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Friday, Apr 01, 2005

mile high

"When members of the National League expansion committee approved a franchise for Denver in 1991, they probably didn’t know much about the weird history of minor-league ball in this town — and they certainly didn’t consult Dr. Robert K. Adair about drag coefficients and the Navier-Stokes equation, which governs fluid dynamics. Maybe they should have. Beginning in 1886, assorted bush-league teams have played here — the Denvers, the Rough Riders, the Colts, the Teddy Bears — but it wasn’t until detailed baseball statistics came into favor in the 1950s that two undeniable trends became apparent. Games played in Denver produced unusually high scores, and the place was uniformly brutal on pitchers. Fact: Since 1955, the only twenty-game winner for a Denver minor-league team was Jim Ollom, a 6’4”, 210-pound right-hander who did it for the old Denver Bears in 1966, then promptly flopped as a reliever for the Minnesota Twins. The only Rockie to win as many as seventeen games in a season was fan favorite Pedro Astacio, who managed that in 1999."