The city of Paterson broke ground Wednesday on a $94 million renovation to restore Hinchliffe Stadium, one of the last remaining Negro League ballparks, to its former glory.
- Breaking ceremonies today for a kind of field of dreams in New Jersey rebuilding a sports stadium where decades ago, so many great black athletes performed out of the spotlight because of segregation and discrimination. Well on this spring day in Paterson, Hinchcliffe Stadium getting a kind of rebirth of its own. Honoring the past and celebrating the future. Here's New Jersey reporter Anthony Johnson.
ANTHONY JOHNSON: If these walls could talk, they would tell amazing stories of great athletes from the Negro League, or reminisce about high school football games. Now, these graffiti covered walls, overgrown weeds and splintered bleachers, all relics of the past, are being transformed.
- One, two, three.
ANTHONY JOHNSON: The groundbreaking at Hinchcliffe Stadium welcomed baseball's best to salute the past.
WILLIE RANDOLPH: For me, to be able to be a part of this is inspirational. But I want to be a part of that legacy so we can continue to grow as we give these kids our knowledge.
CC SABATHIA: I literally would not be who I am if it wasn't for places like this, guys like Larry Doby, you know, Jackie Robinson.
ANTHONY JOHNSON: A new future is now on deck in the heart of Paterson.
ANDREA SAYEGH: Hinchcliffe Stadium is one of only two stadiums still standing that hosted Negro League games.
ANTHONY JOHNSON: The home of Larry Doby, the first African-American to play baseball in the American League, is moving forward with a 94 million plan to redevelop this abandoned site originally built in 1932.
- I'm excited about Hinchcliffe and what's happening here and what you're doing.
ANTHONY JOHNSON: So I'm standing here on the old second base, and yes this place does hold a lot of memories. But the hope is in the future, Paterson youth will make new memories here with people in the stands to cheer them on.
LARRY DOBY JR: This is an investment in our youth. And when you invest in youth, you can never go wrong.
ANTHONY JOHNSON: This April day was long in coming but chosen because Larry Doby wore the number 14. And selected because tomorrow April 15 marks the day Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier in 1947.