Newark Bears (1926-1949)
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. In the Bears' last four seasons in the International League (1946–1949), they were a Triple-A team, the highest classification in minor league baseball.
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. Harry Baldwin played three seasons for the Newark Bears (1921–1923) before playing for the New York Giants. 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.
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 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. 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.
|Newark Bears - 1926 to 1949|
|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||Bill Meyer||92-61, 1st place|
|1943||Yankees||Bill Meyer||85-68, 2nd place|
|1944||Yankees||Bill Meyer||85-69, 2nd place|
|1945||Yankees||Bill 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|
- 1932: Defeated Minneapolis Millers (American Association), 4 games to 2, in Junior World Series
- 1933: Lost to Rochester Red Wings, 3 games to 1, in opening round
- 1934: Lost to Toronto Maple Leafs, 4 games to 3, in opening round
- 1935: Lost to Syracuse Chiefs, 4 games to 0, in opening round
- 1936: Lost to Buffalo Bisons, 4 games to 1, in opening round
- 1937: Defeated Syracuse Chiefs, 4 games to 0; defeated Baltimore Orioles, 4 games to 0, for league championship; defeated Columbus Red Birds, 4 games to 3, in Junior World Series
- 1938: Defeated Rochester Red Wings, 4 games to 3; defeated Buffalo Bisons, 4 games to 1, for league championship; lost to Kansas City Blues, 4 games to 3, in Junior World Series
- 1939: Defeated Jersey City Giants, 4 games to 2; lost to Rochester Red Wings, 4 games to 3, in championship round
- 1940: Defeated Jersey City Giants, 4 games to 0; defeated Baltimore Orioles, 4 games to 3, for league championship; defeated Louisville Colonels, 4 games to 2, in Junior World Series
- 1941: Defeated Rochester Red Wings, 4 games to 1; lost to Montreal Royals, 4 games to 3, in championship round
- 1942: Lost to Jersey City Giants, 4 games to 2, in opening round
- 1943: Lost to Syracuse Chiefs, 4 games to 2, in opening round
- 1944: Defeated Toronto Maple Leafs, 4 games to 0; lost to Baltimore Orioles, 4 games to 3, in championship round
- 1945: Defeated Toronto Maple Leafs, 4 games to 2; defeated Montreal Royals, 4 games to 3, for league championship; lost to Louisville Colonels, 4 games to 2, in Junior World Series
- 1946: Lost to Montréal Royals, 4 games to 2, in opening round
- 1948: Lost to Syracuse Chiefs, 4 games to 3, in opening round
The Bears won the Governors' Cup, the championship of the IL, 4 times, and played in the championship series 7 times.
- 1937 - Defeated Baltimore
- 1938 - Defeated Buffalo
- 1939 - Lost to Rochester
- 1940 - Defeated Baltimore
- 1941 - Lost to Montreal
- 1944 - Lost to Baltimore
- 1945 - Defeated Montreal
Other Historical Newark Teams
- Newark Domestics, played in the Eastern League from 1884 to 1885.
- Newark Little Giants, played in the Eastern League in 1886, and the International League in 1887.
- Newark, played in the Central League in 1888, and the Atlantic Association from 1889 to 1890.
- Newark, played in the Atlantic League in 1896, and from 1899 to 1900.
- Newark Indians, played in the Eastern League from 1902 to 1911, and the International League from 1912 to the middle of the 1915 season. They were the International League champions in 1913.
- Newark Stars, played in the Eastern Colored League in 1926.
- Newark Browns, played in the East-West League in 1932.
- Newark Dodgers, played in the Negro National League from 1934 to 1935.
- Newark Peppers, played in the Federal League in 1915.
- Newark Bears, played in the New York-Penn League in 1950 to 1952.