PATERSON, N.J. (PIX11) — To baseball fans, he was a trailblazer. To those from Paterson, New Jersey, Larry Doby was a hometown hero.

On July 5, 1947 — 75 years ago — Doby became the second African American player to break baseball’s color barrier and the first to do so in the American League with the Cleveland Indians.

While Doby was born in South Carolina, it was Paterson he called home as a teenager, where he was a star athlete at Eastside High School.

In the state’s third-largest city, July 5 has long been recognized as Larry Doby Day. His son Larry Doby Jr. was on hand Tuesday with a message of hope for the city’s youth.

“You are sitting in the same schools and classrooms he sat in,” Larry Doby Jr. said at a celebration held at Eastside Park. “And then he became the first African American to play in the American League. It can happen.”

The celebration for Doby and others that led the way for African Americans will continue with the rehabilitation of the iconic Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, which is set to reopen in the spring of 2023.

The historic stadium, which hosted Negro League baseball games, is currently undergoing a $93 million renovation project. A museum will also be on the site, honoring greats like Doby along with Paterson native and former major leaguer Johnny Briggs.

“We owe it to him to bring back Hinchliffe Stadium and we are,” Mayor Andre Sayegh said.