1955: The First Season

After a period of registration and tryouts, the opening day lineup of teams looked like this:

  • Cornell Dubilier Indians
    Manager: George Goodrich, Coaches: Ed Lind and John Versocki
  • Polish National Home Dodgers
    Manager: Bill Anderson, Coaches: Steven Timko and Joe Mazurkewicz
  • Ellen Park Club Braves
    Manager: Bob Gilbert, Coaches: Ted Taryniak and Tom Burgoyne
  • South Plainfield Fire Dept Giants
    Manager: Tom Orlando, Coaches: Carleton Sohl and Gene Poklitar
  • Rotary Club Yankees
    Manager: Dom Biondi, Coaches: John Winnegar and Ted Lancheski
  • Plainfield Ave Merchants Tigers
    Manager: John Kaplan, Coaches: Carl Jess and Harry Acker

By the way, The Plainfield Ave Merchants Association consisted of the following businesses (many will be familiar to old time South Plainfield residents): Delayo’s Market, Almart Bakery, George’s Cleaners, Morris Pharmacy, Pike’s Hardware, Roseann Sweet Shop, and LoCosta’s Barber Shop. Certainly a word of thanks should go to all of these original team sponsors who generously donated money for uniforms and equipment. Of course they did get free advertising as they got their name on the back of the uniforms!

That 1955 first season had 90 boys participating on six teams.

1955 Polish National Home Dodgers, South Plainfield Small Fry League

1955 Polish National Home Dodgers
Front, Jimmy Anderson, mascot. Front row, left to right: Joe Vastano, Davy Schratchley, Ronnie Cote, Billy Anderson, Ronnie Kuboski, Maurice Kirchofer, Bobby Lynd and Dave McLintock. Second row: George Evans, Claude Penrose, Bobby Timko, Jimmy Kocha, Roger Mazurkewicz, Lennie Schiavi and Fred Eckert. Back row: Joe Mazurkewicz, coach; Bill Anderson, manager, and Steve Timko, coach.

1955 Ellen Park Club Braves, South Plainfield, NJ Small Fry League

1955 Ellen Park Club Braves
Front row, left to right: Terry Slater, Frank Schaffter Jr., Robert Engler, George Conover, Leo Grabowski, John Conklin and Robert Blair. Second row, Roland Lipka, George Boynston, Robert Desesso and Ronnie Whittman. Back row: Frank Schaffter, coach; Bob Gilbert, manager, and Ted Faryniak, coach.

1955 Plainfield Ave Merchants Tigers, South Plainfield, NJ Small Fry Baseball League

1955 Plainfield Avenue Merchants Tigers
First row, left to right: Joseph Capparelli, John Kaplan, Philip Feltham, James Capone, Peter Schkeeper, Carlton Jess, Dennis Ackeer. Standing: Henry Acker, Daniel Ventriglio, Robert Dallas, Gerard Icouzzi, David Spisso, Frank Gangemi, Manager John Kaplan.

1955 Cornell-Dubilier Indians, South Plainfield, NJ, Small Fry Baseball League

1955 Cornell-Dubilier Indians
First row, left-right, are Bernard Schiappa, Jim Manfello, George Goodrich Jr., Roddy Kellogg, Jack Versocki, Charles McIver, John Bogden, Ronnie Grauso and Richard Steele; second row, Leroy Milas, Buddy MacNair, Henry Decker, Craig Loupassakis, Gordon Holz and Ed Lind Jr.; back row, Edward Lind, coach; George Goodrich, manager, and John Versocki, coach.

1955 South Plainfield Fire Department Giants

1955 South Plainfield Fire Department Giants
Front row, left to right: Kenneth Ribar, Tommy Madambo, John Byrne, Gene Poklitar Jr., Carleton Sohl, Paul Hawkins, Don Smith and Downs Morgan. Second row: Louis Spisso, Walter Kozumbo, Wally Van Vleet, Bill Delayo, Steve Timko, and Paul Stappas. Back row: Gene Poklitar, manager; Tom Orlando, league director; and Carl Sohl, coach.

1955 Rotary Club Yankees, South Plainfield New Jersey Small Fry League

1955 Rotary Club Yankees
Front row, left to right: Michael Muzucia, Teddy Lencheski, James Manning, Edward Orzel, Robert Koepke, Nicholas Muzillio, Victor Muglia and Paul Phillips. Middle row: Walter Marvin, Richard Capraro, Donald Ortman, John Micheli, Peter Monticcio, Thomas Whelan. Back row: Ted Lencheski, coach; Dom Biondi, manager; and John Winnegar, coach.

Oh, and there were some ballplayers too, so I would be remiss if I didn’t note that Paul Phillips hit the first home run in league history (in the first game, no less) and Ron Kuboski pitched the first no-hitter. The season was split into two halves. The Giants took the first League Championship by winning both the first and second halves. Because they won both halves, an anticipated post-season playoff was not held, but was replaced with a Giants vs. All Star Team game, which the All Stars won.

Next: The Two Inning Rule