Baseball in Trenton
Did you know that one of the most famous baseball players ever played in Trenton? His name was Willie Mays. It was a time in American history when African American players were making the transition (change) from the Negro League to the more established major league teams. In 1950, Willie (19 yrs. old) was asked to play for the Trenton Giants, a minor league team. He was to become the first African American player to join the league. He put up with many of the same hostilities from fans as Jackie Robinson did when he became the first African American player to join the major leagues. Willie played spectacular for the Trenton Giants with a .353 batting average before being called up to a higher level. Willie Mays went on to become a hall of famer for the New York (And later, San Francisco) Giants (With a small stint with the NY Mets at the end of his career).
Minor league baseball existed in Trenton between 1936 and 1950. Trenton was too close to Philadelphia and New York to support a major league team. In 1980, a group of businessmen in conjunction (worked with) with Mercer County politicians decided to try to bring baseball back to the city. This was part of a move to revive (bring back to life) the Trenton waterfront. Many cities of the time were achieving economic success by developing their waterfronts along rivers into places of entertainment. Waterfront Stadium (Now called Armor and Hammer Park) was built with a view of the beautiful Delaware River. It holds about 6,400 baseball fans.
The Double AA minor league baseball team was called the Trenton Thunder. It was run by the Boston Red Sox organization. The New York Yankees were later to take over the team. The baseball team proved very successful breaking minor league attendance records. Boomer, the team mascot became a well known name in Mercer County. Fireworks can be heard over South Trenton on warm summer evenings on game nights. Famous modern day Yankee players such as Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have played here while recuperating from injuries.
Trenton also has two little league teams (Chambersburg and West End) that Trenton youth can join in hopes of one day playing for the Thunder. There are also Babe Ruth and American Legion teams that play here. Several Trenton schools also play baseball and softball here.
This article will end on another piece of baseball trivia regarding Trenton. The Chamberburg area of Trenton used to be heavily Italian and had several well know Italian restaurants. There was a restaurant there called Rossi's Bar and Grill. The corner of Franklin and Morris still has a sign (Although the current owners are trying to get it removed to be placed at their current location in Hamilton) which commemorates (celebrates) Joe DiMaggio eating there several times. DiMaggio was one of the most famous in a long list of great Yankee players. Rossi's (The original owner) son was an outstanding baseball prospect and DiMaggio was a scout for the Yankees after he retired. He came to Trenton to scout prospects and would eat at Rossi's.
Wikopidia.Com (Trenton baseball)
Photo source: K.Mayberg & www.panoramio.com
Posted: Tuesday, February 16, 2016