Newark Bears (International League)

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 (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.[3] Harry Baldwin played three seasons for the Newark Bears (1921–1923) before playing for the New York Giants.[4] 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.[5]

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.

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.[6][7] 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
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
(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[8]