The Good, the Bad and the Funny of El Paso Sports.’


I’ve started a new book, my eighth. It’s about the history of El Paso sports and titled “The Good, the Bad and the Funny of El Paso Sports.”

I promise not to bore you. It’ll be done in short, snappy historical and humorous anecdotes that I’ve collected through my more than 50 years as a sports writer, sports editor and columnist. What’s more, I’m going to ask readers to help. After you read some of the anecdotes I’m going to post here you’ll get the idea of what I’m doing.

Some of the anecdotes go back to before the start of the last century. Here are three in the first chapter.


The first sports contest

There’s little doubt that the first sporting event in the El Paso area was a horse race. The Spaniards, who had introduced horses to the Southwest, settled the El Paso area in the late 1500s and early 1600s. One can imagine how one horse owner, perhaps Don Juan de Onate or one of his men, bragged about how fast his horse was. Someone else surely bragged that he had a faster horse. And the first match race was born. There has been documentation of such early races, some even including friendly Indians – Ray Sanchez.


The first baseball game?

There is no documentation of the first baseball game ever played in El Paso but it’s almost certain that it came in the covered wagon era. El Paso Herald-Post Sports editor Bob Ingram wrote: “There may have been many hostile Indians when wagon trains came to the western-most part of Texas in 1880 but when the wagon master shouted ‘Circle you’re wagons’ it’s more likely he may have wanted to clear a space for a baseball game between the settlers and pioneers.” – From “Browns to Diablos,” a book by Bob Ingram.


UTEP starts football

Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy, now known as University of Texas at El Paso, opened on Sept. 23, 1914 near Fort Bliss. Football was already popular in other parts of the country. John W. Kidd, the school’s first dean of engineering, had fallen in love with the sport and put up $800, a big sum at the time, to start a team. Tommy Dwyer, who had been an All Southwest Conference quarterback, was named coach. There were only 27 students at the school and 14 of them turned out for the first team. The Miners beat a team from the YMCA and a team from Fort Bliss and lost to New Mexico State, New Mexico Military and El Paso High School. – From “The Miners,” a book by Bob Ingram and Ray Sanchez.


I DON’T KNOW how long my new book is going to be or how long it’ll take to finish it. But there’ll be much history, a lot of facts and a lot of humor in it. I’ll be posting new anecdotes through the process in my column and/or Facebook.

There will be anecdotes of Don Haskins, his national championship and his encounters with “the voodoo lady,” a traffic cop and a pool shark. There will be Lee Trevino’s cracks, adventures and misadventures while in El Paso plus anecdotes of Jim Paul’s amazing success, Andy Cohen’s unbelievable feats and of other El Paso greats and not-so-greats. There will also be some old photos that will blow you mind.


AND YOU CAN be a part of it. If you have a sports anecdote of interest please send it to my email address below or put it on my Facebook page. I will consider it and if used you will be given credit in the book. Please, no anonymous contributions.


Veteran sports journalist and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. Contact him at (915) 584-0626, by e-mail at or online at