South Jersey Baseball History:
Sunday, June 20, 1999
By Charlie Schick
Dateline is a diary of South Jersey baseball that highlights area players, games, events, and outstanding accomplishments in the past history of the great game of baseball. The dates and facts listed below are taken from the manuscript entitled "A Day's Walk Through South Jersey Baseball".
June 1, 1921. Major League umpires start to rub down game baseballs with mud that comes from a Riverside, New Jersey farm owned by South Jersey Hall of Fame infielder Len Blackbourne. The practice was started in an attempt to cut down the baseball's glare. Blackbourne played 8 years in the big leagues.
June 3, 1959. Left-fielder Dave Robinson smashed 5 hits to lead Moorestown High to a 11 to 1 win over Mount Holly High, and clinch the South Jersey Central League championship. The Quakers Bob Ballentine threw a 4-hitter in collecting the win. Teammate shortstop Jon Gibbons blasted a solo home run, as the winners upped their season record to 10-2.
June 5, 1961. Atlantic City High's Lou Polisano hurled a no-hitter to defeat Holy Spirit High 6 to 0. Polisano, a senior right-hander, fanned 9 and walked 5 in claiming the win. The contest was won with a big 3-run first inning, then Polisano twirled his magic the rest of the way.
June 7, 1947. Don Money was born in Washington, D.C. and later moved to South Jersey. He went on to play 16 years in the major leagues. Ms. career included 5 years for the Phillies, and 11 for the Milwaukee Brewers. Money also coached high school a number of years in Vineland, NJ.
June 9, 1973. The brilliant pitching of left-hander Vic Foreman carried Palmyra High to its first State Group I baseball title, by downing Cedar Grove High 1 to 0 in extra innings. Foreman's 8-inning shutout performance ended his high school pitching career with 36 consecutive scoreless innings of work.
June 11, 1939. Power hitting Leon Clevenger of Medford A.A. set a Burlington County Semi-pro League record, when he blasted 4 straight home runs to lead his club to a 19 to 7 victory over Palmyra A. C. Clevenger also went on to set the league season record for homers in 1939.
June 13, 1983. Head Coach Russ Spicer won his 500th high school baseball game, when his Moorestown High team beat Willingboro High 3 to 2. The victory won the Diamond Classic Tournament for the Quakers. The winner's Todd Powell won the title game with a homer.
June 15, 1915. The Medford Ball Club of the Burlington County Semi-pro League played a 20-inning scoreless tie game against Mount Holly. Amazingly, both starting pitchers, Medford's Bill Vaughan and Mount Holly's Clarence Chance both threw all 20 innings for their teams.
June 16, 1988. Mark Karr, Pennsville High's big first baseman, went 5 for 5 in leading an explosive offense in a 26 to 4 rout of Clayton High. Karr's fantastic day included 3 home runs, a double, 11 RBIs and 5 runs scored. He would go on to tie for the lead in South Jersey scholastic play with 11 homers in 1988.
June 17, 1938. Washington Senators' outfielder George Case, Burlington County Semi-pro League, hit his first major league home run. Case's solo homer came off the offering of Detroit Tiger chucker Jake Wade. Known more for his blazing speed, he would hit but 21 homers in his 11 year big league career.
June 19, 1925. Salem's Goose Goslin, Washington Senators' outfielder, hit 3 home runs in a game, to become the first major league player in history from the state of New Jersey to accomplish the feat. Goslin went on to hit 3 homers in a game two more times in his outstanding big league career.
June 21, 1946. Outstanding southpaw Fran Dale of Holy Spirit High became the first South Jersey Parochial baseball player to be selected to the New Jersey All State Team. Dale's numerous no-hitters and a perfect game highlighted his senior season.
June 22, 1951. The Philadelphia Phillies announced that they signed Merchantville High's ace mounds man Howard Evans to a $10,000 bonus pro contract. Evan's outstanding high school career included averaging 17 strikeouts per game in his senior year. He was assigned to the Bradford minor league team in the Pony League.
June 24, 1963. Burlington New Jersey's pitcher Barney Schultz was traded by the Chicago Cubs to the St. Louis Cardinals. He would go on to post a 2 - 0 record with the Cards, and stay with them for another two seasons. In 2 1/2 years with the Cubs, Schultz won 13 and lost 11, while picking up 12 saves.
June 26, 1985. Bob Sebra, Medford New Jersey, right-hand pitcher for the Texas Rangers of the American League, made his big league debut. In his rookie season, Sebra appeared in 7 games, completed 4 and finished with a 0 - 2 record. He would be traded to the Montreal Expos in 1986.
June 27, 1939. Beach Haven New Jersey's Doc Cramer, star outfielder for the Boston Red Sox, became the first South Jersey pro ball player to be named to the major league All-Star team's starting line-up. Cramer would lead off for the American League on July 11 at Yankee Stadium.
June 28, 1923. Camden's Fred Heimach of the Philadelphia Athletics hit his first major league home run. His solo round tripper came off the offerings of New York Yankee hurler Bob Shawkey. Heimach, a pitcher, hit only 3 homers over his 13 season big league career..
June 30, 1915. Ty Helfrich, Pleasantville High grad, second baseman for the Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the Federal League, made his major league debut. Ty would play only one season for the Tip-Tops and collected 25 hits while posting a .240 batting average. He returned to South Jersey to become one of the nation's most successful high school coaches.
This is just a sample of South Jersey's baseball history, but I hope you enjoyed it half as much as I did researching these outstanding scholastic, college and major leaguers from our area.
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