I have been asked by several people how I became a sports writer.
I was lucky. I was in the right place at the right time.
I was at UTEP and I had written an essay on Jackie Robinson breaking the color line in the Major Leagues. My journalism professor, Pete Snelson, was impressed by it.
So, when the El Paso Herald-Post, an afternoon newspaper at the time, called to recommend someone for the position of an assistant for sports editor Bob Ingram, he suggested me.
Ingram had been the sole sports editor at the Herald-Post since the 1920s, so he must have been relieved to finally get an assistant.
I DRESSED with a suit, tie and coat and went to the Herald-Post for an interview. My first test was to cover the Texas Western College freshman team, coached by Ross Moore. I must have passed the test because I was hired on the spot.
My first assignment, as is true with most rookie sports writers, was to cover high school sports. It was one of the happiest times of my career.
There were only five public high schools in town and only four were competing for the district championship: El Paso High School, Austin High School, Bowie High School and Ysleta High School.
Jefferson High School was to open in the fall of 1949 but wouldn’t be eligible to play for the district title until later.
Cathedral High School was in existence then but it wasn’t eligible for district play.
AS YOU CAN imagine, the competition for the district championship was fierce. I was in my early 20s and got along great with the high school athletes personally.
Players of nearly all of the high schools threw me in the showers at one time or another, but never in anger. It would be after they won a big game or a title.
It sort of became a tradition to pick me up and dunk me. There’s a photo of me in the showers with Ysleta high school players in one of my books.
When Bob Ingram retired in 1981, I became sports editor and there were some other good times. We had an ambitious editor at the time, Harry Moskos, who came to us from Tennessee.
He called me into his office and told me he wanted me to cover national events, so I proceeded to cover Super Bowls, World Series games, PGA events – and even big tennis.
But that’s another story …
TRIVIA QUESTION: Who has hit the most homeruns in Major League history?
MARILYN CROMEANS, daughter of Ross Moore, writes:
“I read your story about Dan Wever. His daughter, Donna, was one of my students at Zach White School and worked some years for the El Paso School District. I think she lives with her family in Austin now… Anyway, she has a daughter who is an outstanding diver.”
TRIVIA ANSWER: Barry Bonds, 762
Veteran sports journalist, historian and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. His column periodically runs in El Paso Inc.’s B-Section. Contact him at (915) 584-0626, by email at email@example.com or online at raysanchezbooks.com.