Chester Little League Records Finding Aid

Chester Little League Records, 1953-2008

Collection Number: SB3CHS060000US

Finding Aid Publication Date: Published in 2012, updated in 2019. ©Copyright Chester Public Library

Descriptive Summary

Title:

Chester Little League Records

Creators:

Chester Little League, Drew Dix, John “Jack” Rademacher, Nate Saltus, and Bruce Schmeal

Dates:

1953-20018, with gaps

Extent:

3.5 linear feet (2 document cases and 1 polyethylene storage tube) and 54 GB of electronic data

Abstract:

The Chester Little League Records document the founding, sponsors, games, team members and managers, and general performance of the Chester Little League from 1953 through 1977, and 2007-2008. The areas of Chester, Mendham, Brookside, Flanders, Long Valley, Peapack-Gladstone, and Morris County at large are the geographic locations pertinent to the collection.  The subjects covered include the evolution of Little League baseball in Chester, civil rights in sports, aluminum bats in Little League baseball, and the sponsoring organizations of the teams. Oral histories of two players are included.

Language:

English

Repository:

Local History Department
Chester Public Library
250 W. Main Street
Chester, NJ 07930
Phone: (908) 879-7612
Fax:  (908) 879-8695
Email: LocalHistory@ChesterLib.org
http://www.chesterlib.org/

Table of Contents

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Use:

The collection is open for research.

Physical Access:

The items in this collection may be used by patrons who abide by the guidelines of the Local History Department.

Technical Access:

No special equipment is required to access this collection.

Conditions Governing Reproduction:

Copyright restrictions apply. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Local History Librarian, Chester Public Library, 250 W. Main Street, Chester, NJ 07930.

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], Chester Little League Records collection of Chester Public Library, Chester, New Jersey.

Collection Processed By: Debra Schiff, Local History Librarian in 2012 and 2018

Finding Aid Author: Debra Schiff, Local History Librarian

Description Control: Description based on DACS.

Table of Contents

History

In 1953, Chester Rotarian Austin W. Thompson created Chester Little League with the sponsorship of the Chester Rotary Club. Early financial records show that nearly six years after founding the League, its Manager James J. Bowers began work on an Expansion Committee and development of a playing field. According to the Chester Baseball and Softball Association web site, “In 1954 CLL paid 50 dollars to join the MBC League (Mendham-Brookside-Chester League, later the West Morris Little League) and this continued thru the years in one form or another until 1978 when Mendham split off to form a separate chartered league.”

By 1964, Chester Little League comprised four teams: Vamps, P.T.A., Del Rock, and Little Legion. A year later, Chester had two farm teams: Taylor Farm and Hickory Farm, as well as a Shop Rite and Chester Uniform Team. In 1968, Chester Little League had 10 teams participating in the games. An All-Stars team was formed from members of the Colonials, Brookside, Bears, Mets, and Pastime teams in 1969.

In 1970, the League provided a progress report that charted the growth from 15 boys on 1 team in 1957, to 2 Babe Ruth League teams, 1 Babe Ruth League farm team, 3 uniformed Little League teams, 10 farm teams, and 4 instructional teams (20 teams total) with 300 boys in 1970. The League also invested heavily in field improvements, including fencing and backstops. That year also saw the passing of the League’s Treasurer and Old Gladstone Road resident Howard W. Brey. Prior to his treasury duties, he had founded, managed, and coached several of the uniform and farm teams. Brey died suddenly while managing a Chester Tigers game. The Howard Brey Memorial Field Dickerson School was named in his memory.

In 1973, controversy struck when the League did not adopt the use of aluminum bats. This stand was supported by local doctor Joseph J. Cillo, who stated that although Little League rules approved the bats, he felt strongly that the bats should be prohibited because “anything that makes the batted ball move faster should be prohibited. An aluminum bat makes the ball move faster.” His concerns about the hazards increased by “having the ball leap off an aluminum bat even faster,” were conveyed to the Little League Headquarters in Williamsport, PA. The response (included in these records) was “It is incorrect that balls will travel faster off an aluminum bat than a wooden bat… It is possible that the sound of the aluminum bat gives an ‘impression’ that the ball is traveling faster than off a wooden bat.”

One year later, the league was swept up in another controversy – girls trying out for Little League. However, the Director of the Division on Civil Rights, State of New Jersey sent a letter to each Little League President in the state mandating the following points:

  1. That every team must consider any child between 8-12, regardless of sex
  2. No N.J. Little Leagues may create, sponsor, or authorize any sex-segregated athletic teams or leagues for children under 13
  3. Any team that had completed its registration after the letter must re-open registration for the same time period as the previous registration in order to fairly consider all applicants.

The controversy didn’t last long, because the 1974 Little Legion team boasted two girls on its team. Further, for the first time, a female Little League coach played against the Chester Volunteer Firemen in a softball game. By 1976, an all-girl Little League team marched in the Chester Little League Parade.

In 2018, several Chester Little League alumni made donations to the collection, including the 1977-1983 scrapbook, photocopies of a personal scrapbook and applications for charter, ephemera, and textiles. Additionally, oral histories were taken of Drew Dix and Jack Rademacher.

References:

Chester Baseball and Softball Association. History of Baseball in Chester. Chester, 2012. Web. 17 October 2012.

Table of Contents

Scope and Content

The Chester Little League Records were created to document the founding, select financials, sponsors, games, team members and managers, and general performance of the Chester Little League. This collection includes the League’s two scrapbooks that cover the time period from 1953-1977 and 1977-1983, as well as portions of player Jim Durward’s scrapbook of his 1961-1965 and other documents central to the running of the League. The collection also includes two oral histories of Drew Dix and Jack Rademacher, and ephemera donated by Nate Saltus and Bruce Schmeal.  The areas of Chester, Mendham, Brookside, Flanders, Long Valley, Peapack-Gladstone, and Morris County at large are the geographic locations pertinent to the collection.  The subjects covered in the scrapbooks include the evolution of Little League baseball in Chester, civil rights in sports, aluminum bats in baseball, and the sponsoring organizations (local businesses and fundraising organizations such as the Rotary Club) of the teams. The value of this collection to researchers is in its documentation of the first 3+ decades of the Chester Little League.

Table of Contents

Organization and Arrangement

The Chester Little League Records collection comprises 2 scrapbooks that reside in 12 folders and 1 inert polyethylene tube, as well as 5 other folders with materials pertinent to the collection. The tube contains 3 architectural and field drawings sent by Little League Baseball in Williamsport, PA to the Chester Little League. The scrapbook folders are arranged in chronological order.

Additionally, there are 54 GB of electronic files, including born-digital, high-definition video interviews of two players, and digital facsimiles of the scrapbooks and other loaned items pertinent to the collection.

Preservation Note:

Previously, the scrapbooks had been held inside vinyl 3-ring binders. Due to the vinyl’s deterioration and stress on the pages from the rings, the pages have been removed to folders. Significant acidity from supporting pages led the archivist to remove the items from the scrapbooks, after they had been digitized. Additionally, inside the front cover pocket of Scrapbook 1 were several field drawings which have since been unfolded, flattened, and rolled for storage inside an inert polyethylene tube.

Table of Contents

Index Terms

Corporate Names/Organizations Subject:

American Legion. Post 342 (Chester, N.J.)
Chester Baseball and Softball Association
Chester Clothes Shop
Chester Coffee Shop
Chester Little League
Chester Volunteer Fire Company
Cut-Let Appliances
Fox Chase Realty
Ken Muller Real Estate
Larison’s Turkey Farm
Little League Baseball, inc.
Mendham-Brookside-Chester Little League
Peapack-Gladstone Bank
Rotary Club of Chester
Shoprite
Taylor’s Dairy Farms
Tredway & Brey Agency
West Morris Little League

Subjects:

Aluminum baseball bats
Baseball Equipment and supplies
Civil rights.
Little League baseball

People:

Barkman, Jon
Bowers, Cassie
Bowers, Charles C.
Bowers, James L.
Brey, Howard W.
Cillo, Joseph
Collins, Robert
Cramer, Charles G.
D’Agostino, Ralph
Dix, Drew
Hollenbeck, Clarence
Johnson, Derek
Jones, Robert C.
Maysey, Larry W.
Miller, Louis
Muller, Kenneth
Rademacher, John (Jack)
Rowlands, Thomas
Saltus, Nate
Thompson, Austin
Voss, Fred
Zack, Herbert

Places:

Chester (N.J.)
Chester Township (N.J.)
Flanders (N.J.)
Howard Brey Memorial Field
Long Valley (N.J.)
Mendham (N.J.)
Morris County (N.J.)
New Jersey.
Peapack (N.J.)

Genre Terms:

Scrapbooks.
Sports.

Table of Contents

Container List

Container List:

Box 1, Scrapbooks and Applications for Charter, 1953-2008, with gaps

Container Number Folder Title Date
Box 1 1 Field Drawings Undated
2 Scrapbook 1 1953-1963
3 Scrapbook 1 1964-1966
4 Scrapbook 1 1968-1969
5 Scrapbook 1 1970-1971
6 Scrapbook 1 1972-1973
7 Scrapbook 1 1974-1975
8 Scrapbook 1 1976-1977
9 Scrapbook 2 1977
10 Scrapbook 2 1978-1979
11 Scrapbook 2 1980
12 Scrapbook 2 1981-1983
13 Jim Durward’s Chester Little League Scrapbook (photocopies) 1961-1965
14 Applications for Charter (photocopies) 1953-1996
15 Certificates of Charter 2007-2008
16 Ephemera, Chester Little League Sticker 1983
17 Forms Undated

Box 2, Baseball Cap 

Container Number Folder Title Date
Box 2 Baseball cap, Nate Saltus c. 1980-1981

 Tube 1, Field Drawings, 1967, undated 

Container Number Folder Title Date
Tube 1 1 Field Drawings (3): Field House, Field Layout, Dugout 1967, undated

Table of Contents



Comments are closed.