One of the most popular and well-planned Halls of Fame in El Paso is the one for baseball. I mean, the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame is so well organized it plans ahead, has a spectacular website and offers plenty of press releases.
Look at its schedule for this year:
• A Meet and Greet Media Day, which will be held at 3:47 p.m. Friday, July 12 at the Wyndham Conference Center
• 7:05 p.m. Saturday, July 13, Class of 2019 tosses out first pitch at Southwest University Park
• 2 p.m. Sunday, July 14, Class of 2019 Induction Banquet at the Wyndham Conference Center.
• Tickets available at $30 per person. Last day to buy tickets is Friday, July 5.
THIS YEAR’S inductees in alphabetical order are:
Matthew Banales: One of the most recognized elite umpires in El Paso and Texas, he umpired in El Paso and at the Texas High School Final 4 UIL State Tournament and has officiated numerous championship games at the state and regional levels.
Arturo Bravo: The 1974 Austin High graduate and a three-year All City and All District player played with UTEP baseball under Andy Cohen, was named All-Conference and All-WAC baseball, and attended USC, where he earned a doctor of dentistry degree in 1983.
Michael Cox: Played at Riverside High School and as a junior hit .400 and had a 7-1 pitching record; was selected All-District and All City in his senior year leading his team to Riverside’s first championship; attended Hill College and Hardin- Simmons University; and served as an assistant coach at Del Valle High School.
Armando Femath: Active in baseball for 46 years from Little League to collegiate ball, he was an outstanding shortstop and pitcher with Ysleta High School from 1975 to 1977; was named All-District and All-City shortstop with a batting average of .362; and pitched for NAIA college power Dallas Baptist College.
Albert Montes: Selected All District with Socorro High School and earned the MVP award and Player of the Year; was selected to play in the Area Code Games with the Arizona Diamondbacks (a tournament for top draft picks); was selected in the Major League Baseball Amateur draft by the Texas Rangers; pitched for the University of Texas, where he posted a 7-5 record; was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 12th round in the 2001 draft; and played with the El Paso Diablos in 2009 under Butch Henry.
TRIVIA QUESTION: Who were the first inductees into the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame? Answer at end of column.
A STRANGE THING happened to a golf buddy of mine, Matt Sloan. A few weeks ago, he had a stent inserted in his abdominal artery. It went well. He stayed in the hospital overnight and went home.
But he soon found it was difficult to walk. He couldn’t’ even stand. Like a true golf enthusiast, he started pitching and putting although he couldn’t take a full swing.
He kept working on it and the story had a happy ending. He’s back playing golf at Ascarate Park.
GOOD NEWS from UTEP. Football season ticket prices have been reduced for the 2019 season by up to $30, and tickets are now on sale: Captain’s Club, $1,300; Gold Reserved, $330; Silver Reserved, $250; Bronze Reserved, $100 (reduced from $120); and General Admission, $60. Family packs for two adults and two youths are $198.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Because it wasn’t formed until 1988 and in an effort to catch up, the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame inducted 10 people at its first banquet.
They were Andy and Syd Cohen, Bob Ingram, Jim Paul, Nemo Herrera, Leo Forti, Joe Hague, Jim Ochoa, Gonzalo “Chalo” Garcia and Alberto Mendez.