Some baseball enthusiasts claim that baseball began in the Bible – In the Big Inning…
In Denver there were many sites of baseball games between the founding of the town in 1858 and when Bears Stadium was announced on October 16, 1947, to replace Merchants Park.
Merchants Park had been the host to barnstorming tours and numerous tournaments as well as Bears games, but when the Howsam family purchased the Denver Bears of the Western League in 1947 they wanted a better ballpark with more seating.
The site selected was a landfill near 20th and Clay just north of Colfax and East of Federal. Coincidentally, the announcement of the plan for Bears Stadium was made on October 16, 1947, exactly 46 years before the ground was broken for Coors Field at 20th and Blake.
The Bears were minor league affiliates of 12 different teams and saw a continual parade of soon-to-become-stars like Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson, Don Larsen, Marv Throneberry, Gates Brown, Tim Raines, Jake Wood, Andre Dawson, Mikey Lolich, and on and on…
To provide seating on the east side of the field portable bleachers were erected for the football season. During the first few years this presented some scheduling problems that meant the Denver Broncos played some home games at Denver University’s Hilltop Stadium until the baseball season ended. When the City of Denver purchased Bears Stadium from the Howsams in 1968 and added permanent stands on the north and west sides, the name was changed to Mile High Stadium.
Bears/Mile High Stadium served the football and baseball needs of Denver until major league baseball arrived. The first two seasons of Colorado Rockies baseball were played at Mile High Stadium, but a player strike in mid-season 1994 meant the last baseball game at Bears/Mile High Stadium never happened.