After several years of organizing the annual Hot Stove League Dinner, which was intended to generate interest in the great national pastime of baseball, the Union County Baseball Association was formed in 1941. In the early years of the Baseball Association, clinics, a baseball school, and an old timers game were conducted in addition to the Hot Stove dinner. In 1945, the Association introduced youth league baseball. Boys and girls ages 8-15 from every town in Union County , were given the opportunity to play summer baseball in Warinanco Park , a tradition which continues to this day.
In 1999 a fall teen league was established. In 2013, the summer youth league consisted of 12 teams with over 200 players, and the fall teen league boasted 15 teams with over 200 players. Registration fees are kept to a minimum with the help of sponsors from the business community and the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, through the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. The Hot Stove Dinner has evolved over the years to become the major source of funding for the youth baseball programs.
In 1952, the Baseball Association unveiled the Union County Baseball Hall of Fame. A ballot of ten candidates chosen by the Hall of Fame committee is mailed to over 100 electors representing a cross section of baseball background in Union County . Candidates are awarded points based on the number of votes they receive for first place, second place, third place, etc. The candidates with the highest number of points are inducted into the Hall of Fame and honored at the Hot Stove dinner. The Hall of Fame committee selects candidates whose outstanding contributions and/or achievements in the game of baseball in Union County have merited special recognition. Local teams and players are also honored at the Hot Stove League Dinner for their accomplishments in Union County sports. A guest speaker from the baseball world is featured each year at the dinner. Past speakers have included such luminaries as Tommy John, Lou Piniella, Reggie Jackson, Keith Hernandez, John Valentin, and Sparky Lyle. Phil Rizzuto, Jeff Torborg, and Willie Wilson along with their participation in the dinner, are also members of the Union County Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Union County Baseball Association was established to keep the tradition of baseball alive and vibrant in Union County. Our mission will always be to honor the past, present, and future of the great game of baseball.