For baseball fans this is a great time of year with the World Series in full gear (game 4 is later tonight). After what always seems like a very long season it’s down to just two teams, the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals.
For the Royals this year is a return to the World Series who unfortunately lost last year to the San Francisco Giants. The only World Series Championship the Royals have, was in 1985 when they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that my parents are huge Mets fans and have been waiting for this moment for quite a while. The last time they were in the World Series was in 2000 when they played a Subway Series again their cross town rivals the New York Yankees but the Yankees won the series. Then in 2006 they were one win away from going back to the World Series but came up short. Their last World Series win was back in 1986 when they beat the Boston Red Sox. Needless to say my parents are anxiously awaiting to see if they can finally bring home the championship once again.
With baseball on my mind I thought back to a couple of years ago when my family decided to check out a handful of local Minor League baseball teams. This ended up being a great experience, we saw some excellent baseball, tickets are dirt cheap, and if memory serves me every stadium had a penny machine. So I dug through my collection and decided to post about these stadiums and the coins that were and in some instances are still available.
Our first team to visit are the Camden Riversharks who play in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. They are not associates with any MLB team and would be considered a Single-A level team. Their home is Campbell’s Field which is located along the Delaware river by the Camden waterfront. Behind the outfield fence the stadium gives a beautiful view of the Ben Franklin Bridge and on nice days the Philadelphia Skyline.
The last time I visited the stadium they had two penny machines available right on the main concourse. Some of the stadiums keep their machines in the gift shops which can be very hectic during games. But the benefit of having them in the gift shops is that they are usually available on days when games are not being played.
The first machine had three designs. I always like these sets of coins as they are unique for each team and rarely do I see generic baseball designs at multiple machines. The first set of designs were: the RiverSharks “C” logo, My Lucky Penny Camden NJ, and the RiverSharks Main Logo.
A short walk along the concourse and I found the second machine which couldn’t have been more than 100 feet away from the first with an additional three designs.
The images available on these coins were: Campbell’s Field, I Love Baseball, and RiverSharks with the Ben Franklin Bridge in the background.
This really was a nice stadium to visit and most times I schedule to see a game after spending the day at the nearby Adventure Aquarium or USS New Jersey Battleship which are located right nearby. Unfortunately as I was researching this post I read that the RiverSharks would be relocating to New Britain, CT for the 2016 season.
Next we traveled over to see the Lakewood BlueClaws who play in the South Atlantic League and are associated with the Philadelphia Phillies. They are also considered a Single-A level team and have had some famous MLB players come through their doors: Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, and Shane Victorino to name just a few. Their home field is called FirstEnergy Park which was built in 2001.
This is another really nice stadium to take in a game. I have seen quite a few games here as the stadium isn’t too far away from our home. They have great in-between inning events to keep the crowd entertained. One of our favorites is the Pork Roll, Egg and Cheese race that takes place at the end of the 4th inning each game. For those of you that don’t know what Pork Roll is, well it’s a Jersey thing and is kind of like Canadian Bacon but not. If you really want to know more you can click here to get some more information. Anyways, the premise of the race is simple there are people dressed up in costumes that look like a Pork Roll slice, a fried Egg, and a wedge of Cheese. They start their race just behind first base and have to run around the field with the winner crossing the finish line near home plate.
As with all other Stadiums their gift shop is stocked full of souvenirs, jerseys, hats, t-shirts and anything you can image that would fit the team logo. At this stadium their Pressed Penny machine is also located there. This can cause some difficulty trying to use the machine as these gift shops tend to be very busy but the die-hard penny collector can always make do.
This penny pincher machine has rolled the designs short in the past, but I was able to get a nice set the last time I was there.
Each design had some nice detail and were inspired by the team. The designs included: A Blueclaw Crab holding a baseball bat, another BlueClaw Crab throwing a baseball, Buster the team mascot, and a special 10th Season design. As you can see from the picture the teams 10th season actually took place in 2010 but they still had this design available until the machine was removed late in 2014. I visited this park earlier this year (2015) and the machine had not been returned but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it’s just taking a little longer to create some new great designs.
Located in Somerset which is near Bridgewater Township are the Somerset Patriots which is a member of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. They are also a team not affiliated with a major league team and is a Single-A level team. The team plays at the TD Bank ballpark which first opened 1999. The Patriots are the winningest franchise in the Atlantic League with 6 championships (2001, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2015).
I have gone to about 3 or 4 games and the Patriots really are a consistently great team. Each game I have gone to they dominated their opponents. This is another really nice stadium with some great concessions and they also have made a pledge to offer health food to those looking for an alternative to the usually ballpark fare of hot dogs. The Patriots Team store is located right near the main gate. The penny machine located here has moved a few times.
Sometimes it’s inside the gift shop and other times it’s outside, so if you don’t immediately see it just keep looking. The last time I made it to a game was in 2013 and it was located outside as pictures above.
This penny pincher machine has always pressed nice full designs every time I had used it, but unfortunately the designs have not changed since my very first visit. The four designs are: Somerset Patriots Logo, Slider one of their mascots, Sparkee their other mascot, and their stadium the TD Bank ballpark. I sent an email to the stadium asking about this machine and was informed that it is still available but with their season over the machine won’t be available until next season.
Our last stop on this trip around New Jersey is right in my backyard. Well not exactly but the Trenton Thunder are only about 10 minutes away so this is a team we go and see a few times a year. The Thunder are a Double-A level team, are a member of the Atlantic League, and happen to be associated with the New York Yankees. Their stadium used to be called Waterfront Park as it was located right along the Delaware river, but was renamed in 2012 as Arm & Hammer Park.
The Trenton Thunder have had quite few Yankee alumni come through as they rehab from injuries and always attract a huge crowd when they come to town. These alum include Roger Clemens, Robinson Cano, and Derek Jeter but there are many that have graced this field.
Whenever you manage to pull yourself away from the action on the field as with the other stadiums you can visit the team gift shop. The first few times I visited the field their penny machine was located here, but the last time I was able to find their machine it was located near the press box near seating section H.
As you can see from the above picture the machine was located at the top of the steps for some of the more popular seating sections located right behind home plate and was also beside some vendor tables. This made the location a little busy and the ushers don’t let you go to your seat during play so if you try to use the machine during an inning the crowd around the machine can make accessing it almost impossible.
As you can see from all the designs listed in this post they were for the most part unique for each team which makes them fun to collect. These pennies for the Trenton team included their multiple mascots: Boomer, Strike, Trenton Thunder logo, and Chase & Derby their bat dogs. Let me explain that one a little bit Instead of having bat boys that run out to collect the home teams bats after each at bat, they have dogs that run out and get the bats instead. It’s kind of cute and helps them bring awareness to adopting animals from local shelters.
Chase as seen above was the original bat dog and made his first appearance in the 2002 season. One of his puppies Home Run Derby (Derby for short) was also trained and help with the duties during games. Chase retired due to health reasons on July 5th, 2013 with a part and video tribute hosted by the Trenton Thunder team. He died only a few days later on July 8th, 2013 from lymphoma that he had been diagnosed from earlier in the year, Chase was 13 years old. The tradition has continued on as Chase’s granddog (Derby’s puppy) named Rookie made his first appearance in the Thunder’s 2015 season. Below is a picture of Derby and his pup Rookie.
Well that was a fun little way to end this post. I always find it fun to just peruse my collection and see where I have been and what I have collected. As our lives get busier and stress levels maxing out some days it’s nice to take some time and just partake in something you really enjoy and have a passion for. This post did just that for me as I love my pressed pennies, and now it’s just about time to get ready for someone to be crowned World Series Champions.