More than 6,500 fans, friends and supporters of the New Newark Bears braved the rain and wind when the Atlantic Division minor league baseball team took their home field for the launch of their 12th season on May 1, 2009.
Former U.S. Secretary of State, General Colin Powell shared the field with Newark Bears manager, former National League All-Star Tim Raines. General Powell tossed out the ceremonial first pitch and Grammy-award winning singer Patti LaBelle performed the National Anthem to a standing room only crowd of more than 6,500 fans. The Newark Bears are continuing the tradition of their team whose legendary alumni and Negro League Baseball players included Ray Dandridge, Leon Day, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, Don Newcombe and Willie Wells.
In honor of the legendary Jackie Robinson the entire Newark Bears team wore number 42 for the first game. In addition, to continue their commitment to the community, the Newark Bears donated $60,000 to the Jackie Robinson Foundation and $7,500 to America’s Promise Alliance, the national children’s advocacy organization that General Powell founded.