Newark Bears

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Newark Bears
Founded in 1998
Newark, New Jersey
Newark Bears (logo).png
Team logo
League affiliations
Name
  • Newark Bears (1998–present)
  • Newark Sailors, Newark Eagles
Other nicknames
  • Brick City Bears
Team Colors
  • Navy blue, white
         
Ballpark
Championships
  • League titles: (2) 2002, 2007
  • Division titles: (2) 2001, 2007 (First Half Champs)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s):
Danielle Dronet and Douglas Spiel
General Manager: Danielle Dronet
Manager: Garry Templeton
Website
www.newarkbears.com
Riverfront Stadium

The Newark Bears were an American professional baseball team based in Newark, New Jersey. They were a member of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, which is not affiliated with Major League Baseball. Since the 1999 season, the Bears have played their home games at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium. They were originally a member of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. The Can-Am League announced on November 28, 2013 that the Newark Bears would not operate in 2014.[1]

History of Newark baseball[edit]

Newark was the home of several former minor league baseball teams, from the formation of the Newark Indians in 1902, and the addition of the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League in 1936. A Federal League team, the Newark Pepper also played in 1915.

The original Newark Bears were a team in the International League from 1926 to 1949. They played their home games at the former Ruppert Stadium in what is now known as the Ironbound section of Newark.

The Bears of the Atlantic League[edit]

The Newark Bears are named for the former Newark Bears team of the International League. The team was formed in 1998 by former New York Yankees catcher Rick Cerone, a Newark native. However, the Bears played their "home" schedule at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut that season while awaiting the completion of their new home field. In addition, the Bears played several home games during the first half of the 1999 season at Skylands Park in Augusta, New Jersey. The Bears inaugurated their new park, Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium, in Newark on July 16, 1999.

Over the years, the Bears have succeeded in attracting star talent to their club. Ozzie Canseco played for the Bears in 2000 and 2001, and his brother José Canseco was with the team for part of 2001 as well. Rickey Henderson played the first half of the 2003 season with the Bears and was named most valuable player in the Atlantic League All-Star Game. He was subsequently signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but was released at season's end, and he returned to the Bears for 2004. Also in 2003, José Lima pitched for the Bears at the beginning of the season; after the Kansas City Royals signed him away from Newark, Lima won his first seven decisions for the Royals.[2]

Other notable alumi include Scott Spiezio, Armando Benítez, Carl Everett, Ramiro Mendoza, Scott Williamson, Keith Foulke, Jay Gibbons, Jim Leyritz, Daryle Ward and Lance Johnson.

Rescue from bankruptcy and possible demise[edit]

The Newark Bears, under former owner Marc Berson, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 24, 2008.[3] The team's existence was almost compromised until the Bases Loaded Group, LLC purchased the team, guaranteeing a $1 million line of credit to the Atlantic League. The Bases Loaded Group consisted of executives from Philadelphia and New Jersey, some hailing from Newark. The primary leader of the group was Tom Cetnar, former General Manager of the Bears in 2001, he served as President of the Newark Bears and a member of the ownership group.

Move to the Can-Am League[edit]

The Newark Bears joined the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball on October 6, 2010.[4] The Bears were one of three teams to join the league for the 2011 season, with the traveling New York Federals and the expansion Rockland Boulders. Newark was originally to be one of three cities to represent New Jersey in the Can-Am League along with Little Falls, home of the New Jersey Jackals, and Augusta, home of the Sussex Skyhawks. The Skyhawks, however, elected to stop operating after the 2010 season.

The Bears are also the most recent Atlantic League team to switch leagues. The Nashua Pride moved following the 2005 Atlantic League season, and the Atlantic City Surf followed the next year. Like the Bears, both moved to the Can-Am League. The Surf folded after two seasons in the league while the Pride franchise is now known as the Pittsfield Colonials.

Currently, the Newark Bears are owned and operated by Dr Douglas Spiel and Danielle Dronet.

The Can-Am League announced on November 28, 2013 that the Newark Bears would not operate in 2014, with the remaining 4 teams now a division in the American Association.[5]

Logos and uniforms[edit]

The Bears' original primary logo, used from 1998-2004
The Bears' primary logo used from 2005-2008

The team colors of the Newark Bears are navy blue and white. The primary logo consists of a stylized bear holding a baseball bat superimposed over a depiction of the Newark skyline over a baseball diamond. The "Newark Bears" wordmark is centered at the base of the logo, and includes white accents and black outline.

The Bears' uniforms are traditional in design. The home cap is navy blue throughout with a white block "N" centered on the front. The home jerseys are white with traditional navy blue pinstripes. A navy blue, block "N" is prominently displayed on the left breast. The road jersey is gray with the cursive "Newark" wordmark in navy blue, centered diagonally across the front. Both home and away jersey sleeves sport the Bears' primary logo. The Bears wear navy blue belts and socks with all uniforms.

Season-by-season records[edit]

Newark Bears - 2004 to 2011[6]
Season W - L Record Winning Percentage Finish Playoffs
2004 63-63 .500 2nd in South Division Did not qualify for playoffs
2005 58-82 .414 3rd in North Division Did not qualify for playoffs
2006 42-83 .336 3rd in North Division Did not qualify for playoffs
2007 72-54 .571 2nd in North Division 2-0 (won championship)
2008 72-68 .514 Last in Freedom Division Did not qualify for playoffs
2009 74-66 .529 2nd in Freedom Division 1-3 (lost to Somerset in Freedom Division Championship)
2010 53-86 .381 4th in Freedom Division Did not qualify for playoffs
2011 41-51 .446 6th in Canadian-American Association Did not qualify for playoffs
2012 35-65 .350 4th in Canadian-American Association Did not qualify for playoffs
2013 37-63 .370 5th in Canadian-American Association Did not qualify for playoffs
Totals (1998–2013) 902-1036 .471 - -
Playoffs 7-3 .700 - -


  • 2 Atlantic League Championships (2002, 2007)

Rivalries[edit]

Shortly after the Newark Bears joined the Can-Am League, they announced a formal rivalry with the New Jersey Jackals. Since both teams play in Essex County, New Jersey, they established the County Executives' Cup to formalize this geographical contest. Off the field, the Bears and the Jackals 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.[7]

Radio[edit]

Bears games were aired on WSOU-FM 89.5 from 1999–2003, and again from 2007-2008. Previous announcers for the team include Seton Hall color commentator Dave Popkin, former WNEW-FM disc jockey Jim Monaghan, MLB Network host Victor Rojas, Somerset Patriots announcer Brian Bender, former New York Islanders broadcaster Jim Cerny, Ray Alexander, and Erie Otters broadcaster Paul Roper. In 2009, longtime New York sportscaster Spencer Ross served as both radio broadcaster and team on-field MC.

Mascots[edit]

The Newark Bears' official mascots are anthropomorphic bears named Ruppert and Effa. They wear the team's home jersey and cap. Ruppert is named after Jacob Ruppert, who owned the former Newark Bears team in the 1930s. Effa alludes to Effa Manley, the first woman to own and operate a professional baseball team (the Newark Eagles) and the only female member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.[8]

Current roster[edit]

Newark Bears roster
Active (22-man) roster Coaches/Other

Pitchers

  • 21 Bryan Banes Injury icon 2.svg
  • 33 Ryan Carr
  • 12 Brian Chandler
  • 32 Sergio Espinosa
  • 22 Ryan Fennell
  • 29 Fray Martinez
  • 16 Leandro Mella
  • 27 Kyle Morrison
  • 36 Mike Ness
  • 15 Brian Parker
  • 31 Leony Perez
  • 35 Jorge Vásquez



 

Catchers

  • 10 Kyle Lafrenz
  • 28 Elvin Millan
  • 44 Manny Reyes

Infielders

  • 23 Ernie Banks, Jr.
  • 25 Matt Huggins
  •  5 Bridger Hunt ‡
  • 11 D'Angelo Jiménez
  • 20 Brandon Mims
  •  3 Travis Weaver

Outfielders

  • 13 Carlos Guzman
  •  2 Brandon Newton
  • 19 JJ Sherrill
  •  8 Jamar Walton
 

Manager

Coaches

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

Roster updated 5-16-2013
Transactions

Retired numbers[edit]

21 (Roberto Clemente)
OF, Retired in 2009[9]
42 (Jackie Robinson)
2B, Retired throughout professional baseball on April 15, 1997[9]
1 (Quentin Davis)
OF, Retired in 2012[10]

Notable former players[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by
Lancaster Barnstormers
2006
Atlantic League Champions
Newark Bears

2007
Succeeded by
Somerset Patriots
2008
Preceded by
Somerset Patriots
2002
Atlantic League Champions
Newark Bears

2002
Succeeded by
Somerset Patriots
2003
Achievements
Preceded by
Bridgeport Bluefish
2006
North Division Champions
Newark Bears

2007
Succeeded by
Camden Riversharks
Liberty Division
2008
Preceded by
Somerset Patriots
2001
South Division Champions
Newark Bears

2002
Succeeded by
Somerset Patriots
2003
Preceded by
Nashua Pride
2000
North Division Champions
Newark Bears

2001
Succeeded by
Bridgeport Bluefish
2002