McMorris, one of Rockies’ original owners, dies
Jerry McMorris, one of the instrumental figures in bringing the
Colorado Rockies to town, has died, the team said in a
The team said that McMorris died Tuesday in Denver of cancer. He
McMorris was part of a group that purchased a controlling
interest in the club in 1992, a year before the team started play.
He served as chairman, president and CEO of the team until 2001. He
was part of the team’s ownership group until 2005.
”I believe it is fair to say without the efforts of Jerry,
there may have never been Major League Baseball in Denver,”
Rockies owner and CEO Dick Monfort said.
McMorris was a limited partner when the original ownership group
was formed. He stepped up when members of the original group in the
deal for the expansion team ran into financial and legal trouble.
McMorris assisted in making up a $20 million shortfall on the $95
million expansion fee. He also garnered other support for the team,
bringing on board Charles Monfort and the late Oren Benton.
Major league owners approved Denver and South Florida as two new
members on July 5, 1991. The Rockies played their first home game
on April 9, 1993, when a crowd of 80,227 packed into old Mile High
for an 11-4 win over Montreal.
”I don’t think you can say enough about him, what he’s meant to
this organization,” longtime Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd
Helton said in a recent interview.
Commissioner Bud Selig echoed those feelings.
”I am very saddened by the loss of my friend Jerry McMorris,
whose efforts were integral to bringing Major League Baseball to
Colorado in 1993,” Selig said in a statement. ”Under Jerry’s
leadership, the Rockies attracted more than three million fans in
each of the club’s first nine years and became a first-class
franchise in a wonderful ballpark.
”Jerry quickly established himself as a leader within our
industry, playing a key role on a number of our committees and
serving not only the Rockies franchise but all of Major League
Baseball very well.”
McMorris served on MLB’s executive council and chaired its
legislative committee. He also took a prominent role among owners
during the 1994-95 labor negotiations, holding secret talks with
union head Donald Fehr.
In 2001, McMorris relinquished control as club president, paving
the way for the late Keli McGregor to take over the position.
McMorris ended up selling his shares of the team to the Monforts
four years later.
Away from the field, McMorris worked closely with the Western
Stock Show Association, serving as chairman for six years and on
the executive committee for 18 years.
”Jerry McMorris was one of the great leaders of our time. It
was an honor to learn from Jerry and witness his passion for the
Western way of life and the values we at Stock Show represent,”
President and CEO Paul Andrews said. ”He will be sorely
McMorris is survived by his wife, Mary, two children and five
grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.