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SOURCE: Rockies to honor Denver's Negro League history with throwback uniforms

Jake Shapiro Avatar
February 13, 2018

DENVER — For the first time in the Colorado Rockies’ 25-year existence, the team will honor the rich history of baseball in Denver that existed long before the Rockies threw their first pitch. BSN Denver has learned that the Rockies will honor the Negro League’s Denver White Elephants with a one-game, throwback uniform.

As of now, the plan is to don the uniforms at some point during the Aug. 3-5 series in Milwaukee, where the Brewers will also be wearing a throwback uniform for the matchup.

The details—like whether or not the club will don the green cap with the white stripes—are still being worked out, but the main detail, as we have learned, is that jersey itself is expected to look similar to the White Elephants’ 1930 road uniform.

Satchel Paige, Buck O’Neil, Oliver Marcelle, and Theodore M.”Bubbles” Anderson were among the most famous to play for the White Elephants. They made their home—for most of their history—at Merchants Park, which was located downtown at 600 S. Broadway.

The park notably hosted barnstormers like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig for exhibition games and held the prestigious Denver Post Tournament, played annually between non-major league teams. The tournament is highly notable because it was both integrated and allowed international players and teams. A Negro League All-Star team won the tournament in 1936 behind the play of Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Buck Leonard and James “Cool Papa” Bell. The next year, an All-Star team from Mexico won the tournament.

The Denver Bears—the longtime Denver minor league team which once reached the highest levels of minor league ball—also played at Merchants Park from 1922 until 1948, when the park was demolished.

Negro League baseball had a strong presence in the Mile High City, flourishing with the White Elephants from 1915-1935. The team was owned by A.H.W. Ross, a black businessman. In fact, Five Points’ Rossonian Hotel was named after him.

Interestingly enough, the history of integrated ball in Colorado goes even deeper. The Pueblo Blues played against white teams in the 1880s, and pitcher Bud Fowler, who is considered the first black professional player, was a member of the Pueblo Pastimes in the same timeframe.

Anderson (mentioned above) is fifth from the left

The Rockies wore throwback jerseys in 2013 for a game against the Mets in which they oddly wore their 1993 road uniforms at home. It was a throwback to the Rockies’ first ever game, which was at Shea Stadium against the Mets. The Mets wore home jerseys at Coors Field for the game.

Aside from a very rarely worn “turn ahead the clock” jersey, the Rockies have never strayed far from what they wear now. The biggest change the franchise has ever made was changing the shade of purple ahead of the 2017 season.

Fans have long clamored for Bears or Denver Zephyrs throwbacks, but the White Elephants are certainly a good start for their franchise.

Below are rendering of what the uniforms *may* look-like using MLB The Show 17’s Diamond Dynasty feature to model it on some Rockies at Miller Park.

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