July and August August and September, 1916, four towns in New Jersey—Dover, Madison, Morristown, and Newton—participated in the Tri-County League, a short-season, independent professional league featuring both all-black and all-white teams. The town of Dover hired the Lincoln Giants, the great African-American team from New York City, to represent them; Madison hired the Long Branch Cubans, a team of white Cubans first organized in 1913 to showcase players from the island with major-league potential (in 1913 they played in the New York-New Jersey League, which I believe was another independent league).
Newton was represented by the white semipro Degnon Grays of Long Island City, and featured a (very) young Brooklyn native named Waite Hoyt—he would have turned 17 during the Tri-County season. Hoyt was signed to a Giants’ contract about this time, and another Grays/Newton player, one Max Hoelker, signed with the Cleveland Indians. A “Jacklitsch” is listed as Newton’s catcher in one line score; this could well be Fred Jacklitsch, who wasn’t in the majors in 1916.
According to the August 26 Chicago Defender, “The Long Branch Cubans, who are representing Madison, have not scored a run since they entered the league. The leading hitters of the league are Kane of Newton and [Wabishaw “Doc”] Wiley and [Cyclone Joe] Williams of Dover.” The article also notes that the most recent game at Newton was “postponed on account of the town being quarantined” (!).
The Long Branch Cubans performed so poorly that the town of Madison replaced them with semipro players. The Lincoln Giants easily won the pennant.
1916 Tri-County League Final Standings:
This would be a great league to have statistics for—it has the advantage (for the compiler) of being a very short season, but with lots of interesting players. These are not large cities, though, so it’s anybody’s guess where and how their newspapers from 1916 are available, if they are at all. Because of the Lincoln Giants’ and Long Branch Cubans’ participation, there are a couple of line scores in the black press, but no boxes.
Also: the Long Branch Cubans played much of the season out of Poughkeepsie, New York (also playing a few games in Kingston), before moving south to Harlem in late July and then New Jersey. Apparently, they entertained the Lincoln Stars in Poughkeepsie quite a bit. From the Freeman, July 8, 1916: “The Lincoln Stars are big favorites in Poughkeepsie on account of defeating the Cuban team so often in their home town.” If anybody has easy access to Poughkeepsie newspapers, this would be an interesting little research project.