The Union County Freeholder Board joined with local baseball legend Jeff Torborg, his family, municipal officials from Mountainside and Westfield, the Union County Sheriff, and two youth baseball teams in dedicating the Jeff Torborg Youth Baseball field at the County’s Echo Lake Park in Mountainside.
Jeff Torborg, a native of Westfield and former resident of Mountainside for 30 years, was with his wife, Suzie and his sons, Dale and Greg and extended family to celebrate the occasion.
“Suzie and I and our entire family are so very appreciative of all the efforts of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and their staff in creating this beautiful new Jeff Torborg Youth Baseball Field, which will provide a great place for kids to play for generations to come,” said Torborg. “When I first was told about this amazing tribute, I was literally speechless…this is a tremendous thrill for me and for my family. It is an honor to be recognized by my home county, which has been the site of events important to generations of my family.”
Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski who emceed the event said: “Jeff Torborg is one of the most accomplished ball players to ever come out of Union County. Jeff went on to achieve an impressive Major League baseball career, both as a player and manager, and is certainly worthy of today’s dedication.”
Freeholder Vice Chair Alexander Mirabella who introduced Torborg and presented him with a resolution honoring him with his colleagues, said: “We welcome you home today. We are pleased to name this field in your honor, and our hope is to inspire future generations of our younger county residents to follow in your path.”
The event also included tributes from Jim Iozzi, the President of the Union County Baseball Hall of Fame (whose organization previously inducted Torborg into their Hall of Fame), Jeff’s son Greg who read a letter of congratulations from Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and appearances by former Major League Baseball players Willie Randolph (Yankees and Mets), Al Leiter (Mets and Yankees), and Mike Lowell (Marlins, Red Sox), and Jay Horowitz, long-time Mets’ public relations guru.
Following the ribbon cutting, Torborg threw out the first pitch to his grandson, also named Jeff Torborg, and an exhibition game ensued between Clark Little League and Springfield Junior Baseball League teams. The youth players all wore uniforms from the various teams Torborg was associated with, all in Torborg’s #10 uniform number.
The Freeholder Board and the Torborg family extended their thanks to the Chicago White Sox for donating the uniforms; the New York Mets, and Major League Baseball for their donations and participation; Famous Dave’s and Wakefern for making food donations.
The Torborg family also donated memorial bench plaques to the field, and the facility also includes a plaque memorializing Torborg’s accomplishments.
The permitted youth baseball field, which sits off Mill Lane in Echo Lake Park in Mountainside, is open for all teams to use by appointment calling the Union County Department at 908-527-4900.
Jeff Torborg’s Biography
Torborg began his career as an All-State catcher for Westfield High School, and an All-American catcher at Rutgers University, where they retired his number, #10, the first-ever uniform retired for a Rutgers University baseball player.
He was drafted originally by the Los Angeles Dodgers, played for them, and later for the California Angels during his ten-year career. He caught Sandy Koufax’s perfect game and no-hitters by Bill Singer and Nolan Ryan, and was part of Don Drysdale’s record-setting streak of 58-2/3 innings of scoreless baseball.
Torborg later managed five Major League Baseball teams—the Cleveland Indians, White Sox, Mets, Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins. He also served as a coach for the Yankees for ten years as well.
After his managing career concluded, Torborg then went on to spend 12 years as an award-winning television and radio baseball broadcaster for CBS Radio and Fox (television) Sports.
Union County Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski, Freeholder Vice Chair Alexander Mirabella, Freeholder Sergio Granados, Sheriff Peter Corvelli, Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle, Mountainside Mayor Paul Mirabelli, baseball legends Al Leiter, Willie Randolph and Mike Lowell joined with Jeff Torborg, his wife Suzi, sons Dale and Greg and his extended family in cutting the ribbon on the new Jeff Torborg Youth Baseball Field in Mountainside, NJ
Union County Freeholders presented Jeff Torborg (center) with a resolution honoring him and dedicating the Jeff Torborg Youth Baseball field in his honor. L. to R. Freeholder Sergio Granados, Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowalski, Suzie Torborg, Jeff Torborg, and Freeholder Vice Chair Alexander Mirabella.