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Ray Sanchez: El Paso’s Jack Welch hot on and off the course - El Paso Inc.: Local Columnists

Ray Sanchez: El Paso’s Jack Welch hot on and off the course

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Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013 6:00 pm

This week, some short shots about local sports, the Yankees and a winery:

JACK WELCH, El Paso golf guru/musician, set a personal golf record the other day at Dos Lagos Golf Course. He birdied five holes in a row on the back nine for a score of 31.

Besides teaching golfers the intricacies of the golf swing, Welch has been packing them in with his music on Thursday nights at the Sunland Winery. In fact, he’s been such a hit he will soon also be performing there on Saturday nights beginning July 6.

INCIDENTALLY, I was surprised at the size of the Sunland Winery, located at 1769 Victory Lane, when I visited there recently. I thought it was just a – well, a place that produces wine.

But it’s a huge building that also has a room for Spanish and English classes, another section to teach painting and a big section for transferring paintings and photos onto canvases.

TRIVIA QUESTION: This might be a little tricky. What National League first baseman won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1947? Answer at end.

LAST WEEK’S column about Ron Gillett being batboy for the New York Yankees when they played in El Paso in 1951 was well received.

In fact, Pete Ciccarelli, a former El Paso Herald-Post sports writer turned public relations man, emailed me from out of town and called it “fabulous” because it was a story of great human interest. What kid wouldn’t like to be batboy for the New York Yankees?

SO HOW MUCH is the ball autographed by Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto and other Yankees of that era that Gillett owns worth?

I did a little Googling and found that a ball autographed by just Joe DiMaggio is worth $1,200, and there are a bunch of them available. But how about one autographed by DiMaggio and other big stars of that era like Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto and other greats? Should be worth much more.

I WAS SURPRISED how many people are still around who attended that Yankees game and other games involving major league teams more than 60 years ago in El Paso.

Julius Lowenberg, who was so successful as a coach at Canutillo High School that the school named its football stadium after him and his lovely wife Irene, recalls seeing fastball pitcher Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians strike out El Paso players in the late 1940s.

JULIUS LOWENBERG is a member of the Cathedral High School Alumni Association. The group will have a special guest at its monthly breakfast July 13: Dr. Diana Natalicio.

Am I lucky? Julius invited me to attend.

UTEP HAS lost another basketball player due to an incident in a bar. Why, people ask, don’t these young athletes stay away from potential trouble? Don’t they get counseling? I would think they do, but it’s been happening since I started covering sports 63 years ago.

Really, though, as a matter of fact, the great majority of athletes I have found to be good, solid people.

AND A RECENT headline read: “Cohen Stadium could become an adventure water park,” which led a friend of mine named Ron to groan.

I paraphrase: “We’ve been told to conserve water. I took it seriously and did some changes at my house toward that end. Now, they’re telling me they’re going to put in a water park at Cohen Stadium?”

ANSWER to trivia question: Jackie Robinson. He became better known as a second baseman, but he played first base his first year with the Brooklyn Dodgers because Eddie Stanky was playing second base then.

The following year Stanky was traded and Robinson was moved to second base.

Veteran sports journalist and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. Call (915) 584-0626, email or visit

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