Bears Stadium - its beginning and evolution
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.
Before Bears Stadium was constructed a helipad was in consideration for the site.
Thanks for your comment. In those days it was called a dump, today we refer to it as a "landfill" and I'd wager there were a number of things considered for that prime real estate so close to Federal and Colfax.
Good stuff Roger!
Love the Denver sport(s) history blogs you posted.
Keep them coming?!
Thanks for your comment - their a world of material available.
Thanks for your comment - there's a world of material available.
Your facts are WRONG! Bears Stadium was t bought from the Howsam family. He didn't own them after 1960 and he had NOTHING to do with the expansion. That was Gerald Phipps and his brother. Who actually owned the Bears and the Broncos. Maybe you should check your facts.
Hey Roger, Can you tell me the origins of the image: Bears-Mile High Stadium upper left [your name here] Stadium lower right - RM News. We just purchased a copy with a signature and are trying to understand the history. Fascinating information, Roger! Thank you.
Bears Stadium was built in 1948 to replace Merchants Park, where the Denver Bears had played for several decades. Beginning in 1960 it was enlarged and became Mile High Stadium when the City of Denver purchased it.
one of early football games played at bears stadium was sponserd by the junior parocial athletic league was on oct 28th 1949 as reported in the rocky mountain news.it was the second annual parochial football circus. more than 700 boys participated in games starting at 7:30 on 3 gridirons i have a photo with 3 players from the newspaper dated wednesday oct,26 1949 enjoy !!
I don't recall the parochial football games, but I do remember when the public schools baseball all-stars played the parochial schools once a year at Bears Stadium.
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