New Jersey Jackals

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New Jersey Jackals
NJ Jackals.png NJ Jackals cap.PNG
Team logo Cap insignia
League American Association (Can-Am Division)
Location Little Falls, New Jersey
Ballpark Yogi Berra Stadium
Year founded 1998
League championships
4
2004
2002
2001
1998
Division championships
4
2004
2003
2002
1999
Former name(s) New Jersey Jackals (1998–present)
Former league(s)
Colors Red, black, white
              
Retired numbers 4, 8, 28, 42
Ownership Floyd Hall
Manager Joe Calfapietra
General Manager Larry Hall
Media Newark Star-Ledger, Bergen Record
Website www.jackals.com

The New Jersey Jackals are a professional baseball team based in Little Falls, New Jersey, in the United States. The Jackals are a member of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. From their inception, the Jackals have played their home games at Yogi Berra Stadium, on the campus of Montclair State University.

History[edit]

1990s[edit]

The club was formed in 1998, and they posted the best record in the Northeast League in their inaugural season under manager Kash Beauchamp. The Jackals won the first half with a 30–12 record, clinching the team a playoff spot. After finishing 53–31, New Jersey went on to sweep the two playoff series and win the league championship, capturing the final game at Heritage Park in Colonie, New York, over the Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs.

The Jackals joined the Northern League for the 1999 season along with the rest of the Northeast League teams after the two leagues approved a merger. New Jersey finished 45–40 and advanced to the playoffs, where they swept the Allentown Ambassadors in the first round. This set up a rematch with Albany-Colonie for a chance to advance to the Northern League Championship Series, but the Diamond Dogs ended the Jackals' season with a 3–1 series defeat.

2000s[edit]

The Jackals were chosen to host the 2000 Northern League All-Star Game at Yogi Berra Stadium. However, it was one of few highlights in an otherwise down year. New Jersey failed to finish with a winning record for the first time in team history and finished up the season at 31–52. Manager Kash Beauchamp resigned at the end of the season and the team chose Waterbury Spirit manager George Tsamis to replace him.

In Tsamis' first season the Jackals again struggled. The team finished five games under .500 in the first half of the season, but was able to even their record by finishing five games above .500 in the second half. Their 45–45 record barely qualified the Jackals for the 2001 Northern League playoffs, but the team managed to sweep Albany-Colonie in the first round. They then took on the Elmira Pioneers in the Northern League East Championship Series, winning in five games. The Jackals completed their run by defeating the North Division champion, the Winnipeg Goldeyes, 3 to 1 to claim their first Northern League Championship.

The 2002 Jackals season was historic on two fronts. The first historic moment came when Jeremy Callier threw a no-hitter on August 28 against the Berkshire Black Bears, requiring a home run by Ryan Kane in the bottom of the ninth inning to make it official. The second piece of team history saw the Jackals set a team record for victories, finishing with 62 to lead the league. In the playoffs, however, the Jackals did not have any relative ease in winning games as they were taken to five games by Elmira again in the first round and required a two-out bases clearing double by first baseman Dave Callahan to win over the Adirondack Lumberjacks in the fifth game of their Northern League East Championship Series tilt. Once again, though, the Jackals finished with a championship by defeating Winnipeg in four games.

2003 saw two major changes for the Jackals. After Tsamis resigned following the year to take the managerial position with the St. Paul Saints, New Jersey hired Gary SouthShore RailCats manager Joe Calfapietra to take his place. The second saw the end of the merger with the Northern League, as the Northeast League once again became its own entity. The Jackals returned to the playoffs for a third consecutive year by winning both halves of the season in their division, but were dispatched in the first round by the eventual league champion Brockton Rox. Despite this, the Jackals finished with a 52–37 record.

In 2004, New Jersey improved their record to what was then the team's second-best showing in its history, winning 54 games and losing 29. However, the first half of the season required saw the Jackals end in a tie with the New Haven County Cutters, requiring a one-game playoff which New Jersey won for their fifth consecutive half-season victory. The Jackals pulled away in the second half with a 28–18 record, winning both halves for a third straight year. After dispatching of the Bangor Lumberjacks in the first round of the playoffs, the Jackals found themselves in trouble against the North Shore Spirit in the league championship series. Trailing two games to none and down late in the third game, the Jackals rallied for an extra inning victory. They duplicated the feat the next day in Game 4 to tie the series, and then won the fifth and deciding game to take the Northeast League Championship. To date, this is the last time the Jackals have won a league championship.

In 2005 the Jackals joined the Can-Am League and failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2000 despite posting a winning record of 48–44. 2006 saw another history-making performance as Aaron Myers threw the second no-hitter in team history, but New Jersey again missed the playoffs and- with a 43–48 record- finished with only their second losing record in team history.

The Jackals won the Can-Am League First Half Championship in 2007 with a 31–15 record, guaranteeing them a spot in the playoffs. Their 31 wins in the first half still mark a franchise best in the first half, and second most in a half (32 in 2002). The Jackals' second half was not as strong, as they finished in last place with an 18–29 record. New Jersey took the Nashua Pride to a fifth game at Yogi Berra Stadium in their best-of-five series before losing and getting knocked out. The Jackals missed the playoffs in 2008, finishing 43–51.

New Jersey was able to ride a CanAm League record 14 game win streak to a First Half Championship in 2009 with a 28–19 record, once again guaranteeing the team a playoff spot. The Jackals won 27 games in the second half for a total of 55, the second most in team history. Despite that, New Jersey was quickly eliminated from the playoffs by the Worcester Tornadoes.

For the second time in their history, the Jackals lost 50 games in 2010. However, their combined record of 42–50 was enough for the team to qualify as one of four teams in what was now a seven-team Can-Am League. For the second consecutive year, though, the Jackals were swept in the first round of the playoffs; this time, the defending league champion Quebec Capitales defeated the Jackals.

2010s[edit]

In 2010, the Jackals slipped in the first half, finishing fourth with a 19–27 record. The team battled back to a 23–23 record in the second half, beating out the Worcester Tornadoes by 0.5 game for the fourth and final playoff spot. The Jackals were swept by Quebec three games to none in the opening round.

In 2011, the Jackals finished the regular season 57-36, the second most season wins in franchise history (62 is currently the record). Despite an impressive record, the Jackals were unable to win either half of the regular season (Quebec won both halves), and finished second among the eight teams. New Jersey swept the Pittsfield Colonials in the first round of the playoffs three games to none, giving the Jackals their first trip to the championship since 2004. Quebec and New Jersey met in the championship, with the Capitales winning the series three games to one, capturing their third consecutive CanAm League title. Jackals pitcher Isaac Pavlik made a close run for the triple crown, finishing the regular season atop the league in wins and strikeouts, but third in ERA.

The Jackals and Les Capitales met in the league championship series in 2012 and 2013 as well. Quebec defeated the Jackals in both of those series.

For the 2014 season the Jackals will become part of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball along with the Capitales, the Rockland Boulders, and the Trois-Rivières Aigles. This move was made after the Newark Bears ceased operations following the 2013 season leaving the Can-Am League with only four teams.

Miscellaneous[edit]

Founded: 1998
Playoff Appearances: (8) 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
League Championships won: (4) 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004

The mascot for the Jackals is an anthropomorphic Jackal named Jack. He entertains the fans and has some trademark game antics, such as wiggling his tail, the Cha Cha Slide, the YMCA, etc. Jack is popular with children who attend the games, as well as the community.

The Jackals play at Yogi Berra Stadium, which is located on the Little Falls side of the Montclair State University campus and named for Hall of Fame ex-Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, a longtime Montclair resident. Also located at the stadium site is the Yogi Berra Museum, a baseball-themed educational attraction which also contains a stadium luxury box. The luxury box is used only by major league scouts and Berra himself, who attends at least twice a year during special theme nights on which he signs autographs for fans.

Retired jerseys[edit]

The Jackals have retired three jersey numbers since their inception.

  • 4 Zach Smithlin
Smithlin, a native of nearby Fair Lawn, New Jersey, joined the Jackals in 2004 after playing a year for the New Jersey Cardinals. After his first year with the team he was bought by the San Diego Padres, but returned to the Jackals after his release and remained with the team until 2009. Playing center field and later shortstop for the Jackals until 2009, Smithlin set the team records for games played, hits, runs scored, and stolen bases. Smithlin left baseball after playing a season with the Sussex Skyhawks in 2010 and the Jackals honored him by retiring his jersey the next year.
The Jackals have never issued number 8 in honor of Berra, who wore this number throughout his playing and managerial career and who is the namesake for the Jackals' home stadium.
  • 28 Joel Bennett
Bennett joined the Jackals in 2001 as a starting pitcher. A schoolteacher by trade from upstate New York, Bennett pitched for the Jackals until 2007 as was a member of three of the Jackals' league champion teams. He set all of the team's major career pitching records during his seven seasons, and served as a player-coach for his first two years. Bennett was the first Jackal player to have his number retired by the team, who honored him in 2008.

Rivalries[edit]

The New Jersey Jackals announced a formal rivalry with the Newark Bears shortly after the Bears joined the Can-Am League in 2010. Since both teams play in Essex County, New Jersey, they established the County Executives' Cup to formalize this geographical contest. Off the field, the Jackals and the Bears will collaborate in order to strengthen each teams' respective recognition in Essex County, support fund-raising projects for local charities, and coordinate educational programs to benefit area students.[1] The New Jersey Jackals won the inaugural County Executives' Cup in 2011.

The Jackals have also had rivalries in the past, notably between the Quebec Capitales and the Winnipeg Goldeyes, of the American Association. The Jackals defeated the Goldeyes in the 2001 and 2002 championship (winners of the East and Central). The Jackals won both Northern League championships series 3–1. The rivalry between the leagues, rematches, and off-field incidents led to the formation of this feud. Since their inception, Quebec and New Jersey have played in the same league. Both teams have won four league championships. In 2011, the Capitales defeated the Jackals three games to one in the championship series.

Logos and uniforms[edit]

The official colors of the New Jersey Jackals are red and black. The primary logo incorporates several elements, including the initials "NJ" for New Jersey with the "Jackals" wordmark following the "J." A stylized baseball in white with red threading and black outline dots the "J", with a depiction of a jackal's head in red with white shadowing and black outline is centered above the wordmark.

The Jackals wear a black cap for home games and red for away. The road cap has the "NJ" cap logo centered on the front, with a baseball dotting the "J." The home cap is black with the "jackal" cap logo centered on the front with a baseball incorporated with the logo to the left. The home jerseys are white with black pinstripes with the "Jackals" wordmark centered across in red with black outline. The away jerseys are grey with the "New Jersey" wordmark arched across the front in red letters with black outline. An alternate jersey is black with red piping with the "Jackals" wordmark centered across in red with white outline. The batting practice jersey is red with black sleeves, with the "NJ" cap logo centered on the left-side chest.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • John Lindsey, former Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman. Lindsey played for the Jackals in 2005 and was bought by the Florida Marlins at midseason, only to be released at the end of the year. Lindsey returned to the Jackals in 2006, played the entire season, and joined the Dodgers in 2007. Lindsey made his major league debut in 2010 at 33 years old. Lindsey joined the Jackals for a third time in 2013 after being released from the Detroit Tigers, where he had been playing in their minor league system for the Toledo Mud Hens.
  • Raúl Valdés, relief pitcher for the Houston Astros. Valdes pitched for the Jackals in 2006 and went 7-3 in 17 games with 12 starts. He signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets following the season and made his major league debut for them in 2010. Valdes signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2010 offseason and began the 2011 season with the Memphis Redbirds, the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate. He was released by St. Louis after making seven appearances and finished the 2011 season with the New York Yankees.
  • Mark Lemke, former second baseman for the Atlanta Braves. After retiring from the major leagues in 1998, Lemke decided to try to become a knuckleball pitcher and joined the Jackals for 1999. He was released early in the 2000 season due to control problems.
  • Pete Rose, Jr., son of Pete Rose and career minor leaguer. Rose, who played as "PJ Rose", spent two seasons with the Jackals from 1998-99.
  • Benji Gil, former major league infielder. Gil joined the Jackals as part of a comeback attempt in 2005 but was released.
  • D'Angelo Jiménez, former major league second baseman. Jiménez joined the Jackals in the second half of the 2011 season after spending the previous season split between the Rochester Red Wings and the Mexican League.

Season records[edit]

New Jersey Jackals 1998–2013[2]
Season League Manager First Half Record Second Half Record Season Record Result
1998 Northeast League Kash Beauchamp 30–12, 1st place South 23–19, 2nd place South 53–31 Won League Championship over Albany-Colonie
1999 Northeast League Kash Beauchamp 23–19, 1st place South 22–21, 2nd place South (tie) 45–40 Lost League Championship to Diamond Dogs
2000 Northern League Kash Beauchamp 17–25, 4th place South 14–27, 4th place South 31–52 Did not qualify for playoffs
2001 Northern League George Tsamis 20–25, 3rd place South 25–20, 2nd place South 45–45 Won' Northern League Championship over Winnipeg
2002 Northern League George Tsamis 30–15, 1st place South 32–12, 1st place South 62–27 Won Northern League Championship over Winnipeg
2003 Northern League Joe Calfapietra 28–17, 1st place South 24–20, 1st place South 52–37 Lost first round to Brockton Rocks
2004 Northeast League Joe Calfapietra 26–21, 1st place South 28–18, 1st place South 54–39 Won League Championship to North Shore
2005 CanAm League Joe Calfapietra 25–21, 2nd place South 23–23, 3rd place South 48–44 Did not qualify for playoffs
2006 CanAm League Joe Calfapietra 25–20, 2nd place (tie) 18–28, 7th place 43–48 Did not qualify for playoffs
2007 CanAm League Joe Calfapietra 31–15, 1st place 18–29, 10th place 49–34 Lost first round to Nashua Pride
2008 CanAm League Joe Calfapietra 25–22, 4th place 18–29, 8th place 43–41 Did not qualify for playoffs
2009 CanAm League Joe Calfapietra 28–19, 1st place 27–20, 3rd place 55–39 Lost in first round to Worcester
2010 CanAm League Joe Calfapietra 19–27, 5th place 23–23, 4th place 42–50 Lost in first round to Quebec
2011 CanAm League Joe Calfapietra 27-20, 2nd place 30-16, 1st place 57-36 Lost in League Championship to Quebec
2012 CanAm League Joe Calfapietra No Halves No Halves 59-41 Lost Championship to Quebec
2013 CanAm League Joe Calfapietra No Halves No Halves 55-44 Lost Championship to Quebec

All-time Team Records[edit]

Players in italics are still active.

Batting[edit]

Pitching[edit]

Statistics are as of the end of the 2011 season.[3]

Post-Season records[edit]

Post Season Records[4]
Year Opening Round League Championship Northern League Championship
1998 Defeated Allentown Ambassadors, 2 games to 0 Def. Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs, 2 games to 0
1999 Defeated Allentown Ambassadors, 3 games to 0 Lost to Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs, 3 games to 1
2001 Defeated Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs, 3 games to 0 Def. Elmira Pioneers, 3 games to 2 Def. Winnipeg Goldeyes, 3 games to 1
2002 Defeated Elmira Pioneers, 3 games to 2 Def. Adirondack Lumberjacks, 3 games to 2 Def. Winnipeg Goldeyes, 3 games to 1
2003 Lost to Brockton Rox, 3 games to 1
2004 Defeated Bangor Lumberjacks, 3 games to 1 Def. North Shore Spirit, 3 games to 2
2007 Lost to Nashua Pride, 3 games to 2
2009 Lost to Worcester Tornadoes, 3 games to 0
2010 Lost to Québec Capitales, 3 games to 0
2011 Defeated Pittsfield Colonials, 3 games to 0 Lost to Québec Capitales, 3 games to 1
2012 Qualified For Championship Vs. Québec Capitales

Current roster[edit]

New Jersey Jackals roster
Active (22-man) roster Coaches/Other

Pitchers

  • 33 Michael Antonini
  •  0 Chris Balcom-Miller ‡
  • 18 Keith Bilodeau
  • 40 Shaun Ellis
  • 25 Ryan Fennell
  • 11 Ty Kelly
  • 29 Jon Lucas
  •  7 Isaac Pavlik
  • 15 Gabriel Perez ‡
  • 34 Salvador Sanchez
  • 24 Matt Soren
  • 32 Tom Vessella



 

Catchers

  • 31 Yaniel Cabezas
  • 10 Tony Caldwell

Infielders

  •  6 Richard Arias
  • 20 Jeremy Barnes
  •  2 Jose Cuevas
  • 21 Joe Dunigan
  • 22 Steve Nikorak
  • 55 Jon Talley

Outfielders

  • 16 Alonzo Harris
  • 27 Carlos Mesa
  • 23 Felix Sanchez
  •  3 JaRon Shepherd
 

Manager

  • Joe Calfapietra

Coaches

  • Ed Ott (Pitching)
  • Ani Ramos (Assistant)
  • Chuck Stewart (Assistant)

Injury icon 2.svg Disabled list
‡ Inactive list
§ Suspended list

Roster updated May 24, 2014
Transactions

Broadcast homes[edit]

The Jackals currently offer broadcasts of their games via webcast at jackals.com and also provide a stadium-only radio broadcast for its fans attending games at Yogi Berra Stadium which is available on 88.1 FM. Since 2008, Cody Chrusciel has been the play-by-play broadcaster, taking over for Joe Ameruoso. For home games only, Chrusciel is joined by Matt Sutor as color man.

When the Jackals began in 1998, games were carried over Seton Hall University's WSOU. After a season there, the team moved to commercial station WMTR, an oldies station in Morristown, New Jersey. They also were heard on WJUX-FM, a New York-based standards station, ending their run on commercial radio in 2002. For this entire stretch, Jim Cerny was the voice of the Jackals.

WPSC-FM, the on-campus radio station for William Paterson University, took broadcast rights in 2003 and kept them until 2006. The original broadcast team consisted of Darren Cooper on play-by-play with Joe Ameruoso as color commentator. Cooper left the broadcast after the season, and Tony Colucci was added as color man to take over for the promoted Ameruoso. Beginning in 2005, Ameruoso did the broadcasts by himself.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by
Elmira Pioneers
1997
Northeast League Champions
New Jersey Jackals

1998
Succeeded by
Brockton Rox
2003
Preceded by
Adirondack Lumberjacks
2000
Northern League Champions
New Jersey Jackals

20012002
Succeeded by
Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks
2003
Preceded by
Brockton Rox
2003
Northeast League Champions
New Jersey Jackals

2004
Succeeded by
Worcester Tornadoes
2005 Can-Am