History of Damon Runyon Field
History of Runyon Field (early information largely taken from the Pueblo Chieftain, May 27, 2002 )
1934 – Runyon Field is born when bleachers are moved there from the old Merchants Field.
1938 – The field is officially established as a baseball field and called County Park.
1938 – Babe Ruth plays an exhibition game at the park.
1941 – The Pueblo Rollers played in the Western League as a farm team of the St. Louis Browns. Pueblo finished 4th (out of 6) in the regular season at 52 – 54. They beat Cheyenne (Indians) in the first round and were leading Norfolk (Yankees) 3 games to 2 in the championship round when a storm flooded the Norfolk field. It went beyond the 9/15 deadline for completion and the Rollers were awarded the title. After that the war broke out and the whole league went dormant.
History of Damon Runyon Field
1947 – Pueblo gets a Class A franchise in the Western League, the Pueblo Dodgers and a farm team of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Pueblo goes on to have a team in the Western League playing at Runyon Field for 12 years. The Brooklyn Dodgers send Walter Alston to manage the team, which places first in the final standings and wins the Governor’s Cup. Team members eventually include Preston Ward, Sparky Anderson, Jim Gentile, Billy Hunter, Bud Freese, Roy Face, and Turk Lown, who made his home in Pueblo after a stint in the big leagues, and famed Dodgers Karl Spooner, Maury Wills, Clem Labine, Bob Lillis, Roger Craig, Johnny Roseboro, Don Demeter, Dick Tracewski, and Larry Sherry.
1948 – The field is named Runyon Field in honor of former Puebloan and noted newspaperman and writer Damon Runyon. Runyon was born in Manhattan, Kansas, in 1880 but grew up in Pueblo. In 1910 his work took him to New York City where in late 1946 he died of throat cancer.
1949 – The Dodgers win the Governor’s Cup again.
1956 – One of the more famous players in Western League history, Dick Stuart, hits 66 homers for the Lincoln Chiefs.
1958 – As the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, Des Moines and Pueblo switch affiliations, Pueblo’s team becoming the Pueblo Bruins and a Chicago Cubs’ farm team. Billy Williams, Dave Stenhouse, Dick Bertell, Lou Jackson and George Altman play for Pueblo before going on to the majors. After the season, the Western League folds, taking the Pueblo Bruins with it.
1959 – Community rallies to raise $15,000 to keep Runyon Field open.
1976 – Babe Ruth 16-year-old national tournament held at Runyon Field.
1985 – Second full-size diamond and first youth field built.
1991 – National Bambino 12-year-old tournament held at Runyon Field.
1994 – Second youth field built, eventually named DiIorio Field.
1995 – Players and coaches prohibited from using tobacco.
1995 – Main field at Runyon complex renamed Hobbs Field for Oneal Hobbs, called the father of baseball in Pueblo, general manager of the Pueblo Dodgers/Bruins during their 12-year history in Pueblo and former president of the Western League.
1997 – Andenucio Field is named for longtime local baseball man Tony Andenucio.
1999 – New $300,000 clubhouse is built at the complex and includes a museum.
1999 – A new fence is built for Hobbs Field, replacing the previous 50-year-old structure.
2005 – On November 1st, taking over for Joe Latino, Dave Dudley hired as General Manager of the Runyon Field Sports Complex after a 30-year teaching and coaching career in District 70.
2007 – First youth field named for Sam Corsentino
2007 – Third youth field built
2008 – “Bull Pen Concession Stand” opened serving many new items
2008 – Third youth field named for John (Max) Salas
2009 – On July 23rd, Graham Knight, creator of BaseballPilgrimages.com, visits Runyon; Graham takes a panoramic photo of Hobbs Field, which he later discovers on display at B’s Ballpark Museum near Coors Field in Denver.
2011 – In the Fall, Runyon begins hosting girls’ high school and middle school softball.
2012 – Ray Puesedu Field, a new 8-and-under field, and sports turf on Corsentino Field are realized due to a Great Outdoors of Colorado grant in addition to Runyon funding.
2012 – On July 30th, Doug Greenwald, broadcaster for the AAA Fresno Grizzlies, finally makes the pilgrimage to Runyon.