Newark Bears (International League)

This article is about the former Newark Bears of the International League. For the Atlantic League team, see Newark Bears.

The Newark Bears were a team in the International League, beginning in 1917 at the Double-A level. They played in the International League through the 1949 season, except for 1920 and part of the 1925 season.[1][2] In the Bears' last four seasons in the International League (19461949), they were a Triple-A team, the highest classification in minor league baseball. They played their home games at Ruppert Stadium in what is now known as the Ironbound section of Newark; the stadium was demolished in 1967.

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.[3] Harry Baldwin played three seasons for the Newark Bears (19211923) before playing for the New York Giants.[4] Fred Brainard, who also played for the New York Giants 19141916, later played for the Newark Bears between 19221924 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 19291930.[5]

Newark was a hotbed of minor league baseball from the time of the formation of the Newark Indians in 1902, and the addition of the Newark Eagles of the Negro National Leagues in 1936. A Federal League team, the Newark Peppers, played in 1915.

in 1931 Jacob Ruppert bought the Newark Bears who played at Ruppert Stadium in Newark, New Jersey, and begin building the farm system for the Yankees.[6] In 1937, as a farm club of the New York Yankees, the Bears featured one of the most potent lineups in baseball, including Charlie Keller, Joe Gordon, Spud Chandler and George McQuinn, among others. They won the pennant by 25½ games to become known as one of the greatest minor league teams of all time.[7][8] 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 folding of the Eagles a year later, 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.

Season-by-season records

Newark Bears – 1926 to 1949
Season Affiliation Manager Record
1926NoneFred Burchell99-66, 3rd place
1927NoneJohn Egan90-77, 3rd place
1928NoneWalter Johnson81-84, 7th place
1929NoneTris Speaker81-85, 7th place
1930NoneTris Speaker/Al Mamaux80-88, 5th place
1931NoneAl Mamaux99-69, 2nd place
1932YankeesAl Mamaux109-59, 1st place
1933YankeesAl Mamaux102-62, 1st place South
1934YankeesBob Shawkey93-60, 1st place
1935YankeesBob Shawkey81-71, 4th place
1936YankeesOssie Vitt88-67, 3rd place
1937YankeesOssie Vitt109-43, 1st place
1938YankeesJohnny Neun104-48, 1st place
1939YankeesJohnny Neun82-73, 4th place
1940YankeesJohnny Neun95-65, 2nd place
1941YankeesJohnny Neun100-54, 1st place
1942YankeesBill Meyer92-61, 1st place
1943YankeesBill Meyer85-68, 2nd place
1944YankeesBill Meyer85-69, 2nd place
1945YankeesBill Meyer89-64, 2nd place
1946YankeesGeorge Selkirk80-74, 4th place
1947YankeesGeorge Selkirk65-89, 6th place
1948YankeesBill Skiff80-72, 2nd place
1949YankeesBuddy Hassett55-98, 8th place
Totals Overall record Winning percentage
(1926–1949) 2039–1586 .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[9]


  1. "Newark BearsHistory". Newark Bears. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  2. "International League history". 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  3. 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.
  4. "Harry Baldwin Minor League Statistics & History". 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
  5. "Tris Speaker Signs to Manage Newark Team in Minor Loop". Washington Daily Reporter. November 12, 1928. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
  6. Mayer, Ronald A. (1994), The 1937 Newark Bears: A Baseball Legend, Rutgers University Press, 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.
  7. Suehsdorf, A. D. (1978). The Great American Baseball Scrapbook, p. 100. Random House. ISBN 0-394-50253-1.
  8. Ronald, Mayer (1994), The 1937 Newark Bears: A Baseball Legend, Rutgers University Press, ISBN 978-0-8135-2153-4
  9. "Historical Newark Teams". Titans 101. Retrieved May 27, 2006.
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