Ray Sanchez is a name synonymous with El Paso sports.
He started writing for the El Paso Herald Post 70 years ago, and over the last eight decades has been there to cover every major sporting event that our city has hosted.
Sanchez was in the Dudley Field dugout in November 1955 to pose for a picture with a 24-year-old Willie Mays during a postseason exhibition baseball game between Negro League Major Leaguers and an El Paso All-Star team.
Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks and Don Newcome were also playing with Mays that afternoon at Dudley Field.
A little more than four years earlier, Sanchez was there to watch Joe DiMaggio in his last season with the Yankees along with a young rookie who hit a towering home run out of Dudley Field. His name was Mickey Mantle. In the 1940s, 50s and 60s, El Paso was lucky enough to host Major League Baseball exhibition games and Ray was there to witness all of them.
He also remembers a young Don Haskins arriving in El Paso in the late summer of 1961. Less than five years later, his Miners won the NCAA National Championship in college basketball.
Sanchez’s book, “Basketball’s Biggest Upset,” chronicled that 1966 team. Sanchez convinced Haskins to meet with a Hollywood screenwriter to discuss a movie project, which later became the 2006 Disney film “Glory Road”.
Sanchez also spent nearly a decade covering Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980s and early 90s. He developed close relationships with Landry and many of the great Cowboys players during that era.
Sanchez covered every game at home and on the road, and he would even fly with the team charter on occasion to certain road games. He also covered every Super Bowl that was played during his time as a beat writer for the Cowboys.
If you ask Sanchez about the Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl, he will tell you that he was there for almost all of them.
As a kid, he would watch the games at Kidd Field, and later cover them all when he joined the Herald Post. I doubt there is anyone in El Paso who has witnessed more Sun Bowl games.
That is why I was thrilled when the Sun Bowl Association announced that he would be this year’s Legend of the Sun Bowl.
At 92, Sanchez continues to write a weekly sports column for El Paso Inc. – just like he has since joining the team nearly 30 years ago.
His career in sports journalism is unparalleled, and this honor is a fitting for an individual that has meant so much to El Paso sports.
You have always been an El Paso legend.