Monthly Archives: March 2009

Baseball history in Bisbee, Arizona

Are you a baseball fan interested in its Arizona roots? If you’re on your way to watch some Cactus League action (or are here now), you might want to consider a road trip to Bisbee, Arizona.

It’s here at the 100-year-old Warren Ballpark that history was made. Baseball legends John McGraw, Connie Mack and Charlie Comiskey brought their teams to play here. Today, the Bisbee Copper Kings ball club, a member of the Pacific Southwest Baseball League, makes Warren its home field.

Can’t make it in March? Come back in July for the first annual Copper Kings Invitational Baseball tournament and the Warren Ballpark’s centennial celebration. See the latest list of events for Bisbee’s Fourth of July weekend for more information.

Trying to topple the Bisbee Copper Kings will be the Phoenix/Mesa Garden of Gears, the Tucson Nationals, the Casa Grande Cotton Kings, the Denver Cougars and the El Paso Texans. Another team will join them to round out the tourney. There will be eight teams and 15 games, hot dogs, beer and team memorabilia.

If you want to make plans to come to the tournament, it pays to plan ahead. July Fourth weekend is busy in Bisbee, so make your reservations early.

Many baseball legends managed or played on the Bisbee field. Major league managers and players who saw action at Warren Ballpark include Billy Martin, Charlie Metro, Frank Lucchesi, Clint Courtney and Earl Wilson among others. More than 20 major league players and managers started their careers or came back to manage at Warren Ball Park. See my earlier post with a picture of the 1947 Bisbee Yanks.

So, why not plan a trip down?

Here are a few facts about the historic Warren Ballpark:

  1. It was constructed by the Warren Company, a subsidiary of the Calumet and Arizona Mining Company.
  2. Original cost: $3,600.
  3. The field provided recreation and entertainment for copper miners and the townspeople of Bisbee.
  4. Originally scheduled for June 26, 1909, opening day was postponed due to a rain-out. The following day, the “Bisbee Beautiful” team hosted and defeated a visiting squad from El Paso.
  5. In the 1920s, some of the outlaw players who were caught up in the 1919 World Series “Black Sox” scandal played on the Warren Ballpark field, but were not on the Bisbee team. These “outlaw” players were from visiting teams.
  6. The Bisbee team’s refusal to sign blacklisted players was one of the reasons why they became one of the first minor league teams in the Arizona-Texas League.
  7. Major league teams regularly played exhibition games at Warren Ballpark in the 1910s, 20s, 30s and 40s. Teams that played here included the Chicago Cubs, White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Giants, Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Athletics.
  8. Bert Shepard pitched for the 1941 Bisbee Bees before joining the Army Air Forces and becoming a fighter pilot. He returned from a German POW camp to become the only man to play on an artificial leg in major league baseball.

The company that funded the ballpark’s construction, Calumet and Arizona, was one of the three biggest copper producers in the area at the time. Today, there’s an inn named after it: The Calumet & Arizona Guest House. It’s within walking distance from the ballpark.

Warren Ballpark circa 1910

Warren Ballpark circa 1910

Warren Ballpark 2008

Warren Ballpark 2008

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Fairbank tells part of Arizona history

Photo courtesy of the Cochise County Tourism Council

Photo courtesy of the Cochise County Tourism Council

If you like ghost towns, check out the historic site of Fairbank. It was once a thriving depot along the rail line that took passengers from Arizona into Mexico.

Travel writer, Nancy Yackel, wrote a great post about the history of Fairbank. Visit her site to learn more.

Want to know more? Visit Cochise County and the old Fairbank town site yourself! Check out the Cochise County web site for more details.

Other ghost towns in Cochise County include Charleston, Millville, Gleeson and others. You might also want to check out another Web site devoted entirely to ghost towns. Here’s the link for those in Cochise County.

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Cochise County events in March

Spring is here (in Arizona, at least), and it’s a great time to see what the entire state of Arizona has to offer. If you’re in the state watching Cactus League Baseball and want to expand your horizons with a look at Arizona history or art, guided hikes, art shows and performances and much more in Cochise County will help you learn more about the state.

March 6 & 7, Annual Tribute to Marty Robbins, Willcox

Marty Robbins was a popular country and Western singer who was born in Glendale, a suburb of Phoenix. Special guest, Rex Allen Jr., joins in this 18th annual celebration of the country-music legend with afternoon and evening concerts, carriage rides, a viewing of Robbins’ race car. Entertainment will be held on historic Railroad Avenue, and the concerts will be held at the high school.

Details: 4 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. concerts at the Willcox High School Auditorium, Bisbee Avenue in Willcox.Admission is $10-$15. Call 520-766-1404 or visit www.friendsofmartyrobbins.org for more info.

March 7, Annual Art Auction, Bisbee

Historic Bisbee’s 17th annual art auction features nationally recognized artists from southern Arizona. Art lovers can get the jump on the competing buyers by browsing a “Preview” 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on March 7, followed at 6 p.m. by the “Meet the Artists” reception. The live auction starts at 7 p.m., with larger artworks going on the block; meanwhile, in an adjacent room, bidders vie for smaller pieces in a silent auction. “The $10 admission includes a glass of wine, and great food and deserts donated by the “‘great chefs of Bisbee’-also known as ‘people who like to cook,'” says artist Judy Perry, of the Bisbee Arts Commission.

Details: 7-9 p.m. March 7 (preview 11 a.m.-4 p.m.) at the Serbian Hall, 216 Park Ave., in the Historic Warren District of Bisbee. Admission is $10.Info: 520-432-3554 or 1-866-2-Bisbee; www.discoverbisbee.com

March 14, Tour of the Bascom Affair Site, Fort Bowie

Learn about the history and archeology associated with the incident that precipitated the Apache Wars. Park ranger Larry Ludwig, an expert on the Apache Wars and the archeology of Fort Bowie, will lead the tour. Bring water, lunch and good hiking shoes. Call for reservations.

Details: 10 a.m. Meet at Fort Bowie trailhead parking, 13 miles south of Bowie on Apache Pass Road (unpaved). Call for admission prices. Info: 520-847-2500, ext. 21; e-mail larry_ludwig@nps.gov

March 20, Hike the Coronado Peak Trail, Sierra Vista

Spectacular views of Mexico, the San Pedro River Valley, and the San Rafael Valley reward hikers along the Coronado Peak Trail. The adventure begins with orientation at the Coronado visitor center and a drive to the trailhead. Some portions of the trail are moderately steep. Overall distance is about 5 miles. Don’t forget sturdy shoes, water and sunscreen.

Details: 8 a.m.-noon at Coronado Memorial Visitor Center, 4101 E. Montezuma Canyon Road, Hereford. Admission is free. Info at 520-366-5515, ext. 22

March 21, Guided Tour of Buffalo Soldier Historical Sites, Sierra Vista

Learn about the accomplishments and history of Fort Huachuca’s famous Buffalo Soldiers during the monthly 3rd Saturday tours. The “Buffalo Soldiers” were established by Congress as the first peacetime all-black regiments in the regular U.S. Army. Guided tours stop at historic sites on the post and return at 3 p.m. via bus or caravan.

Tour departs at 11:15 a.m. Call 520-417-6960 or 1-800-288-3861 for location, admission charge and other details.

Note: Fort Huachuca is an active military installation. Visitor passes are available to US citizens at the post’s main gate with a valid driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance (or rental car agreement). All passengers over 13 must have photo identification.

March 21, Hike Fairbank Loop and Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenate, Fairbank

Join the Friends of the San Pedro River for a hike around this historic area. Visit a once-thriving boomtown of the Wild West, the cemetery, the old schoolhouse and other historic sites. Then cross the river and visit the Presidio. How far into Arizona did Spanish exploration go? Why wasn’t the Spanish presidio (fortress) in the San Pedro River Valley ever completed? How did ongoing warfare with Apaches affect life? Learn as you explore one of the state’s loveliest river vistas. The moderate-rated hike is about six miles. Wear appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes; bring plenty of water and snacks if desired.

Details: 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Meet at Fairbank Schoolhouse. Admission is $5. For more info, call 520-459-2555 or visit www.sanpedroriver.org

March 27 & 28, 11th Annual Cochise Community Creative Writing Celebration, Sierra Vista

Writers take note! In a celebration priced for starving artists, an amazing lineup of creative experts awaits to stimulate your pen at Cochise College. The celebration includes published writers in genres, including children’s writing and screenwriting. Visit the website for information on registration and the writing contest with cash prizes. Sponsored by Cochise College, the UofA South Foundation and Sierra Vista Parks and Leisure Services.

Details: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. March 27; 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. March 28 at the  Ethel Berger Center and Cochise College, Sierra Vista.

Admission is $40 for both days or $25 one-day registration; $25 students and seniors.Info at 520-417-4112 or www.cochise.edu/information/newsevents/calendar.asp

March 30, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Sierra Vista

The Glenn Miller Orchestra, considered one of the greatest bands of all time, swings down to Cochise County to make sure March goes out like a jam. The orchestra has been touring consistently since 1956, playing an average of 300 gigs around the world every year.

Details: 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center, 5225 Buena School Blvd. in Sierra Vista. Admission is $22.Info: 520-417-6960; www.visitsierravista.com.

Arizona Folklore Preserve, Sierra Vista

Arizona’s Official State Balladeer, Dolan Ellis, and musical guests perform Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the intimate setting of the Folklore Preserve in forested Ramsey Canyon. Reservations are required.
March 7 & 8: Sid Hausman, cowboy singer/songwriter

March 14 & 15: Dolan Ellis, “Cochise County”

March 21 & 22: Keeter Stuart, singer/songwriter

March 28 & 29: Call of the West, instrumentalists, song writers and vocalists

Details: 2 p.m., Saturdays & Sundays at the Arizona Folklore Preserve, 44 E. Ramsey Canyon Road, Hereford, Arizona. Admission is $15 for adults; $6 for students 17 and under. More info at 520-378-6165 or www.arizonafolklore.com.

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