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Fernando Grado with some items from his baseball collection at the El Paso Museum of History. 

I once wrote that Fernando Grado’s collection of baseball paraphernalia is like having a dream starting in the 1800s.

Now you can experience such a dream at the El Paso Museum of History with the exhibit, “Bases Loaded: El Paso and Beyond.”

You’ll find such items as:

A stool and gadget where baseballs were stitched in the 1800s

Gloves and bats and catchers’ masks and chest protectors going back to the early 1800s

Baseballs going back as far as 1840, including one signed by Babe Ruth and the other signed by Lou Gehrig

Jerseys and shoes before spikes were used and shoes with spikes that players actually wore from the time spikes started to be used

First edition books written by some of the greatest baseball authors, including a first edition biography of Lou Gehrig

Photos of just about every star ever to wear a uniform, most of them autographed

THE MUSEUM brochure states: “The exhibit also highlights baseball’s intersections with race, like the sport’s role in Mexico and key events in breaking the color barrier. As you move through the installation, explore how different groups across the United States have shaped baseball’s beginnings, rise and continued popularity.”

GRADO, NEEDLESS to say, is a former baseball player who started collecting baseball paraphernalia more than 40 years ago. His packaging company enabled him to travel throughout the country. Some items he picked up for peanuts, others he paid for dearly.

TRIVIA QUESTION: In a recent column, I pointed out that UTEP had won only two conference titles in all its history – in 1956 and 2000. Who were the coaches and quarterbacks in those two years? Answer at end of column.

A NEW HALL of Fame has been created by the Volleyball Officials’ Association. The first class was inducted at El Paso Community College on July 20.  First inductees were coaches Flo Valdez, Merle Heimer and Jesse Lujan and officials Jim Crouch and Bob Geske.

TRIVIA ANSWER: 1956 – Coach Mike Brumbelow, quarterback Bob Laraba (Border Conference); 2000 – Coach Gary Nord, quarterback – Rocky Perez (Western Athletic Conference).

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