Downtown Denver Baseball History Tour
This short drive through downtown Denver includes two museums and several current and historic ballparks that have been home to Denver's professional teams.
Completed in 1922, Merchants Park is an important chapter in Denver's baseball history. The park was home to the city's first professional team, the Denver Bears. Merchants Park was an improved facility for the team and ample enough to attract barnstorming teams and players like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. The park also was home to the prestigious Denver Post Tournament, held each year between non-major league teams.
Starting in 1900, this was the location of Denver's Broadway Baseball Park. At the time, this was the premier baseball park for Denver and the home of the Denver Bears, the Western League Champions in the park's inaugural season. This park helped grow baseball's popularity in Denver which helped the city become the host for one of the most important semi-professional baseball tournaments in the early 20th century. From 1901 to 1926 Broadway Park hosted amateur and professional baseball games, as well as local football events.
This was the location of the first recorded baseball game in Denver history, which occurred in April of 1862. Locals named this field the "Walter Scott Cheesman's million-dollar cow pasture." This nickname was in response to reports of a single cow who would roam the field. During the 1870s, the city was home to a variety of makeshift amateur teams, such as the Young Bachelors' Baseball Club. The city would not be home to a formal stadium until 1885 when one was constructed at Thirty-Second and Larimer Street.
Coors Field is home to Major League Baseball's own Colorado Rockies. The field is known to be home run friendly and for it being the field where Barry Bonds hit his final career home run (762nd). Coors was built in 1995 and named after the Coors Brewery located in Golden, Colorado. The field has been played on for 20 seasons this year and will be home to many more home runs with its thin air.
The National Ballpark Museum is commonly recognized as B's Ballpark Museum. It is an amazing tribute to baseball stadiums around the nation! The museum relies less on the game and more on where the game takes place, inside of the park! Once you walk in, it is like one unique stadium that has an accumulation of keepsakes from different ballparks! You can expect to see bricks from old ballparks, books, photos, jerseys, and even stadium seats! Located in Downtown Denver, it is perfect for all ages who love the game or anyone who is interested in learning about baseball! Tickets range from being free to being $10. You are welcome to tour the museum every Tuesday through Saturday; although, sometimes business hours vary due to B's accounting career.
The most famous of the old Denver ballparks, Bears Stadium. It opened in August 1948. Bob Howsam, built the park for the Bears franchise. In 1959 Howsam was pivotal in joining the American Football League. The Denver Broncos were added to the roster of teams to call this stadium home. When the city acquired the park in 1968, it was renamed Mile High Stadium. This field remained the home of the Bears (renamed the Zephyrs in 1985) until 1992. Starting in 1993 the Colorado Rockies called Mile High home field.The Rockies played in the park their first two seasons, leaving for Coors Field in 1995. The Colorado Rapids (soccer) came to play in 1996. By 2002 the stadium was demolished. The Broncos and the Rapids moved to Empower Field (aka Invesco Field at Mile High)
The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Museum opened in August of 2001. The museum exists to honor those individuals who merit recognition and distinction for their exploits, accomplishments, and leadership in sports and athletic endeavors in Colorado. It is located on the west side of Sports Authority Field at Mile High and exposes visitors to Colorado sports history. There is a fee for tours, but museum admission is free.