Coburn "Cobe" Jones
Coburn “Cobe” Jones’ identification with personal triumph touched and molded so many youngsters during his lifetime that he could well be described as a man who spent his own life so that others could know and benefit from the positive value of winning.
When he first attended the Old Broadway Junior High School, he discovered there was no competitive sports program there. So, he organized that school’s first competitive teams in basketball and baseball.
Then, at East High School, Jones became the first athlete in Denver high school history to earn twelve sports letters, three each in football, basketball, baseball and track. He was named All-City nine times.
Baseball eventually claimed Jones’ full attention and after his graduation in 1924, he played for various clubs until he went to spring training with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1928.
As a rookie, he was a contender for a starting job in the infield, and he eventually made it in 1929. That same year he discovered he had diabetes. But, Jones continued to play baseball at Omaha, Wichita and with the Denver Bears.
By this time, Jones was well aware that his major league prospects were nil. As early as 1932, he was coaching the Rough Riders as Director of Boys Programs at the Northside Community Center, a post he held until 1945. During that time, his football and baseball teams won thirty-eight championships in all age brackets. By 1934, he was coaching Class A American Legion ball, and in 1935, his team went to the National Finals in Stockton, California. During his minor league career, he succeeded in graduating from Colorado College in 1932.
His coaching career spanned thirty-one years, twenty-six of these in the Parochial League and seventeen with the Northside Community Center in Denver. He also became coach at St. Joseph’s in 1935 and gave that school its first city basketball championship. His team also finished first in the Denver Post Semi-Pro Tournament.
Jones’ final playing days came in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where he managed that team to first place in 1937. While his identification was with boys’ sports, he was named as Manager of the Denver Bears in 1941, until World War II terminated that service.
Throughout most of his coaching days, he served various major league teams as a baseball scout, including the St. Louis Browns and the Chicago Cubs. He was also the Rocky Mountain area scout for Robert Howsam’s St. Louis and Cincinnati teams.
So it was, that when his own success as a major league baseball player with the Pittsburgh Pirates was cut short by diabetes in 1929, his identification and devotion to sports was so acute that he gave up a possible successful financial career to spend over half of his life coaching from the grammar school level to minor league baseball.
Cobe was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1973 for his contributions to the sports world. He is now deceased.
Jones became the first athlete in Denver high school history to earn twelve sports letters, three each in football, basketball, baseball and track.