History of El Paso Sports Continues to Spread

© by Ray Sanchez  10.09.16

And El Paso’s sports fame continues to spread. A display of the 1966 Texas Western twjersy College championship team is now part of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture which opened on Sept. 24. The Miners started and played only African American players in the NCAA championship game that year for the first time and beat University of Kentucky. The display incudes photos of the team, a Texas Western College jersey and a bio of the team. Participants in the opening ceremony included President Barack Obama, former President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton, Rep. John Lewis and Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s founding director.
ON ANOTHER front, the book about the Bowie High School football team which overcame adversity and discrimination but finished first in the district in 1950 and 1953, has been included in the celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, culture and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The book, titled batybook“Champion of the Barrio” and written by R. Gaines Baty, the son of then football coach Buryl Baty, wrote how his father was an early pioneer in the fight against bigotry. He added, “In 1950, Baty became head football coach at Bowie High School in El Paso and quickly inspired his athletes, all Mexican Americans from the Segundo Barrio, with his winning ways and his personal stand against the era’s deep-seated bigotry to which they were subjected.”
TRIVIA QUESTION: Jim Brown led the National Football League in rushing from 1957 to 1965 except for one year. Who broke the streak? Answer at end of column.
THIS FROM Vincent C. Kemendo of New Braunfels, Texas: “I grew up in Kern Place in the 1940s and 1950s and at that time Harry Phillips had a Texaco service station at the southwest corner of North Mesa Street and Baltimore Street near where the Don Haskins Center is now. Many residents of Kern Place. including my parents, were customers of Phillips at his service station. My father told me that Phillips had been a football star at University of Texas. Phillips was Jewish and the sports reporters referred to him as ‘The Galloping Jew from Texas U’. Have you heard of Harry Phillips and know anything concerning his football playing days?”
YES, INDEED, I’ve heard of Harry Phillips. He was such a big backer of UTEP athletics he became somewhat of a legend around El Paso. And he, indeed, played football for University of Texas as a running back. He lettered and was a starter on the team in 1927 and 1928. He was so admired in El Paso he was inducted into the El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame in 1969.
TIM HAGERTY made the El Paso Chihuahuas’ march to the Pacific Coast League championship this year even more enjoyable with his broadcasts – and his news reports. I looked forward every day to his latest written posts on the internet. He not only gave concise reports on the games with his stories but kept us up with transactions. He seemed to enjoy the season as much as anyone else. He writes: “It was a great thrill to call a championship. I have friends who have been broadcasting games for more than 25 years without ever announcing a championship-winning game. Also, for it to happen in an 11-inning suspenseful game added to the moment. Game 4 of the championship was an intense contest.” Thanks, Tim. Your fine work did not go unnoticed.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Jim Taylor of Green Bay in 1962.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Gaines Baty on October 9, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Ray, thank you for mentioning Champion of the Barrio! By the way, today, October 9, is the 62nd anniversary of Buryl Baty’s and Jerry Simmang’s untimely passing…while returning from a scouting trip. A very sad memory, but a good reason to celebrate his life and his legacy.

    Fyi, we gave $1,250 for 2 Buryl Baty Memorial Scholarships to Bowie athletes this year, and hope to do this on an annual basis.

    Best Regards,


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