No one could have mistaken the working class Irvington Club for the Eureka, but the upstart team from the outskirts of Newark certainly didn't lack for talent. As is well known in 19th century base ball circles, in June of 1866, the self-described "country club," upset the Atlantics and came very close to knocking the Brooklyn club out of the championship race at the very end of that chaotic season. So talented was the Irvington team, two members, Andy Leonard and Charles Sweasy went on to successful professional careers including playing for the legendary 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. The Irvington Club's problem was they couldn't afford to keep their top players and weren't able to sustain their early success. Eventually the team's best remaining players moved to the Elizabeth Resolutes and were part of the Union County club's ill-advised attempt to compete in the National Association in 1873. Since the Resolutes were a cooperative club, the players' salaries were dependent on gate receipts, if any, which meant the club couldn't compete with other Association teams for the best players. Ultimately, all three clubs were unsuccessful largely because they lacked what today are euphemistically called financial resources, but in plain English means money or the lack thereof.
Were the three failures to put a club at the top, inevitable or could a different approach have produced a different result? Could a New Jersey team have made it to the heights of the base ball world and stayed there? In 1867, there was a chance to create a very talented club with plenty of money behind it, and then, who knows? Unfortunately, however, when the opportunity first presented itself, the Eureka and Irvington Clubs were too strong, or thought themselves too strong, to believe they needed each other. Neither club could be blamed for being optimistic going into the 1867 season. Irvington had shocked the base ball world in 1866 and with a year of experience play at the highest level under their collective belts, they had every reason to believe their success would continue. And the Eureka's 1866 performance also gave them plenty of reason to be optimistic about their future.
Before the season was very far along, however, the Newark Daily Journal caused "no little excitement" by reporting talk that Andy Leonard and Lipman Pike (a great 19th century player who played briefly with Irvington) were about to defect to the Eureka Club. The rumors had been denied, but the paper went on to a far more important bit of speculation with possible historic implications. According to the Journal, discussions were underway to combine the two clubs or, rather absorb the Irvington players on to the Eureka team. Perhaps a tad optimistically, the paper said the new club "would render it almost certain for New Jersey to carry off the championship of the United States." Rose colored glasses indeed, but the combined roster would have included three future major leaguers (Sweasy, Leonard and Everett Mills) plus some other fine players. In addition, the Eureka had far better and more accessible grounds and were highly regarded by the media and the base ball world. Obviously, nothing came of it and it's impossible to know how serious the discussions were. The sharp disparity in the social backgrounds of the two clubs alone might have made the possibility unworkable.
Even if, however, the two clubs formed one "dream" team, there was still the risk those players would be lured away for higher salaries, but ironically that same season, a possible solution to that problem arose. Earlier in 1867, the New Jersey State Legislature granted the Eureka permission to incorporate as a stock company, that is, they were authorized to sell stock to investors. Interestingly, the authorization was for $50,000 worth of stock (about $1.5 million today), an incredibly high amount even by contemporary standards considering that in 1883, the team that would become the Brooklyn Dodgers had initial capitalization of only $2,000. Little else was reported publicly about the stock sales until August, when the Eureka hosted the Charter Oak Club of Connecticut for a match, followed by a tour of the city and a gala dinner. A day or so later, the Newark Evening Courier, in what was basically an editorial, said the Eureka would like to host other clubs in a similar manner, but didn't have enough money because they lacked an enclosed ground where they could charge admission. The paper then emphasized how much free advertising the club provided for Newark businesses which alone should have been sufficient motivation for local business men to buy some of the stock.