A Tribute to the Newark Eagles

I don’t really know where this whole idea originated, or where this week end began, but it was a BLAST!!! A week end full of warmth, respect and love. There were many stories about the former days of Newark. What it was like to grow up in a city that was vibrant, alive and rich in baseball. Stories were told of The Grand Hotel and of Ruppert Stadium.

There were many “knot hole” kids present. Boys and girls still resident in the bodies and memories of men and women who had grown much older.

Men like Congressman Donald Payne, and his boyhood classmate and friend, Amiri Baraka. Men who remembered peering through the holes in the outfield fences, or being able to gather together 10 cents for ten games. Men, who shared high school memories of playing the game of baseball, like Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, Jr.. Yes there were many who came to celebrate, commemorate and pay homage to the men who played the game of baseball in Newark to sell- out crowds, when only the ball was white.

As for me, I think that it probably started with a man who told a story about a father and son and their shared love of game of baseball.
His name is Tony Schuman, and he serves on the Newark Historical Commission. Tony chaired the Commission’s committee that championed this 2-day commemorative event. The event began with a reception and dinner in the Ballentine House at the Newark Museum. During the evening, Tony shared with us how much baseball had meant to him and his father. He pulled out the treasured worn glove that was his father’s and allowed us to have a glance and reminding us of our own gloves, and our own treasured connections with our pasts.

Because the dinner was in the Ballentine House we had the opportunity to feast our eyes on some of the treasures in the Newark Museum.What a treat!! I haven’t been to the Museum in years. If you haven’t, and you live in New Jersey or nearby, make it your business to get over there. Heck, you could even make a weekend out of it and stay at the Robert Treat Hotel that is across the street. I can vouch for the service as well as the accommodations for guests with disabilities. The Museum is packed full of some wonderful treasures. They still provide classes and have some exceptional things that they do for kids. I wish we could have had more time but I tried to take advantage of the moments we had. We plan on getting back real soon.

On Friday morning we went to the dedication of streets in Newark to former Newark Eagles. It was a beautiful tribute to some great men who had been forgotten and who remained unknown to most of Newark until now. .

Thanks, Joe Fox.

This plaque will be replicated in Bronze and be placed at the entrance of the development.

And although there are only a few names, they represent the talent and strength that was the Newark Eagles.

Did you know that there are eight Newark Eagles in the National Baseball Hall of Fame that played on the 1946 Newark Eagles Negro League World Series Team?

Their names are all now a permanent part of the Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium as a part of the Ring of Honor.

Here are some of them.

If you can name the other three, send me an e-mail in the comments section with their names. If I get more then one correct answer, I'll do a drawing for the winner. I promise a prize for the winner that I know you will enjoy! The drawing will take place on September 28th.

I've tried to give you a little feel for the week end. I can't begin to tell you how magical and wonderful it was. It was one of those "gotta be there" kinda things. Thank you City of Newark! Thank you Newark Historical Society! Thank you Newark Museum! Thank you Newark Bears!

If you ever have a chance to spend some time with any of the men of the Negro Leagues, don't miss it. They provided a view of what it takes to create an alternate reality; to choose to live your dream; to believe in yourself and to live your life with joy, commitment, and without doubt. What a model!

Fortunately, my grand-nephew was able to come and accept my father's medals for him. I know that he would be proud. I know that he is somewhere smiling. It was a special time. As you can see Jules was quite happy to do it. And held them in his little hands as the treasures that they were.

I've added some additional shots from the tributes and the final dinner that my family shared with Monte Irvin and his daughter and a very dear friend Pam Irvin-Fields. We went to the famous Ironbound section of Newark and had a wonderful dinner at Fornos of Spain. Yummm. The evening proved to be quite long for Jules, but what JOY! Young man, you did have a busy day!

I hope you enjoy the slides. (I may have to set up another blog after all)

1 comment:

  1. The other three Eagles -
    Mule Suttles, Monte Irvin, Willie Wells. Larry Doby is also on the Wall of Fame. - Nick .. my email is - negroleague@yahoo.com