Bear's Release - 1834 Bytes
April 8, 1999
NEWARK, NJ -- The Newark Bears made their first player signing of 1999 a memorable one by linking seven-year Major League veteran Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens to a one-year contract. Meulens, a 31-year old outfielder, spent 1989-1993 on the "Columbus Shuffle" splitting time between the new York Yankees and the Columbus Clippers (AAA). The colorful "Bam Bam" is noted for his potent bat. Meulens hit 16 home runs last year in 291 at bats with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tuscon Sidewinders (AAA), and Calgary Cannons (AAA).

Meulens, a right-handed batter, should really benefit from playing in the bears' new $30 million dollar downtown ballpark Riverfront Stadium. In a nod to the character of old-time stadiums, the left field foul pole at Riverfront will be only 305 feet from home plate. Bears Owner Rick Cerone played with Meulens on the 1990 New York Yankees; and believes this is a good opportunity for "Bam Bam". He'll love hitting here," Cerone said, "the wind blows out to center field every day and the left field corner is pretty close. 'Bam Bam' is a good kid. He should do well here."

Meulens, a native of Curacao, is excited for this opportunity. "This brings me back to my old stomping grounds, and I'm glad to be a part of the Bears and their history." The Newark Bears are one of the most storied teams in minor league history. The 1937 Bears have been hailed by many as the greatest minor league team of all time. Between 1926-1949 Newark served as the Yankees Triple A team, dominating the International League.

The second-year Atlantic League is unaffiliated, so this is a way for Meulens to showcase his talents to all 30 Major League teams. The talent level in the league was high last year as evidenced by the 35 Atlantic League alumns that signed or re-signed with Major league organizations over the winter. "It's amazing the job the teams in this league have done to acquire AA, AAA, and Major League veterans," Bears General Manager Kevin Reynolds said, "We are excited to have Hensley. He's a great building block for our team."

The Newark Bears open their 120 game season May 6 in Atlantic City. The team will play 24 "home" games at Skylands Park in Augusta NJ beginning May 10. The brand new Riverfront Stadium will open July 16 when the Bears will take on the Lehigh Valley Black Diamonds. Newark will play 30 home games this year in their downtown Newark stadium, nicknamed "The Den". The team is managed by former New York Met Tom O'Malley and the Bears pitching coach is former Cy Young Award winner Mike Cuellar. Spring training commences for the team April 23 in Baseball City, Florida. For Bears ticket, merchandise, or sponsorship information call 973-483-6900 or log onto

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