Sam Suplizio Is Smiling
I was a friend of Sam Suplizio all the years I lived in Craig. Almost everyone in Western Colorado was his friend. He cut a wide swath with his warm personality and interest in people.
I last saw Sam when he built a new home in Grand Junction and gave me a home tour; at that time he had just succeeded in being one of the baseball pioneers to bring major league baseball to Denver and Colorado.
He held tickets number one and two. He gave me a pair of tickets to one of the first home opening games. My son and I felt really important sitting in Sam’s seats.He held important seats at many tables and had big baseball shoes to fill.
Sam died a few years back and the Sentinel listed his home, as I recall, in North Carolina where he had moved temporarily. He was a Mesa County, Colorado resident if there ever was one. he certainly loved skiing at Vail in the wintertime.
His memory is still honored by having the athletic field named “Suplizio Field.”
His dreams of bringing big time baseball to our state continue to come true as next week Grand Junction will become the second minor league capital for baseball in Colorado with the home game arrival of the Grand Junction Rockies June 23.
The team will begin its 76 game schedule with 38 home games in the Pioneer Rookie League. First game will be in Ogden, Utah June 18.
They are the newest member of the Colorado Rockies’ farm club along with Colorado Springs in that league’s Triple-A Pacific Coast League.
The team is being moved by Greeley based Rockies’ owners Dick and Charlie Monfort from Casper to Grand Junction.
Suplizio was instrumental in forming the Junior College World Series of baseball held in Grand Junction for the past 53 years.
According to newspaper reports the Grand Junction draft picks may lean to outstanding high school prospects while Colorado Springs may choose the college players.
Sam would be very pleased with the growth of baseball in his hometown of Grand Junction.
What a great addition to Mesa County.