Baseball Hall of Fame to feature new exhibit to honor the Negro League
The Baseball Hall of Fame made a major announcement at Paterson’s Hinchliffe Stadium on Monday in honor of Juneteenth.
The Hall of Fame announced the “Souls of the Game, Voice of Black Baseball,” exhibit to honor the history of the Nego League.
“It was time for us to create a completely new exhibit that tells a more inclusive story of the Black Baseball experience, and it will reflect the evolving diversity of our game,” says Josh Rawitch, president of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The name of the new exhibit is a nod to W.E.B. Dubois’ “The Souls of Black Folk.” It aims to tell the decades-long story of Black baseball before the creation of the Negro League.
The announcement was made in Paterson – a city with a history rich in Black baseball.
“At one point, Major League Baseball did not allow African Americans to play on any of the fields, but they played here at Hinchliffe Stadium,” says Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh.
Before that announcement was made, Major League Baseball hosted a special PLAYBALL youth baseball clinic for the kids in the community. This is part of an educational outreach program in hopes of exposing young children, particularly Black children to the sport. Only 6% of all MLB players are African American.
Larry Doby, Jr., son of Hall of Famer Larry Doby, Sr. attended the announcement. Doby, Sr. got his start in Paterson.
“On a personal level it means a lot to me because this is where it all started for my father and without the coaching and the teachers and the lessons that he learned on this field, he probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as he got,” says Doby, Jr.
Hinchliffe Stadium was home to several Negro League teams like the Black Yankees and the New York Cubans.
Paterson will soon have its own Negro League Museum. The new exhibit in Cooperstown honoring the Negro League will open next spring.