Delano-Hitch Stadium

Delano-Hitch Stadium is a stadium in Newburgh, New York; it has a current capacity of 3,100.

Early years
Baseball in Newburgh goes back to the 1860s: the Hudson River club played from 1863”“67, compiling a 18-18 record against many of the top teams of the day. Several other short-lived pro teams called the city home before World War I, including the Newburgh Taylor-Mades (aka Hill Climbers or Hillies, Hudson River League, 1903”“1907); the Newburgh Dutchmen (New York-New Jersey League, 1913) and the Newburgh Hillclimbers (Atlantic League, 1914). In 1916, Mrs. Annie Delano Hitch (aunt of Franklin Delano Roosevelt) donated land to the City of Newburgh for a "driving park", later known as Delano-Hitch Recreation Park. The stadium was opened in 1926, and has been primarily used for baseball. Three professional teams have called Delano-Hitch home: the Newburgh Hummingbirds in 1946, the Newburgh Nighthawks in 1995-96, and the Newburgh Black Diamonds in 1998.

1946 Newburgh Hummingbirds
The Hummingbirds were charter members of the North Atlantic League, a Class D circuit which was one of many minor leagues to pop up after the end of World War II. However, the 'Birds had difficulty finding a home field, finally signing an agreement with Delano-Hitch just a week before opening day on May 15, 1946. After a series of rainouts and a 3-6 record, the team's contract at the stadium was cancelled by the city of Newburgh on June 1, forcing them to move to nearby Walden, New York. The team finished the season deep in the NAL cellar with a 27-89 record, then folded. The league itself disbanded in 1950. During the next half century, the stadium was used by various amateur and semi-pro baseball teams, as well as by the semi-pro football Newburgh Raiders from 1991-96. (Despite winning four Empire Football League championships, the EFL unimously voted to boot Newburgh out in 1997 for a variety of misdeeds, including the fact that Delano-Hitch wasn't really suitable for football.)

1995-96 Newburgh Nighthawks
In 1995, owner Bill Cummings was awarded a Newburgh franchise in the new Northeast League (now the Can-Am League). Despite decent attendance figures of about 1,000 per game, Cummings lost over $30,000 and sold the team to Jeff Kunion. The '96 Nighthawks won the NEL first half championship and played the Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs for the league title, losing three games to one. The final game of the championship series proved to be the last Nighthawks game ever, as Kunion, unsatisfied with the pace of stadium renovations, folded the team.

1998 Newburgh Black Diamonds
After sitting empty in 1997, the stadium got a new team for 1998: the Atlantic League's Newburgh Black Diamonds. However, poor attendance and the league's displeasure with Delano-Hitch's condition sealed Newburgh's fate, despite $150,000 worth of renovations. Minutes before Newburgh's home opener, league president Bud Harrelson announced the Black Diamonds would return in 1999"if the team built a new stadium. Instead, the franchise was sent wandering for several years after a proposed stadium in Easton, Pennsylvania was left unfinished after the builders went bankrupt; the team existed as the Road Warriors through 2004, then again in 2006-07.

Delano-Hitch continues to be used for amateur baseball, including high school ( Newburgh Free Academy), college (Mount St. Mary's), collegiate league ( New York Generals) and American Legion ball.

Building Activity

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