Burgos: Hinchliffe Stadium reveals baseball’s hidden history

From SABR member Adrian Burgos Jr. at PreservationNation on April 15, 2014:

Years before Jackie Robinson stepped across the white lines and onto Ebbets Field to make history as major league baseball’s integration pioneer, decades before Roberto Clemente displayed his hitting prowess, graceful fielding, and powerful arm on North American baseball diamonds, and well before U.S. baseball fans became acquainted with the high-leg kick of Juan Marichal, the pitching gyrations of Luis Tiant, the prodigious home runs of Orlando Cepeda, other amazing performances of Big Papi David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, and Manny Ramirez, black baseball fans congregated on Saturdays to watch the Negro League’s premier talent at Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, N.J. — a historic space where African-American and Latino fans watched some of their own perform during the era of segregated baseball. 

The stadium provided the backdrop for some of the initial performances of the first wave of Dominican players to star in U.S. professional baseball. For example, speedy Juan “Tetelo” Vargas roamed its outfield as a member of the Negro Leagues New York Cubans team, while Horacio “Rabbit” Martinez, the first slick-fielding shortstop from the Dominican Republic to emerge as an all-star in the States, took his turns in the Hinchliffe infield.

Read the full article here: http://blog.preservationnation.org/2014/04/15/hinchliffe-stadium-reveals-baseballs-hidden-history/

Originally published: April 16, 2014. Last Updated: April 16, 2014.