Extolling the accomplishments of noted sports figures when they are enshrined for posterity very often is limited to a recitation of their deeds on the fields and arenas where they achieved their fame.
Not so in the case of Dave Garland, a 1993 posthumous inductee into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. David T. Garland, born in 1898, achieved only inconsequential success as a high school and semipro baseball pitcher before serving overseas in the armed forces in World War I. But after his return, he spent the rest of his life-rendering yeoman service to Denver baseball and basketball—but, more importantly, to mankind, especially the youth of Denver. The Denver Bears gave him an award for outstanding contributions to baseball and awarded him a lifetime pass in 1952. The University of Denver named him “Man of the Year” in 1956 for his contribution to sports in Colorado. Denver’s Garland Park was dedicated in his honor for his contributions to sports.
During World War II, Garland was area commissioner for the American Basketball League of which Denver was a member. He was a charter member and sponsor of several teams in the Old Timers Baseball Association of Colorado and was co-promoter of the annual all-star game between baseball players from the Denver Public Schools and the Denver Parochial League.
But the real story of Dave Garland was the man whom ex-Denver Post columnist Harry Farrar described as “a kind uncle to every Denver athlete, from hole-in-the-pants kids to the more affluent sand-lotters whose baseball shirts and britches came in matched sets.”
“He attracted problem-plagued people like a chaplain in an army of foul balls. If a baseball player needed ten bucks for eating money (or a roof over his head for a couple of nights) he went to Garland. If a poor kid needed a baseball glove, somehow Dave got wind of it and presto, the kid found a mitt under his pillow that night.”
“…Sports have become a complex and commercial and never again will produce another Garland, who preferred the simple touch in solving athletic problems. But there was a long time, as thousands of his friends fondly recall, when Dave Garland was the saint of Denver sports.”
At the time of Garlands’ death in 1963, Carberry wrote: “It was truthfully said of Dave Garland that every person who knew him was his friend – and Dave Garland enjoyed possibly the greatest acquaintanceship of any man in Denver. I know this is true: He did not have a single enemy – and I know of no other of whom that can be said.”
He did not have a single enemy – and I know of no other of whom that can be said.