Bobby Nuñez

Bobby Nuñez

Bowie High School will hold its 5th Annual Bowie Bear Day on Sept. 28.

The announcement immediately brought up memories of the school’s greatest sports accomplishment: Winning the state baseball championship in 1949.

The Bears beat Stephen F. Austin of Austin, Texas – a much bigger and richer school, which had a 39-1 record and was ranked No. 1 in the state – 3-2 in the championship game.

Ah, memories, indeed.

SIDE NOTE: Did you know that coach Nemo Herrera desperately wanted a player on that ’49 team but was turned down? It was Bobby Nuñez, who was an outstanding hitter.

Bobby’s father, Joe, had started a glass company in El Paso and he needed Bobby to help. “Family first,” Bobby decided, and he turned down Nemo.

The Bears went on to win the state title anyway.

BUT BOBBY went on to accomplish an even bigger feat 12 years later.

Jack Dautrich, an El Paso real estate owner, recruited him for his team that went to Rock Island, Illinois, and won not one but two world International Softball Congress championships in a row. That was in 1961 and 1962.

Bobby, who could play any infield and outfield position, was asked to fill in often because of his power with the bat.

Now 86, he has many fond memories to fall back on.

THE EL PASO FAST PITCH Softball Hall of Fame held its annual induction banquet on May 15.

It finally inducted the two world softball championship teams of 1961 and 1962, thanks to Hall president Pete Solis.

Other inductees this year besides the two teams are:

Robert Sanchez (no relation), a 35-year veteran of premier softball leagues in El Paso; Pedro Olivas, an outstanding pitcher in El Paso and Juárez; Espiridion Hernandez, a self-taught pitcher who went on to stardom; Chuck Veliz, a power-hitter and outstanding defensive catcher; Jaime Gurrola, an outstanding infielder; and Ernesto Flores, who enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a pitcher.

THE FOUR surviving members of the 1961 and 1962 championship teams, including Bobby Nuñez, were invited to this year’s induction banquet.

Other team members known to be still alive are Johnny Huerta, Charlie Smith and Jesse Martinez.

TRIVIA QUESTION: Which teams did El Paso beat in the finals when it won the ISC world softball championships in 1961 and 1962? Answer at end of column.

THIS WARM NOTE from the daughter of Ed Spinnler, whose death I bemoaned in a previous column: “My name is Karen Thompson, Ed Spinnler’s youngest daughter.

“I just wanted to thank you for the nice article which mentioned my dad. Your article was touching and I’m glad that you were one of my dad’s friend.

“You said he gave you a hard a time on the course and let me tell you, he gave me a hard time as well.

“That was just his way! But all of his joking around was just for fun and he loved to laugh and make people laugh.”

APOLOGIES TO Vic Kolenc of the El Paso Times. He’s the one who wrote in an El Paso Times article that “Friends and family described (Andy) Krafsur as a brilliant, caring, enthusiastic, witty person with a larger-than-life personality and a drive to succeed in all his endeavors.”

I didn’t give him credit for the quote in a previous column.

CORRECTION: The first name of Ed Stanbury, who was recently named president of the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame, is Edmund, not as it was listed in my column last week.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Tulsa, 9-0, in 1961 and Hamms Beer, 1-0, in 1962.


Veteran sports journalist, historian and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column.  Contact him at (915) 584-0626, by email at rayf358@yahoo.com or online at raysanchezbooks.com.

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