The Union County Baseball Association was officially formed in 1941 following several years of informally organizing the Hot Stove League Dinner, which was intended to generate interest in the great national pastime of baseball. In the early years, the Union County Baseball Association conducted baseball schools, clinics, and an old-timers game in addition to the Hot Stove League Dinner.
The Association introduced Youth League Baseball in 1945. Boys and girls ages 8-15 from every town in Union County were given the opportunity to play summer baseball in Warinanco Park in Roselle, a tradition that continues to this day. In 1999, a fall Teen League was established. Registration fees are kept to a minimum with the help of sponsors from the business community and the Union County Chosen Board of Freeholders, through the Union County Department of Parks and Community Renewal. 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 inaugurated the Union County Baseball Hall of Fame. Each year since then, a ballot of ten candidates chosen by the Hall of Fame committee is mailed to more than 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 in the Hall of Fame and honored at the Hot Stove League Dinner.
The Hall of Fame committee selects candidates whose outstanding achievements in the game of baseball and/or contributions to the game in Union County have merited special recognition. Among those elected to the Union County Baseball Hall of Fame are Phil Rizzuto, Jeff Torborg, Willie Wilson, Joe Collins, Jake Wood, Elliot Maddox, and Don Newcombe.
Local teams and athletes are also honored at the Hot Stove League Dinner each year 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 Mel Allen, Monte Irvin, Bobby Thompson, Bob Feller, Tommy John, Lou Piniella, Reggie Jackson, Keith Hernandez, Al Leiter, and Sparky Lyle.
The Union County Baseball Association was established to keep the tradition of baseball alive and vibrant in Union County, New Jersey. Our mission will always be to honor the past, present, and future of the great game of baseball.