Hoboken is famous as the location for the first organized game of modern baseball. Last weekend, the city welcomed back its favorite pastime with the official opening of the Little League season.
Local residents and families gathered nearby at the Hoboken Elks Lodge on the morning of Saturday, April 14 to march in the local Little League parade before the first official game of the season.
Several local officials attended the opening ceremony, which took place on the Hoboken Little League Field by Stevens Park, including City Council members Jim Doyle, Ruben Ramos, and Jen Giattino, Mayor Ravi Bhalla, Board of Education Trustee John Madigan, and Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano.
During the ceremony, Hoboken residents RJ Fiore and Robert (R.J.) Brockmann III were presented with the Feskin Award and Brockman Award.
Before the first game of the season, Mayor Ravi Bhalla showed his spirit in a Hoboken jersey and threw the opening pitch, as is tradition.
The first game was won by Mario’s Pizza, beating the Fire Department 15-3.
Baseball began in 1845 when Alexander Cartwright formed the Knickerbocker Baseball Club, and created and standardized most of the game’s modern day rules. He chose Elysian Fields in Hoboken as the team’s practice site, roughly located at the intersection of Eleventh and Washington streets. The spot is now marked by first, second, third, and home plate placards at the sidewalk corners.
Hoboken has its place in Little League history as well. In 1972 Maria Pepe became the first female Little League baseball player when she took the mound and pitched three games for Hoboken Young Democrats. Her fight to be able to play back then, as a girl, went all the way to the Supreme Court after the international Little League headquarters in Williamsport ruled that Pepe should be removed from the team or else Hoboken Little League could face losing its Little League charter.
Today, a small batting cage at Hoboken’s Little League Field at Fifth Street is named for Pepe, and young burgeoning baseball players practice there.
Marilyn Baer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.