It has been a while since I last had the time to write about our successes. I hope to do a little catching up over the next few weeks. We received some great responses. Here is one of our most recent ones.
He never made it to the big leagues and he only lasted in the minors for three seasons. Double-A is where his baseball career started and ended, but his baseball memories are major league caliber. Don Smelser wasn’t even a player; he was a trainer for the El Paso Diablos of the Texas League. We recently purchased several sets of 1970s and 1980s minor league sets….one being the 1980 TCMA El Paso Diablos set. For some reason, this set really caught our eye. We wanted to know what these guys were doing now. We recently caught up with Don Smelser who was kind enough to share some of his baseball memories. For the sake of time….I have a 7 month old (our third) who is waiting for Daddy…I will post the full text for now.
Dear Kyle and Tyler
Sorry it took me a while to respond, but I wanted to make sure I had time to sit down and respond to your questions in writing.
Thank you for your offer to buy me a card, but I received a complete set at the time the cards were produced. I have had some recent contact with a few of the players thanks to Facebook and LinkedIn. It was a great experience to be a part of this organization.
Most of my memories are centered around the players and their unique personalities and baseball skills. Winning the Texas League Championship in 1978 was probably the most exciting moment. We finished the season on a 12 game winning streak and needed to win each game to survive. During that streak, the San Diego Chicken made his debut to minor league baseball and it propelled him to a career of performing around the world. It was great because he allowed us to develop some of his antics and try them out to see if they would excite the crowd. It did – and we became good friends as a result.
During the 1980 season, Tom Brunansky had a game in Midland where he hit 4 homeruns in 5 innings and he was 2 feet short in hitting the 5th HR in the 7th. He was probably the most talented player we had in my 3 years in El Paso.
There are so many great stories and great people. Warren Spahn was our roving pitching instructor. We spent a lot of time together in Spring Training and when we were on the road. It seems that he adopted me as a golf partner and was always able to get us on some of the best gold courses because of his name.
I hope you guys continue to enjoy your collection and I am glad to offer a small contribution to your endeavor. Let me know if I can assist you in the future.
– Don Smelser
Following baseball, Mr. Smelser went on to a career in education. His is currently an elementary school principal.
Thanks for your time Mr. Smelser!
Full text of our correspondence. Click to enlarge.