Chester Baseball and Softball Association Records Finding Aid

Chester Baseball and Softball Association Records, 1953-1977

Collection Number: SB3CHS060000US

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

Descriptive Summary

Title:

Chester Baseball and Softball Association Records

Creator:

Chester Baseball and Softball Association

Dates:

1953-1977

Extent:

2.5 linear feet (1 document case and 1 polyethylene storage tube)

Abstract:

The Chester Baseball and Softball Association Records document the founding, sponsors, games, team members and managers, and general performance of the Chester Little League from 1953 through 1977. 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.

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/

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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 Baseball and Softball Association Records collection of Chester Public Library, Chester, New Jersey.

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

Finding Aid Author: Debra Schiff, Local History Librarian

Description Control: Description based on DACS.

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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 West Morris Little 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 West Morris Little 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.

References:

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

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Scope and Content

The Chester Baseball and Softball Association Records were created to document the founding, select financials, sponsors, games, team members and managers, and general performance of the Chester Little League. Currently, this collection includes the League’s Scrapbook that covers the time period from 1953 through 1977, with the exception of 1967, which does not appear in this collection. 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 scrapbook 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 2.5 decades of the Chester Little League.

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Organization and Arrangement

The Chester Baseball and Softball Association Records collection comprises 1 scrapbook that resides in 8 folders and 1 inert polyethylene tube. The tube contains 3 architectural and field drawings sent by Little League Baseball in Williamsport, PA to the Chester Little League. The folders are arranged in chronological order.

Preservation Note:

Previously, the scrapbook had been held inside a vinyl 3-ring binder. Due to the vinyl’s deterioration and stress on the pages from the rings, the pages have been removed to folders. Additionally, inside the front cover pocket were several field drawings which have since been unfolded, flattened, and rolled for storage inside an inert polyethylene tube.

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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
Hollenbeck, Clarence
Johnson, Derek
Jones, Robert C.
Maysey, Larry W.
Miller, Louis
Muller, Kenneth
Rowlands, Thomas
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.

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Container List

Container Number Folder Title Date
Box 1 1 Field Drawings Undated
Box 1 2 Little League Scrapbook 1953-1963
Box 1 3 Little League Scrapbook 1964-1966
Box 1 4 Little League Scrapbook 1968-1969
Box 1 5 Little League Scrapbook 1970-1971
Box 1 6 Little League Scrapbook 1972-1973
Box 1 7 Little League Scrapbook 1974-1975
Box 1 8 Little League Scrapbook 1976-1977
Tube 1 Field Drawings (3): Field House, Field Layout, Dugout 1967, undated

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