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 or played on the Bisbee field. Major league and players who saw action at Warren Ballpark include Billy Martin, Charlie MetroFrank 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:
- It was constructed by the Warren Company, a subsidiary of the Calumet and Arizona Mining Company.
- Original cost: $3,600.
- The field provided recreation and entertainment for copper miners and the townspeople of Bisbee.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.