This Colorado Rockies flashback takes you back more than three decades to December 18, 1990.
On this date, 31 years ago, the National League announced that Denver was on the league’s list of six possible sites for to be awarded a Major League Baseball franchise, which would eventually become the Colorado Rockies.
Besides Denver, the other five potential expansion sites included Buffalo, Orlando, South Florida, Tampa-St. Petersburg, and Washington, D.C.
The announcement came three months to the day — September 18 — after representatives made a pitch on behalf of the city of Denver to the National League Expansion Committee.
From there it would be less than seven months later — July 5, 1991 — that Major League owners would unanimously approve Denver, along with South Florida, as the league’s two newest franchises after then-MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent had announced less than a month earlier that Denver and South Florida were the National League’s choices for expansion.
Along with the owners’ approval, the Colorado Baseball Partnership announced that the team would be named the Colorado Rockies and the team logo was unveiled.
Once Denver was awarded a franchise, things began happening quickly to get the Rockies ready to take the field for a Major League game for the first time.
Ownership and management of the franchise was finalized and Bob Gebhard, who spoke during a ceremony for the retiring of the jersey of Hall of Famer Larry Walker in September at Coors Field, was named in September 1991 as the franchise’s first general manager.
In early 1992, Hi Corbett Field in Tucson, Arizona, was selected as the spring training home for the Rockies and later that year, on November 17, the organization selected David Nied from the Atlanta Braves as the first pick in the MLB Expansion Draft in New York City and the club’s roster began to take shape.
Three months later, on February 18, 1993, pitchers and catchers reported to Hi Corbett Field for the franchise’s inaugural spring training. Hi Corbett would remain the Rockies spring training home until 2011 when the club moved to its current spring training home at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Colorado played its inaugural regular-season Major League game on April 5, 1993, in a 3-0 road loss against the New York Mets.
The Rockies celebrated their first home game in franchise history on April 9, 1993, with an 11-4 victory against the Montreal Expos before a Major League record crowd of 80,227 at Mile High Stadium to give Manager Don Baylor his first win at the team’s helm.
Colorado would go on top the 4 million mark in attendance in the team’s 71st game of that inaugural season to break a Major League single-season attendance record. The Rox drew 4,483,350 fans in the 1993 campaign.
Colorado would continue playing its home games at Mile High Stadium until moving into its current home at Coors Field in 1995.