On a crisp November morning, Oradell Little League volunteers gathered to turn the dream of renovating Muehleck Field into a reality.
According to Rob Monaco, Commissioner of Oradell Little League's American League, Muehleck Field had not been leveled and re-sodded in decades. The Oradell Little League Board had been discussing the project for years.
"The bounces in the Muehleck infield were unpredictable," Monaco said. "Big games were lost or won on a single hop-not because of a misplay by a player, but because that infield was worn out, sloppy, bumpy and uneven."
In April of 2015, Oradell Little League held a "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" fundraiser at the Veteran's Building. Proceeds were dedicated to improving Oradell's Little League fields. The Borough has seven baseball fields and an additional turf field. Approximately 500 boys and girls play tee-ball, softball, and baseball through Oradell Little League.
C.W. Muehleck Field, located on Prospect Avenue south of Oradell Avenue, is considered Oradell's signature field. It is the home field for Oradell Little League's American League (age 11- and 12-year olds) rec teams, as well as the Oradell travel teams. Younger teams sometimes play there, as well. The field is named after Casper "Cas" Muehleck, a coach and teacher in Oradell for more than 40 years.
Coach Muehleck passed away in 1974, but his legacy lives on. One Oradell Little League volunteer recalled how Coach Muehleck used to put a fence around the infield during off-seasons to protect the field from unnecessary wear and tear. "He was very meticulous about keeping the field perfect," he said.
In fact, a reminder of Coach Muehleck's dedication to protecting the field was unearted - literally - during the recent renovation. Volunteers excavated a three-foot-long piece of fence hidden below the infield earth.
During 2016, Oradell Little League volunteers hope to live up to Coach Muehleck's high standards by working aggressively to improve and preserve more of Oradell's baseball fields.
Oradell Little League invites residents who wish to support its field restoration efforts to volunteer on future projects or donate to the cause. Checks can be sent to Oradell Little League, P.O. Box 54, Oradell, NJ 07649. Please indicate "field restoration" on the memo line of the check.
"With the restoration of Muehleck Field, we did something big for the town of Oradell. I'm looking forward to the next project," Monaco said. "Teamwork wins every time."