VINCENT ARIEL TYDEMAN was born in New Jersey on August 24, 1883 to Edmund and Sarah Tydeman, who had come to America from England in 1878 with their nine children. Another child, Florence, was born just before the June 1880 census. Edmund Tydeman, the oldest son of a Baptist minister, was an optician who had brought his family to Camden from Pennsylvania after daughter Florence was born in April of 1880. The 1887-1888 Camden City Directory shows the family living at 1046 Cooper Street. The following year’s directory has them at 523 Spruce Street. The family lived at 512 Bailey Street when the census was taken in 1900. At home was older brother Herbert, sister Florence, and Vincent Tydeman, the youngest child.
Vincent Tydeman was a superb athlete, excelling at acrobatics, track and field, and baseball. He parlayed these skills into a successful career in vaudeville and professional baseball in the 1900s and 1910s. He was of a generation of North Camden children who went on to become notable stage performers. His contemporaries included dancer Ann Pennington and the Dooley Family.
Vincent Tydeman learned his acrobatic routine from an ex-vaudeville clown named Charlie Sheldon who had moved to Camden from Wilmington in 1903. My great-grandfather practiced his routine of back flips and running leaps under Sheldon‘s direction out at Old Coxey Farm near the State Street Bridge. It was during this time that he mastered his legendary trick of making a running dive over seven chairs into a handstand on a table and then a return leap over five more chairs. It was this trick that made him the most sensational and highest paid acrobat on the Keith Vaudeville Circuit. He traveled for weeks at a time doing this act from coast to coast. Vince won the Camden All-around Championship at the Camden YMCA in 1903, 1904, and 1905. He was also the Camden County Pole Vaulting Champion in 1905. In 1905 the Tydeman and Dooley act played at the Broadway Theatre on Broadway and Sycamore Streets to sold-out shows both matinees and evening performances. My great-grandfather was the straight man and originator of the act. His partner Johnny Dooley lived in Camden between North 2nd and North 3rd Street on Pearl Street. The act lasted for three years when they then parted professionally.Maryann Foster, great-granddaughter of Vincent Tydeman
Vincent Tydeman married around 1906. He also was playing professional baseball that year, first with Savannah in the South Atlantic League, then with Valdosta GA in the Georgia State League. When the team folded in July of that year, he was assigned to the Orangeburg SC franchise. He signed a contract to play for the Paterson NJ franchise of the Union Baseball League in April of 1908.
By 1904 Edmund Tydeman had passed away. The family made its home at 228 Burns Street in the Poet’s Row section of North Camden in that year. Vincent Tydeman later made his home at 106 Elm Street in North Camden with his wife Jennie, daughter Alice, son Robert and his 70 year old mother.
During the fall and winter months of the 1910s, Vincent Tydeman played on the B.F. Keith vaudeville circuit, usually as part of the comedic acrobat team of Tydeman and Dooley. Another young North Camden neighbor, Dan McConnell, was working for the Keith circuit as a publicist and breaking into journalism during these years.
The 1910 baseball season saw Vincent Tydeman playing for teams in Danville and Norfolk in the Virginia League. The following year he was with Johnstown PA and Erie PA Sailors in the Tri-State League. He returned to Erie the following year.
In 1911 the Erie Sailors moved to the Ohio-Pennsylvania League. Vincent Tydeman was managed by Billy Gilbert, former major leaguer and starter at second base on the 1905 New York Giants world series’ winning team. Erie joined the Central League the following year. After holding out for a better contract at the beginning of the 1912 season, Vincent Tydeman was dealt the Grand Rapids MI team in the Central League. Here he enjoyed great success. In his first year in the Central League he batted .287 and stole 30 bases in only 97 games.
1913 was a banner year for Vincent Tydeman. He hit .299 with 86 runs scored. His 51 stolen bases led the circuit, and he was second in the league in home runs, with 13, a good number in the dead ball era of baseball. He also led the league in total bases with 254. The Grand Rapids won the Central League pennant by 15 games. The team was owned by its star pitcher, Bill Essick, who would also manage it to Central League pennants in 1916 and 1917. Essick would remain in baseball as a minor league manager and scout until 1951, and is remembered as the scout who signed Joe DiMaggio. He also signed Bob Meusel, Tony Lazzeri, Lefty Gomez, Frank Crosetti, Jimmie Reese, Lyn Lary, Myril Hoag, Joe Gordon, Johnny Lindell and Ralph Houk. Dimaggio, Lazzeri, and Gomez, are in baseball’s Hall of Fame, and a good argument can be made for Bob Meusel and Joe Gordon. A Grand Rapids teammate in 1913 was Jeff Pfeffer, who went on to win 158 games in the major leagues with Brooklyn, the St. Louis Cardinals, and Pittsburgh.
My Great grandfather played the vaudeville circuits during the winter months and played baseball during the summer months. A professional baseball scout did come out once to see my great-grandfather play but he made Vince so nervous that he didn’t play his best game and never made it into the big leagues.Maryann Foster, great granddaughter of Vincent Tydeman
Vincent Tydeman returned to Grand Rapids in 1914, then spent 1915 and 1916 with the Topeka, Kansas team in the Western League. He returned to the Central League for the 1917 season with the South Bend, Indiana Benders, but hit only .201. He finished the season with the Scranton Miners of the New York State League..
Vincent Tydeman got off to a slow start at the plate in 1917. By mid-June he was only hitting .205, and it would appear that he was beginning to slow down. After the 1917 season the Central League disbanded, and Vincent Tydeman returned to Camden and got a job as a driller at the New York Shipbuilding Company Corporation on Broadway in South Camden.
It was in 1918 that he gave up vaudeville, and baseball shortly afterwards to settle down to his own printing business. He held various jobs in his lifetime including being a truck driver and a chauffeur. He was also musically inclined. He played the accordion. He was married to Jennie for 69 years. They had seven children. They were Alice, Robert, Clifford, Doris, Harold, Douglas, and Joan.Maryann Foster, great granddaughter of Vincent Tydeman
When he returned to Camden for good, the Tydeman family resided at 909 York Street in North Camden. By January of 1919 Vincent Tydeman was working as a printer. Three more children had arrived by this time, Clifford, Doris, and Harold Vincent Tydeman. He did keep an interest in baseball. He played for the Newport News Shipbuilders of the Class B Virginia League in 1919 and for the Ludington Mariners of the Class C Central League in 1920, his final year of professional baseball. He stayed in the game playing semi-pro ball in and around Camden. Still effective at 38, Vincent Tydeman played center field and batted clean-up for the 1921 Camden team that won the Camden County championship.
The Tydeman family purchased a home at 2116 Howell Street during the 1920s. Another child, Douglas, was born, and Joan would follow. When the Census was taken in April of 1930, Vincent Tydeman was working for the City of Camden as a truck driver. He was still residing at that address when the 1947 Camden City Directory was compiled.
Three of Vincent Tydeman‘s sons served in the military during World War II. Staff Sergeant Harold V. Tydeman was award the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his actions in the Pacific, fighting the Japanese. Douglas Tydeman dropped out high school and lied about his age to enlist in the Army. Douglas Tydeman saw action on D-Day and was at the Battle of the Bulge. He was wounded three times, and was awarded the Purple Heart with two oak leaf clusters. Douglas Tydeman served on the Camden police force for 28 years, retiring in 1981.