Minor League history: Colorado State League

The Colorado State League had four editions, all in the 19th century. During those four editions, the league operated as an independent league.

Nat Hudson baseball card.jpg
Nat Hudson

The first run of the Colorado State League was in 1885. The league contained only three
teams: the Leadville Blues, the Pueblo Pastimes and the Denver Browns. Bud Fowler, the first black professional ballplayer played five games for the Pastimes. Like many other newspapers the Pueblo press was very positive about Fowler. It is not sure if it was because of the altitude, but Fowler pitched to complete game losses for Pueblo. The team released him due to racial tensions initiated by his teammates. Late August the Pastimes refused to extend the season and was boycotted by the other two teams and was forced to dissolve. Another player that played in the Colorado State League was Nat Hudson, who was signed by the St. Louis Browns, later the Cardinals, in 1886.

Four years later the next run of the Colorado State League played with  teams from Denver (Solis), Colorado Springs, Aspen (Silver Kings), Leadville (Blues) and Pueblo (Ponies).
The league was far from stable as three of the five teams disbanded before the season was over. Despite being in first place with a 3.5 lead, the Pueblo Ponies disbanded on July 22nd. The Denver franchise disbanded even sooner, on June 2nd. The Aspen Silver Kings disbanded July 29th.

It would take a while before the next edition of the Colorado State League saw the light when a couple of baseball enthusiasts formed the league. In 1896, the same cities as in 1889 plus a new one would be part of this league, only with different monikers. The Aspen Miners, the Denver Gulfs, the Leadville Angels, the Pueblo Rovers, the Denver franchise and the new team from Gillette. There is not much more known about this edition of the league.

Two years later the final edition of the league would play. Teams from Aspen (Miners), Louisville CO (Coal Miners), Leadville (Blues), Glenwood Springs (Bathers), Denver (Gulfs), Fort Collins (Farmers) and Pueblo (Rovers) would start the competion. But once again this league appeared to be far from stable as the first team disbanded early in the season; the Pueblo Rovers called it quits on May 30. Three more teams would dissolve in the course of the season, so the league ended with only three teams left: Louisville disbanded on July 7, Aspen on July 31 and Fort Collins on August 24.

The problem with early independent leagues is that they came and went and came and went without keeping their statistics very well. Therefore it is so difficult to find proper information about the early independent leagues.


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