Review by Gary
Until 1948, Boverini Stadium in Passaic, New Jersey was known simply as Passaic School Stadium. This mulit-use sports facility has been home to the city’s school sports and today is home to the Passaic Indians. The stadium has a baseball diamond that played host to the New York Black Yankees of the Negro Leagues. Little remains from that time, except for the salt-box houses of the era that dot the landscape off in the distance. After a major renovation to the entire playing surface, one would be hard-pressed to imagine what it looked like back in 1934.
Beginning as the independent Harlem Stars, the ballclub was renamed the New York Black Yankees in 1932. While they played most of their home games at nearby Hinchliffe Stadium from 1933 to 1938, they would often play anywhere they could make money. In 1934, the Black Yankees played a game at Passaic Schools Stadium against a local team, known as the Garfield Athletic Club. Thanks to Negro League aficionado and Friends of Hinchliffe Stadium President, Brian LoPinto, for providing the info for this ballpark and 1934 article and box score from the Black Yankees loss to Garfield that day.
Today, the stadium complex is named Boverini Stadium after the long-time football and track coach, teacher, principal, and Athletic Director in Passaic from 1948-1990. The ball field is laid out in a unique configuration in that it lies inside the inner ring of the track at one end. The left field corner and wall extend beyond the lanes of the track. The foul line crosses the track and the fence is built into the side of a hill.
The left field foul pole measures scant 305’ from the plate and the fence runs down the length of the football field to a depth of 402 feet in center, as noted by the marker on the conveniently located storage building. The right field dimension is unknown as a temporary fence must be put up across the gridiron when baseball is being played. With the Indians name painted on the infield/end zone and lines for soccer and track also comingled on the painted turf, one would think that they were playing on top of a Roy Lichtenstein painting.
The main seating area for Boverini Stadium is in the massive concrete stand that rises up along Passaic Drive on the Passaic River. This vast structure runs both from end zone to end zone and from home plate to the right field area. Although not widely known today, the fact that the Black Yankees played here nearly 100 years ago singles out Boverini Stadium for honorable mention in baseball history.