Diamond in the Rough
Keeping baseball pure at Kokernot Field, out in far West Texas.
Herbert Lee Kokernot Jr. loved two things: cattle and baseball. So in 1947, right outside his O6 Ranch, in Alpine, he built a stadium for people who adored the game as much as he did. Kokernot Field still stands today, and Kokernot’s great-granddaughter, Kristin Cavness, serves as the general manager of the Alpine Cowboys.
The stadium has seen some famous players step up to home plate over the years: early greats like Satchel Paige, Norm Cash, and Gaylord Perry all kicked up the red clay in the infield. But Kokernot’s significance doesn’t come from pennants and pinstripes per se. The field is a reminder of how things used to be, back before a top GM needed an MBA and baseball turned big business. Here, players get paid in satisfaction every time they slip on their mitt, and fans give their enthusiasm, not a big chunk of their paychecks, when they step through the gate. It’s baseball, pure and simple, in the farthest reaches of Texas.
Bob Phillips, who can catch an errant foul ball with the best of them, has been the host of Texas Country Reporter since 1973.