The New York Cubans, another Negro Leagues team, would call Hinchliffe home for the 1935 and 1936 seasons. The Newark Eagles and Mohawk Giants also played at Hinchliffe Stadium. Among the greats to play at Hinchliffe include, Josh Gibson, Monte Irvin, “Cool Papa” Bell and Oscar Charleston, to name only a few. Other teams also played baseball at Hinchliffe. The Gavin Pros and Paterson City Club, both white teams, started playing at the Stadium shortly after it was completed. The semi-pro, African American team, the Smart Sets, also played at Hinchliffe.
Built as a combination athletic facility, Hinchliffe Stadium was home to more than just baseball. Four professional football teams called the Stadium home: the Silk City Bears, the Paterson Giants, the Paterson Nighthawks and the Paterson Panthers. Boxing also took hold in Hinchliffe, and the stadium began hosting matches in the late 1930s. This included Diamond Glove Championship bouts. In 1946, the semi-finals of the Diamond Gloves Championship hosted at the Stadium would be the first telecast athletic event in the State of New Jersey. Hinchliffe Stadium also played a significant role in the racing history. Both motorcycle and midget car races were held at Hinchliffe as early as 1934. Crowds were thrilled by the high speeds. From 1988 -1990, the New Jersey Eagles professional soccer team also called Hinchliffe home.
While Hinchliffe’s history is filled with professional sporting moments, many locals would tell you that the most important game played at the Stadium each year was the Thanksgiving Day rivalry football game between Eastside High School and Central High School. During one such game in 1941, Eastside student, and later Baseball Hall of Famer, Larry Doby would help his team crush the Central High Colts, 45-6.
The Stadium was far more than just sporting events. Rodeos, concerts and performances have also found themselves welcomed at Hinchliffe. The comedy duo, Abbott and Costello, made several appearances in the Stadium throughout the 1940s. Jazz great, Duke Ellington performed in the Stadium, as did the funk and soul band, Sly and the Family Stone. The Stadium slowly fell into disrepair and was closed in 1997. This closure marked the beginning of a decades-long crusade to protect and preserve this important site. After combined community efforts, Hinchliffe Stadium reopened in 2023.
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