I foresee this space being a hub of learning for young people, teachers, educators," said President and CEO of Shekinah Group LLC Von L. McCoy.

The views of the Paterson Falls are breathtaking from the site, but perhaps the best thing is the project is expected to bring in hundreds of local jobs.

"Dining here, so you're going to create job opportunities, the Jackels are here so you have job opportunities, the stadium here will be operations and create even more job opportunities," Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh said.

The first sporting events will take place next Wednesday when a couple of high school teams meet on the field. The Jackels will officially open their season on May 20.

ALSO READ | 11-year-old ballerina hosts bake sale after NYC doorman's bike stolen
11-year-old ballerina hosts bake sale after Upper West Side doorman's bike stolen

* Get Eyewitness News Delivered
* More New Jersey news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.
Copyright © 2024 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.