Before the Colorado Rockies got their name, there was a minor league team in Denver: the Denver Zephyrs. Even further back, they were dubbed the Bears. The current team name itself isn’t unique as the New Jersey Devils were formerly the Colorado Rockies before moving and leaving room for the Colorado Avalanche in their stead.
Former Rockies CEO John Antonucci chose to use the name because it, “might be one of the strongest names in all of professional sports.” The quote came in justification of using a departed, below-average hockey team’s name despite the losing history.
In hindsight, the name has worked wonders. The logo has been one of the league’s most unique for decades and the purple color scheme has differentiated the club even more.
However, the club has a short history. Changing the name could differentiate them once again if Cleveland chooses to go with the Rocks.
The Bears could be a great change. As son of a former batboy of the club, I’ve had Denver Bears gear along the walls of my childhood home forever. Signed bats, old batting helmets, and logos have made the imaginary change worthwhile in my mind.
Major League Baseball doesn’t currently have a team named the Bears. The National Football League does, albeit in the same city MLB has the Cubs. Cubs and Bears would run eerily similar to Rocks and Rockies.