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Newark Bears (International League)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Newark Bears were an American Minor League Baseball team that played in the top-level International League from 1917 through the 1949 season, with the exception of the 1920 campaign and part of 1925.[1][2][3] The Bears succeeded the Newark Indians, originally the Sailors, who played in the same circuit (known as the Eastern League prior to 1912) from 1902. During the Bears' lifetime, the International League was graded one step below the Major League Baseball level, Class AA through 1945 and Triple-A starting in 1946. The franchise played its home games at Ruppert Stadium in what is now known as the Ironbound section of Newark, New Jersey; the stadium was demolished in 1967. The 1932, 1937, 1938, and 1941 Bears were recognized as being among the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time.[4]

Players in the Bears' early years who had Major League careers include Eddie Rommel, who pitched for the International League Newark Bears in 1918 and 1919.[5] Harry Baldwin played three seasons for the Newark Bears (1921–1923) before playing for the New York Giants.[6] Fred Brainard, who also played for the New York Giants 1914–1916, later played for the Newark Bears between 1922–1924 and was the Bears' player-manager in 1923 and 1924. Other former Major League players who managed the Newark Bears include Hall of Fame members Walter Johnson in 1928 and player-manager Tris Speaker in 1929–1930.[7]

Newark was a hotbed of minor league baseball from the time of the formation of the Sailors, and the addition of the Newark Eagles of the Negro National Leagues in 1936. A Federal League team, the Newark Peppers, played in 1915. The Bears, however, temporarily relocated twice, in 1920 as the Akron Buckeyes and from May 16 through September 27, 1925 as the Providence Grays.[1]

In 1931, Jacob Ruppert, owner of the New York Yankees, bought the Bears and made them the top club in the Yankees' growing farm system; they would remain one of the Bombers' top-level minor-league clubs for the rest of their existence.[8] In 1937, the Bears featured one of the most potent lineups in baseball, including Charlie Keller, Joe Gordon, Spud Chandler and George McQuinn, among others. During this time frame, the team held their Spring Training in Sebring, Florida[9]They won the pennant by 25½ games to become known as one of the greatest minor league teams of all time.[10][11] Their legacy was ensured when, after trailing 3 games to 0, they won the last four games against the Columbus Red Birds of the American Association to capture the Junior World Series.

Following the 1949 season, the Bears moved to Springfield, Massachusetts. Their departure, and the departure of the Eagles a year before, left Newark without professional baseball for nearly 50 years, until the formation of the Atlantic League Bears (see above).

One of the Bears' players, veteran pitcher George Earl Toolson, was reassigned by the Yankees to the AA Binghamton Triplets for the 1950 season. He refused to report and sued, challenging baseball's reserve clause in Toolson v. New York Yankees, which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices upheld the clause and baseball's antitrust exemption, 7–2.

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Season-by-season records

Newark Bears – 1926 to 1949
Season Affiliation Manager Record
1926 None Fred Burchell 99–66, 3rd place
1927 None John Egan 90–77, 3rd place
1928 None Walter Johnson 81–84, 7th place
1929 None Tris Speaker 81–85, 7th place
1930 None Tris Speaker/Al Mamaux 80–88, 5th place
1931 None Al Mamaux 99–69, 2nd place
1932 Yankees Al Mamaux 109–59, 1st place
1933 Yankees Al Mamaux 102–62, 1st place South
1934 Yankees Bob Shawkey 93–60, 1st place
1935 Yankees Bob Shawkey 81–71, 4th place
1936 Yankees Ossie Vitt 88–67, 3rd place
1937 Yankees Ossie Vitt 109–43, 1st place
1938 Yankees Johnny Neun 104–48, 1st place
1939 Yankees Johnny Neun 82–73, 4th place
1940 Yankees Johnny Neun 95–65, 2nd place
1941 Yankees Johnny Neun 100–54, 1st place
1942 Yankees Billy Meyer 92–61, 1st place
1943 Yankees Billy Meyer 85–68, 2nd place
1944 Yankees Billy Meyer 85–69, 2nd place
1945 Yankees Billy Meyer 89–64, 2nd place
1946 Yankees George Selkirk 80–74, 4th place
1947 Yankees George Selkirk 65–89, 6th place
1948 Yankees Bill Skiff 80–72, 2nd place
1949 Yankees Buddy Hassett 55–98, 8th place
Totals Overall record Winning percentage
(1926–1949) 2,039–1,586 .562

Post-season results


The Bears won the Governors' Cup, the championship of the IL, 4 times, and played in the championship series 7 times.

Other historical Newark teams

Other teams hailing from Newark include:[12]


  1. ^ a b Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 3rd ed. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 2007. ISBN 978-1-932391-17-6
  2. ^ "Newark Bears–History". Newark Bears. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  3. ^ "International League history". 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  4. ^ "Top 100 Teams". 2001. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  5. ^ Klingman, Mike (July 8, 2013). "This Week in Sports". The Baltimore Sun. p. 2 Sports. Eddie Rommel pitched the Newark Bears to an 11-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in an International League game on July 8, 1919.
  6. ^ "Harry Baldwin Minor League Statistics & History". 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  7. ^ "Tris Speaker Signs to Manage Newark Team in Minor Loop". Washington Daily Reporter. November 12, 1928. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  8. ^ Mayer, Ronald A. (1994). The 1937 Newark Bears: A Baseball Legend. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-2153-4. Jacob Ruppert, owner of the New York Yankees, purchased the team from the newspaper publisher Paul Block in 1931. Mayer traces the Bears' exciting first five seasons under Ruppert and the building of a farm system that eventually produced the great Yankee ... sprinkled with some of the great names of the American pastime: Ed Barrow, Paul Kritchell, Al Mamaux, Red Rolfe, Babe Ruth, Shag Shaughnessey, Bob Shawkey, and George Weiss.
  9. ^ Mayer, Ronald A. (1994). The 1937 Newark Bears: A Baseball Legend. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 9780813521534.
  10. ^ Suehsdorf, A. D. (1978). The Great American Baseball Scrapbook, p. 100. Random House. ISBN 0-394-50253-1.
  11. ^ Ronald, Mayer (1994). The 1937 Newark Bears: A Baseball Legend. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-2153-4.
  12. ^ "Historical Newark Teams". Titans 101. Archived from the original on April 27, 2006. Retrieved May 27, 2006.
This page was last edited on 6 August 2023, at 23:06
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