Softball Star Nunez: A Profile in Durability
by Ray Sanchez©
July 8 at 11:05 AM
Headline: Softball star Nunez: A profile in durability
(Photo of Bobby Nunez at 86)
Bobby Nunez is one of the most durable persons I’ve ever known.
He was a member of the El Paso softball team that went to Rock Island, Ill., in 1961 and 1962 and darn if it didn’t win the International Softball Congress world championship.
Other members of the team, sponsored by El Paso realtor Jack Dautrich, in 1961 were Manager – Clyde Hooten, pitchers Paul Lopez, Ken Wycoff, Clayton Dugger, catcher Jack Palmore, first baseman Charlie Smith, second baseman Bert Williams, third baseman Wendell Holt, shortstop – Johnny Huerta, outfielders Dude Ausmus, Hutch Hutchinson, Al Mena, Jesse Martinez.
A few changes were made the next year, including Yvan Rechy taking over as manager and Gene Stogner playing third base.
NUNEZ WAS a special utility member of the team. A powerful hitter and an outstanding fielder, he could play any position on the team outside of catcher. And he did -- often. “Nemo Herrera (the late legendary Bowie High coach) once told me I was a great hitter,” Nunez says. Now, that’s what I call a compliment
The reason I single Bobby Nunez out is because he survived one of the most bizarre incidents I’ve ever heard of in my many years as a sports writer.
BESIDES PLAYING softball, members of the Dautrich team had jobs or businesses, of course. Nunez became involved in his father’s glass business and eventually started a company of his own.
The company became such a booming success that he moved it to California. It was so successful there that he started putting in windows for movie stars, including Lana Turner. “She was a beautiful woman,” he recalls.
Following is the bizarre incident that happened to him.
He would travel between El Paso and California often. One day, on his way to California several years ago, he suffered a stroke while driving through Arizona. He says he remembers little of what occurred after that but he kept driving. “I only remember there were a lot of big trucks on the highway but nothing else,” he says.
SOMEHOW, SOME way, he reached the city of Pomona in California, got out of the car and literally crawled to the door of the home of his daughter, Christine.
“I reached the door and collapsed,” he recalls.
Luckily, his daughter had a dog and it started to bark. The barking alerted her and she opened the door. There was her father, sprawled on her doorstep face down. What a shock that must have been.
She immediately called for help and the fire department took him to a hospital.
HIS STROKE left him partially paralyzed on his right side and he has trouble finding words to express himself. As a veteran of the Korean War he is in constant care by the Veterans Administration.
At age 86, he still drives a car and joins me often for a cup of coffee at Starbucks, where he loves to recall his days of glory on the softball field.
Bobby Nunez is made of sturdy stuff indeed,
TRIVIA QUESTION: When was the first golf course in El Paso built and where was it located? Answer at end of column.
THE EL PASO Chihuahuas, who have been so successful in the Pacific Coast League, have something else to pop the buttons on their shirts again.
El Paso Chihuahuas pitcher Brett Kennedy and infielder Luis Urias have been named Pacific Coast League All-Stars and will play in the 2018 Huntington Bank Triple-A All-Star Game.
The game, presented by Gildan, will take place on Wednesday, July 11 in Columbus, Ohio.
TRIVIA ANSWER: The first golf course, with a modest building but with a kitchen and porch, opened on June 1, 1906, near Washington Park. The course was named El Paso Country Club.
Veteran sports journalist and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. Contact him at by e-mail at email@example.com or online at www.raysanchezbooks.com
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