My father lived for his sports. At any
given time during the year, whether it was baseball, football, or
whatever the season was, he was into it. He had one game on the
radio on the kitchen table, another game on the radio in my parents
bedroom, another game on in my bedroom, and another game on the
TV in the living room. He would walk from room to room and stop
and listen to what was happening in each of these games.
I can remember listening to him and my uncles and to the radio
announcers about the games coming from Rupert Stadium and all of
the other stadiums. In the 1950's Don Newcombe had opened a bar
on Orange Street and the corner of Hedden Place - near North 14th
Street - in the Roseville Section. Some of you guys should remember
that place. I have a photo of the place and I'll send it over to
Glenn so that he can add it here.
Every Saturday afternoon my father and uncles would hang out in
many of the bars on South Orange Ave between 9th and 12th Streets
and watch the baseball games, the football games, the horse races,
the wrestling matches, the boxing matches, or whatever other sporting
event that was happening on that day. My father even played softball
for many years for some of the bars - KEEGAN'S in particular - that
had their own softball teams here in Newark back in the 50's.
And while we are at it let's not forget the "NEWARK BEARS'
and their unforgettable 1937 win over the Columbus Red Birds making
them what many people, both then and now, consider "the greatest
team in the history of the minor leagues." The team was owned
by Colonel Jacob Ruppert - the beer baron - and the NY Yankees.
The fairly new minor league baseball stadium on Broad Street here
in Newark is called 'BEARS STADIUM" in honor of the original
And how does this sound today. Each of the Newark Bears players
took home a grand total of $600 from the Little League proceeds,
while the losers, the Red Birds, took home a grand total of $400
each. My, oh my, how times have changed.
Just listen to all of those great names from the past: Don Newcombe,
Monte Irvin, Larry Doby, Leon Day, Satchel Paige, Buck O'Neal and
so many more - names that most of us have forgotten today but whose
memories will live on forever.