Newark Indians

 

From UPS publication:

Shortstop John "Chick" Lawton, a Chatham package driver, and former semi-pro baseball player, recently retired after a 51 year career with UPS and Bamberger's.

Chick started with Bamberger's and became a UPSer when "Bam's" drivers came to UPS after the store discontinued its own delivery operation in favor of UPS retail.

In his youth, Chick played quite a bit of semi-pro ball. During the twenties, the North Jersey area had many semi-pro leagues and a number of famous major league players came out of them.

Although he started out as a pitcher, Chick played shortstop for the major portion of his baseball days. Captain of the Newark team in the Inter County League, he also played in the Lackawanna League (in which Lou Gehrig played) and the Nat Strong Circuit, named after the promoter who arranged the games, in which he played in eleven states.

Chick was scouted by the St. Louis Cardinals and the Baltimore Orioles at a time when fewer players than now warranted a scout traveling to see them due to difficulties of travel.

Perhaps his fondest recollection of his diamond days is his memory of having made an unassisted triple play. This occurred during a game between the Newark Indians and the Newark Nationals. Chick was playing shortstop, with three men on base. He caught a low line drive, touched second base, and ran over and touched first before that base runner could return, since the first baseman was playing close in to the plate to cover a squeeze play.

Another time, he was asked to play in a game in Orange, N.J., but declined when he found out that two of the opposing players were going to be paid for the game, while everyone else was not. It seems that the two men who were to be paid for the game were named Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, a pair of rising young talents then honing their skills.

Today Chick is a Met fan, and rates Willie Mays as one of the best ballplayers ever. Forecasting this year's season, he feels that a subway series is definitely a possibility, as he rates both the Mets and Yankees as strong contenders for the pennants in their leagues.

Although he's still keenly interested in the sport, he deplores the low attendance at today's games and feels that many of the innovations in the game, such as the designated hitter rule, detract from the game rather than add to it.

Chick's love for baseball meshed with his career with UPS, since he feels that his outdoors work delivering parcels has helped keep him in shape over the years.

Originally assigned to the old Newark Center on Elizabeth Ave., Chick spent most of his years with the company in Chatham. He plans to spend his retirement working around his home in Union, where he lives with h is wife Mary. Presently he is looking forward to his next trip to Florida, where he has gone every year for some time now. He is also kept quite busy with his two grandchildren, and feels that with a little work, his grandson now five, may develop into a ballplayer.