Home Homepage Latest Stories Paterson Welcomes The New Charles J. Muth Museum of Hinchcliffe Stadium

Paterson Welcomes The New Charles J. Muth Museum of Hinchcliffe Stadium

by Tiffany Sosa

Ever since Montclair State University president Jonathan Koppell took charge, the university has aimed to be an aid to the community in many different ways, and with the help of alumni and Paterson city officials, it has done just that.

On Thursday, April 11, the Charles J. Muth Museum of Hinchcliffe Stadium opened its doors for the first time, with representatives from the city of Paterson and Montclair State in attendance. The historic stadium is dedicated to honoring the history of Hinchcliffe as a Negro Leagues Baseball Stadium along with its legacy of being a community center for recreation and entertainment.

Charles Muth and his wife Laura donated $5 million towards the project as it was a special place to his family while growing up just down the block from the stadium. Muth graduated from Montclair State in 1977 and feels very strongly about giving back to the area that helped shape him.

“I was fortunate enough to have had a first-class education in Paterson and moved on to Montclair State University for four years,” Muth said. “I graduated and got a job that blessed me enough that I could pay my debts off, and I had a debt to the city of Paterson to help shed light on the treasure that lies within the city itself.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony began with speakers like Mayor Andre Sayegh, Muth, Paterson Public Schools Superintendent Rodney Henderson and the museum director, Jessica Bush. They all expressed the difficulties that the Negro League Baseball teams faced and how they continued to pursue their dreams during a rough time.

The stadium is where athletes such as Larry Doby, Oscar Charleston, Ray Dandridge and James “Cool Papa” Anderson changed sports for people of color and opened doors to so many opportunities.

Koppell spoke to the audience about Montclair State’s One Square Mile program and its growing relationship with the city of Paterson. The project wants to provide more community services and engagement, particularly by offering classes and after-school programs for students.

The speakers discussed the discrimination and lack of opportunity that Paterson as a city faces and that opening the museum will help tell the story of the Negro Baseball Leagues that played in that very stadium. Jackie Robinson is known for breaking the color barrier in the American League. A lesser-known figure is Larry Doby who was just as culturally significant and lived right in the backyard of Montclair.

This collaboration between Montclair State, Muth and the city of Paterson has taken the culture of Paterson and has transformed it into a way that teaches the upcoming generation the sacrifices that many African Americans and people of color had to make.

“African Americans were denied the right to play Major League Baseball, but they played here at Hinchliffe, one of two stadiums still standing. So people learn about the legacy and they will learn about Oscar Charleston and Cool Papa Bell, people they have never heard before. But when they come here they will know exactly who they are and the role they played in integrating America,” Sayegh said.

The museum will be a new interactive learning center. More than 20 Hall of Fame players call Hinchcliffe their home.

As of last year, the New Jersey Jackals call Hinchliffe Stadium home and their season begins on May 9. For the time being, the Charles J. Muth Museum is open by appointment only, but it is expected to be open to the public in May with free admission.

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