Bad News Bears - a minor league franchise goes on the auction block

They held an auction on Saturday in Newark, N.J., where a once-proud minor league franchise has gone out of business.

The Newark Bears opened up the gates of their stadium this morning and put everything from lockers to the team bus up for sale.

For any fan of the Newark Bears wanting to own a piece of the team, Riverfront Stadium was the place to be. From mascot heads to team jackets, just about everything was up for sale.

Even the team's bus was put on the auction block CBS News

Ken Reiger is putting a sign from the snack stand in his basement.

"Go Bears," he said.

Even the team bus went on the auction block. The minimum bid was $200,000. It didn't sell.

Steve Boland was the team announcer for seven years.

"I feel like today is like a funeral," he said. "There was such a rich tradition and a history of baseball here in Newark."

The Newark Bears were once a top farm team for the New York Yankees CBS News

From 1926 to 1949, the Bears were the top farm team for the New York Yankees. Yogi Berra was just one Yankee whose path to stardom in the Bronx ran right through Newark.

The original Bears moved to Kansas City in 1950 leaving Newark without a team for nearly half a century before a new Newark Bears returned in 1999 to a modern $34 million ball park.

Hopes were high but the team never caught on and after several ownership changes the Bears finally hung up their jerseys last fall. Today fans like David Ruckert could buy one to hang on their walls.

Jerseys were for sale CBS News
Boland didn't get much - just some t-shirts and a hat - but he says that's not why he went.

"I wanted to see the stadium one last time," he said. "I wanted to remember the things I did, the fun I had here. I'm really sad to see them go."

  • Jim Axelrod

    Jim Axelrod is the senior national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for "CBS This Morning," the "CBS Evening News," "CBS Sunday Morning," and other CBS News broadcasts.