The last time there was no professional baseball in April in America was 1883. For the city of Alpine, it has also been nearly that long since an organized game wasn’t played at this time of year.
By the early 1900s, Alpine and Marfa had rival teams that drew crowds whenever they squared off. Games against Fort Davis, Pecos, Sanderson, and others were also on the schedule for the earliest form of the Alpine baseball team. Over the years the Alpine Blues, Alpine Vaqueros, and others came and went.
The teams were all segregated back then. The great Alpine Cowboys semipro teams of the 40s and 50s never came close to integrating, but they were rivals with the Mexican-American Alpine Internationals.
The Internationals began playing in the 1930s, often occupying Ramos Field on the south side of town. The rivalry with the Cowboys peaked in 1956 when the two teams faced off in a Texas Semipro Semifinal matchup.
When Hebert L. Kokernot, Jr., acquired the Alpine Cats in 1946, he transformed their old wooden ballpark in to the grand concrete and stone home of the Alpine Cowboys. When it opened in 1947, it was the most modern semipro ballpark in America.
Each April from 1949-1957, Alpine's population would double or triple in size when two major league teams squared off in an exhibition game at Kokernot Field. When the Saint Louis Browns and Chicago Cubs arrived in 1949, over 6,000 fans attended the largest gathering in West Texas history at that time. About two-thirds of the crowd were from out of town, and overwhelmed the local hotels and restaurants.
The following April, the Chicago White Sox and the Browns finished tied 5-5 after eight and one-half innings. The game was called early because both teams had a train to catch. In 1951 Satchel Paige made his first of two appearances at Kokernot Field, pitching for Saint Louis.
On April 27, 1959 the Big Bend-Davis Mountain Cowboys played their first game ever in the Sophomore League as a minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. They defeated the San Angelo Pirates 18-1 that day, but the team was disbanded following the 1961 season.