Commentary: Reminiscing baseball from the white tees at Turquoise – Sierra Vista Herald

Through social media, Bill Bottenfield, declared to me he’d like to have a go at the long par six hole at the Turquoise Valley Golf Course. In a subsequent phone conversation, we arranged for a tee time.

Bill had been a pitcher on the baseball teams I had coached at Cochise College, circa 1969 and 1970. He is presently a resident of Harrison, Arkansas. My memories were rekindled about some “Golden Years” I experienced as a player, then as a coach with the Apaches. Bottenfield was from Joplin, Missouri. He, and others from Joplin and also Springfield, Missouri, had been recommended by a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals, who had seen them in a baseball “tryout camp.” The scout, C.A. “Runt” Marr, had signed me out of the College World Series, to a bonus contract with the Cardinals’ organization.

I remembered some highlights with our Apaches. Like, our doubleheader victories against Arizona State’s freshman team in Tempe. Our wins over Mesa Community College when two pitchers from Douglas High School, Jim Foster and Rene Hoffman, beat one of legendary Coach Jim Brock’s national championship teams on the Cochise field. And, it was in Bill’s sophomore year that a new freshman, Bo Hall, first cast his large shadow onto the Cochise College baseball scene. Bo’s feats became legendary, he is in the Arizona Baseball Hall of Fame, and he is presently Dean of Student Services at Cochise College, and director of a highly successful program of athletics.

Bottenfield went on to play at the University of Missouri, for John Simmons, the baseball coach for whom I had played. During our round of golf at the Turquoise Valley course, we shared a few tales and smiles about this very famous coach.

Bill once hit three home runs in a game at Missouri. So, yes, he does hit a big drive on the golf course. We played the white tees. On our long par-6 hole, at 727 yards, he reached the green in only three strokes. He barely missed the eagle putt, but tapped in for birdie.

The experience was an uplifting one for both former coach and former player. Bill was enthusiastic in his positive assessment of the golf course, favorably comparing it to courses he has been playing since his retirement from the FedEx organization. He complimented me on my architectural efforts and also in blending the two nines.

He vowed to return, saying he is eager to take on that “formidable” par-six again.


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