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History of the Newark Eagles of the TCBA

The franchise which is now known as the Newark Eagles was not a part of the original TCBA in 1975, but was added as an expansion team in 1978, when the TCBA leagues went from 18 to 19 teams. Manager (and then TCBA president) Jim Lafargue had relocated from Massachusetts to New Jersey, and reassigned himself from the TCBA/NL to TCBA/AL to maximize face-to-face possibilities and meet the AL managers. At that time, Mark Glim, manager of the powerful Mt. Greenwood Foresters resigned from TCBA/AL, leaving a team too strong to reassign to a new member. The solution was to pool the players from Mt. Greenwood with those from the expansion draft to form two new teams, the Meadowlands Marauders managed by Jim Lafargue, and the Santa Barbara Iron Dukes of new manager Jake Whidbee. The pool of players was divided by Jake and Jim in a telephone draft. Jake (apparently the TCBA's first and only African-American manager) lasted only one year in TCBA, but the Meadowlands franchise (renamed Meadowlands Spartans in 1980 and Newark Eagles in 1989) continues to date. That franchise won one championship in 1986 and finished first in the powerful Metro Division in 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1997 as well.

Although presumably schooled in the intricacies of TCBA managing as the founder of the organization and the author of its constitution, Jim Lafargue has nonetheless managed only 8 winning seasons out of 20 since joining TCBA/AL in 1978. Curiously, the franchise still has a winning AL lifetime record despite the 12 losing seasons. The winning record is explained by the fact that the franchise won 100 games or more in seven of the eight winning seasons, and won 70 or more in 10 of the 12 losing years. Playing all 20 years in gruelling Metro Division competition has meant, though, that only four of the seven 100-victory seasons were good enough to win the division (four of nine including the TCBA/NL years); anything less than a .650 winning percentage (105 wins) fell short! Never to be forgotten was the infamous 1991 Metro race, in which the Eagles won 102 games and finished far out of the playoffs, in fourth place, nine games out of third. The lone championship came in 1986, after a team-best 117-45 season. After winning the TCBA/AL playoffs that year, the Spartans went on to defeat the TCBA/NL champs in a dramatic 7-game all-night-long come-from-behind World Series.

Key players in the history of the Eagles include, first and foremost, Ozzie Smith. Ozzie was drafted in 1979 and played continuously for the Eagles through 1994, a total of 16 seasons. Ozzie is shown at the farewell ceremony retiring his number "1." Most of the time, Ozzie played next to Willie Randolph, forming an intact Eagle DP combination for 11 seasons. Included in the championship infield of the mid-1980's was Wade Boggs (drafted as a rookie), who holds the team single-season batting record, and Don Mattingly, acquired from Norfolk for seven players in 1986. This all-star infield anchored the Eagle defense for five years.

The Eagle star of the 1990's has been Barry Bonds. Acquired for David West and a lot of cash, Bonds has repaid the investment many times over. He has been the team MVP for last seven years, and is expected to repeat in 1997. In 1996, Bonds hit 67 home runs, which would have set a TCBA record if Jeff Bagwell hadn't hit 72 that year. Late in his career, Bonds' father Bobby contributed speed and power to the Eagles as well, as did another Eagle outfielder of long standing, Jose Cruz, whose son will enter the TCBA in 1998.

Year Team Name W-L Record Divisional Finish
1974 Norwood Naturals (TCBA-Y) 99-63 1st/4
1975 Norwood Naturals (TCBA-NL) 71-55 2nd/7
1976 Norwood Naturals (TCBA-NL)  102-52 2nd/6
1977 Norwood Naturals (TCBA-NL)  108-46 2nd/6
1978 Meadowlands Marauders 77-85 4th/7
1979 Meadowlands Marauders 70-92 5th/6
1980 Meadowlands Spartans 72-90 5th/6
1981 Meadowlands Spartans  103-59 2nd/5
1982 Meadowlands Spartans  78-83 2nd/5
1983 Meadowlands Spartans  74-87 4th/5
1984 Meadowlands Spartans  92-49 1st/5
1985 Meadowlands Spartans  73-89 4th/5
1986 Meadowlands Spartans  117-45 1st/5--TCBA championship
1987 Meadowlands Spartans  102-60 2nd/5
1988 Meadowlands Spartans  119-43 1st/5
1989 Newark Eagles 57-105 5th/5
1990 Newark Eagles  72-90 4th/5
1991 Newark Eagles  102-60 4th/5
1992 Newark Eagles  105-56 1st/5
1993 Newark Eagles  69-93 5th/5
1994 Newark Eagles  74-88 4th/5
1995 Newark Eagles  74-87 3rd/5
1996 Newark Eagles 71-90 4th/5
1997 Newark Eagles  112-49 1st/5
20 yr. TCBA/AL career record 1713-1500 .533
24 yr. Overall TCBA record 2093-1716 .549
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