But Hinchliffe has been closed since 1997 and is covered with graffiti and vegetation. LoPinto, a 31-year-old who grew up two blocks away, has spent the past eight years heading a preservationist group devoted to saving and restoring Hinchliffe before it deteriorates past the point of no return.

And lately his efforts have been bearing fruit. Last month, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Hinchliffe on its annual list of America’s 11 most endangered historic places, which has focused additional attention on the stadium and the need to preserve what’s left of the Negro Leagues’ history.

“First and foremost, it should be a home to high school athletics again, even if it’s football,” says LoPinto, who’s dressed for the occasion in a New York Black Yankees jersey. “And when it isn’t hosting sporting events, you lease it out for concerts and other events. If the baseball gods were to shine some light on us, maybe we could have a minor league stadium here.”

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