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Denver Bears


Lumbergh

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"Around the time the Rockies came to town?"

Had to have been a little earlier than that - the Zephyrs were a Brewers affiliate in the mid 1980s.

I was thinking they left the year before the Rockies came. I moved to Colorado in '92 and went to a Zephyr's game their last year here that same year, I think. I was only six at the time so the memory's a tad bit foggy.

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They changed the name to Zephyrs (means mountain wind) to be more unique and regional during their pursuit of the MLB expansion franchise. When they were awarded the team that became the Rockies the AAA team formerly knwon as the Bears ended up in New Orleans. This displaced an existing AA team that was left homeless and at the last minute Nashville Sounds AAA affiliate owner Larry Schmittou (who had been part of the expansion process) agreed to house the team for a year til they found a permanent city. Thus was born the Nashville Xpress who ended up staying for two years and brought Michael Jordan and his baseball experiment to town a few times.

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I distinctly remember the Z's moving to UNO Maestri Field as our FIRST minor league team since the Pelicans in the 70's who played in the mausoleum-like Superdome (the team moved and became the Louisville Redbirds), but the Z's never displaced an existing AA team, there never was one here before they came. There WAS an ownership group headed by Saints owner Tom Benson who wanted to place an AA team here, but Z's owner Rob Couhig won some kind of lawsuit, and Benson kept the name "Pelicans" and ANY derivative of that name in the event he might secure a minor league franchise, hence why the New Orleans Zephyrs have maintained a name that has NO local connection to the city apart from a long since dead roller coaster at the old Pontchartrain Beach amusement park.

P.S....Jeff Cirillo was pretty damn good back then...didn't mind being a Brew Crew affiliate....

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I'm trying to gather all the Denver Bears stuff I can, for a project. I want higher resolution logos, but no luck. Here's what I got so far:

bears.png

I have a fascination with the team for some reason.

Here's a pretty good history of the Bears/Zephyrs.

Here are some photos I have from old programs. The first three are from a 1964 program, the last is from 1972 (actually a pic of the previous year's championship squad). Perhaps because they remind me of my youth, I think the home uniforms with the script "Bears" in red with navy drop shadow are the greatest ever... Also love the sleeve patch with bear holding the bat.

72Bearsfirstbaselowres.jpg

72BearsBlasingamelowres.jpg

72BearsRibantlowres.jpg

1971DenverBearslowres.jpg

I've ordered a 1969 home jersey from Ebbets Field Flannels; it should be pretty much like the ones in the picture of the 1971 team above. Alas, it won't have the distinctive script and drop-shadow of the mid-sixties unis.

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I seem to remember the Denver Bears being the Twins' farm team for a while in the 1960s, and Billy Martin was manager before being promoted to Twins manager in 1969.

Yes, Billy Martin's very first managerial job was as the Bears' skipper for the last half of 1968. He then succeeded Cal Ermer at the helm of the Twins, winning a divisional title in '69 before getting canned for getting in a fight with one of his pitchers. For better or worse, you sure don't see managers like that any more!

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I've ordered a 1969 home jersey from Ebbets Field Flannels; it should be pretty much like the ones in the picture of the 1971 team above. Alas, it won't have the distinctive script and drop-shadow of the mid-sixties unis.

You should give them a call - Ebbets Field will make a custom 1969 jersey for you - "We can make any authentic flannel from the Minor Leagues, the Negro Leagues, Latin America and many more".

I can currently assembling reference material for a couple jerseys I'd like them to make - Brewers jerseys from 1948 and 1913. But they might already have enough to make your Bears jersey.

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I've ordered a 1969 home jersey from Ebbets Field Flannels; it should be pretty much like the ones in the picture of the 1971 team above. Alas, it won't have the distinctive script and drop-shadow of the mid-sixties unis.

You should give them a call - Ebbets Field will make a custom 1969 jersey for you - "We can make any authentic flannel from the Minor Leagues, the Negro Leagues, Latin America and many more".

I can currently assembling reference material for a couple jerseys I'd like them to make - Brewers jerseys from 1948 and 1913. But they might already have enough to make your Bears jersey.

Thanks for the suggestion.

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You're welcome.

I'd also like to add an endorsement - I haven't ever been disappointed by Ebbets Field.

Well, except for the brief period in which they were owned by Stall & Dean, but the original owner bought back the company and returned it to its former greatness.

The quality is outstanding. I'm embarrassed at the amount of money I've spent with them.

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I distinctly remember the Z's moving to UNO Maestri Field as our FIRST minor league team since the Pelicans in the 70's who played in the mausoleum-like Superdome (the team moved and became the Louisville Redbirds), but the Z's never displaced an existing AA team, there never was one here before they came. There WAS an ownership group headed by Saints owner Tom Benson who wanted to place an AA team here, but Z's owner Rob Couhig won some kind of lawsuit, and Benson kept the name "Pelicans" and ANY derivative of that name in the event he might secure a minor league franchise, hence why the New Orleans Zephyrs have maintained a name that has NO local connection to the city apart from a long since dead roller coaster at the old Pontchartrain Beach amusement park.

P.S....Jeff Cirillo was pretty damn good back then...didn't mind being a Brew Crew affiliate....

Of topic, but I was wondering what that old amusement park was outside of New Orleans whenever I was there for the bowl game the week before Christmas. I think that it was also close to a closed down business park, too.

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