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Bergen County Historical Society : Baseball is Back !

photos courtesy of the Bergen County Historical Society

from Bergen County Historical Society

New Bridge Crossing NJ,  We hope you and your families are doing well. Baseball is back. It’s hard to imagine that so late in July. Each July past, we have hosted a Vintage base ball game in the meadow that has always been well attended by cranks who enjoy both baseball and history. While the game was cancelled this year, in honor of baseball starting up again, we wanted to share the history of the game right in our own backyard, New Bridge. Enjoy the history of the game on a local level, photos are from past events.

New Bridge Base Ball History by Kevin Wright
Lithographs, based largely upon eyewitness observations and sketches, record the growing popularity of baseball among soldiers, who played games in camp during leisurely interludes of the American Civil War. Baseball grew into a truly national pastime, as both an athletic competition and spectator sport, when returning veterans established the now standardized game in hometowns from coast to coast.
Bergen County newspapers took notice of local baseball games in the postwar years. In an early example, the Enterprise Base Ball Club of New Bridge hosted the Quicksteps of Park Ridge in a game on August 19, 1873, at which the Quicksteps reportedly imported seven “roughs” from Paterson to augment their line-up. After one inning of play, the Paterson players realized that the Enterprise Club was going to be too much for them to overcome and so they “kicked up a row.” Not succeeding with this tactic, “they finally smuggled the ball and the game was over for the day.” Most inhabitants of the neighborhood regarded such conduct as a “display of poor sportsmanship.” Nevertheless, by the end of September 1873, the New Bridge correspondent for the Bergen Democrat boasted, “The Enterprise Base Ball Club are the champion players of the county. No other clubs dare to venture a challenge from them.”

The Fearless Baseball Club of New Bridge was organized in July 1881 with Frederick Heine as Captain and Peter Cole as Secretary. Fred Heine, born in New York in 1854, was the son of Carl George Frederick Heine,
a German immigrant who was the popular proprietor of the New Bridge Inn. On July 30, 1881, Heine’s team defeated the Pioneers of Schraalenburgh with a score of 56 to 21. On August 22nd, the Hackensack Baseball Club defeated the Fearless Club at New Bridge, 16 to 2. Captain Heine, of the Fearless Nine, disputed the decision of an empire regarding a fair ball. He consequently lost a dollar bet with the umpire when the rule- book was consulted and Captain Henie was proven wrong in his opinion.

On August 27th, the Tenafly Club defeated the Fearless Baseball Club of New Bridge, 21 to 16. In January 1883, local gossip intimated that a baseball team would be organized at New Bridge that spring. But it wasn’t until Saturday, July 16, 1887, that we read how the Enterprise Base Ball Club of Cherry Hill defeated the Hillsdales, 14 to 7. On Saturday, August 20, 1887, the Cherry Hill team again defeated the Hillsdales, 4 to 3. On Saturday, September 17, 1887, Cherry Hill finally outscored the Carlstadt baseball team in the tenth inning, winning 7 to 5.

On March 16, 1894, The Bergen Democrat reported baseball supplies were crowding store windows in Hackensack.

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