An independent league baseball team called the Alpine Cowboys will be at the heart of a new nonprofit community baseball organization if organizers are successful in their efforts.

The name is a throwback — a baseball team called the Alpine Cowboys played here from 1946-1961.

Plans for the team and the nonprofit organization that will revolve around it were announced at a public meeting held Monday night at the Saddle Club in downtown Alpine. A large crowd turned out to hear Chamber President J.R. Smith outline the plan for keeping pro baseball alive in Alpine.

“For professional baseball to proceed next year, we need to generate a team that can participate in the Pecos League,” Smith said. “The Pecos League is our only option. To do that, we’d like to form a new team.”

Smith was also general manager of the Big Bend Cowboys, whose league, the Continental Baseball League, folded near the end of last season.

The Pecos League is a start-up independent baseball league that has accepted teams from El Paso, Las Cruces, Roswell and White Sands. The Alpine team is also listed on the league’s website as having been accepted as a member.

Alpine Cowboys organizers are using the Memphis Redbirds, a Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, as their guide. The Redbirds are the centerpiece of a nonprofit foundation aimed at providing and improving youth baseball opportunities in their community.

Forming a foundation here isn’t an option yet, Smith said, because a nonprofit must operate for 10 years before seeking foundation status. But the focus of the Alpine Cowboys would be similar to that of the Redbirds — working to improve youth sports in the area.

That could take the form of skills clinics and funding for improving area youth sports facilities. Where the latter is concerned, Smith mentioned three specific areas of need:

  • A softball field for the Alpine Lady Bucks
  • Practice facilities for the Lady Bucks and the Bucks baseball team
  • A four-field tournament facility that could be used by teams throughout the area

Local attorney Eve Trook took the floor after Smith and spent a good deal of time describing the process of forming a nonprofit. One key point she made was that to be granted nonprofit status, the team must be presented as more than just a baseball team — it must be seen as part of an overarching nonprofit effort to do good things in the community.

To that end, a committee has been formed to create a vision, or mission statement, for the new organization.

Organizers hope to file paperwork seeking nonprofit status within the next few days. They hope to have corporate presentation packages, seeking financial support, ready in time for area businesses’ fall budget meetings.

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