What was the highlight of my sports writing career? That’s easy.
I was a sportswriter at the El Paso Herald-Post. One day, Harry Moskos, who was editor of the newspaper, called me into the office and told me my column was the most read item in the newspaper next to “Dear Abbey” and he was appointing me sports editor.
Moskos said I was to cover the Dallas Cowboys at home and wherever they went – and all major events in the country. I was stunned. Suddenly, I was in the big time of sports.
I started out covering Lee Trevino, who was working at Horizon Golf Course, so he was nearby. Lee won 29 tournaments overall, including six Majors.
My favorite interview was Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry. He coached the Dallas Cowboys for 29 years and had 20 consecutive winning seasons, is considered the most impressive professional accomplishment.
My next favorite interview was Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. He was a bit controversial, but he was easy to interview.
The top five Dallas Cowboys of time were Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Tony Romo, Danny White and Don Meredith. I didn’t get to interview Staubach or Meredith. They were before my time, but I got to interview all the rest of the Dallas quarterbacks.
I found all NFL players were easy to interview. One exception was John Madden, head coach of the Oakland Raiders and eventually a broadcaster. He blew me off with the comment, “Why don’t you go interview the players?” That left a sour note in my mouth.
I also covered all major sports, like the Rose Bowl, Major League Baseball, PGA Tournaments, NBA finals, the USA Open Tournament, etc.
The obvious choice as the all-time quarterback is Tom Brady. But I consider Joe Montana as the best ever. He not only won a national championship at Notre Dame, but also won four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers.
He also holds Super Bowl career records for most passes without an interception (122 in four games) and the highest passing rate of 127.8 in 1993.
My son Victor was a big fan of Larry Bird, who was in his prime in the 1970s and 1980s. So I took him to cover one of the NBA games, I was able to get him into the dressing room after the game and he got Bird’s autograph.
Bird went on to excel as player, coach and executive in the NBA.
The El Paso Times hired me to write a regular sports column, thanks to sports editor Ray Hagar. So I was there when the Dallas Cowboys won three Super Bowls the 1990s. I still had a NFL press pass.
But I came to my senses. Covering all major sports was too much for me. I missed my wife, Helen, and my four children, Anita, Victor, Daniel and David. So eventually I gave up the job, shut down my computer and became a spectator.
I was lucky to be hired by El Paso Inc. as a regular contributor, and I’ve been writing a sports column ever since.
But I can’t thank Moskos for giving me the chance to cover big-time events that are not only part of my career’s portfolio but part of my life’s memories.
Veteran sports journalist, historian and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column, which periodically runs in the B-Section. Contact him at 915- 584-0626; email@example.com or online at raysanchezbooks.com.