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A three-part series on the Voice of the Texas Rangers
By Judy Johnson/Special Contributor—
CHILDRESS – “Take me out to the ballgame, take me out with the crowd; buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don’t care if I never get back…”
Composed in 1908 by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, it’s the familiar anthem of baseball season in this sports loving country. That song has expressed America’s love affair with baseball for part of two countries.
Because of the COVID-19 virus, children and grandchildren have missed out on tons of spring and summer activities that normally comprise the fabric of our lives. Let’s take a trip down baseball’s memory lane.
Childress produced its own baseball legend, W.E. Risenhoover, Jr. Better known as Dick Risenhoover in Childress or “Rise” as he rose in prominence in baseball and broadcasting from Childress to Amarillo to the Metroplex.
He was born Feb. 15, 1927, in Community Center, northeast of Childress near the salty banks of Red River. Risenhoover graduated from Childress High School in 1945. His parents were William E. and Hazel Edith Risenhoover.
The smart, handsome country kid received his diploma from Childress High School, went straight to the Army upon graduation, served 18 months and then graduated from the University of Texas in 1950.
Risenhoover was a member of the UT team that won the NCAA College Baseball World Series against Arizona State in 1950. He scored the winning run in that game after he fell between third base and home plate and crawled to the plate for the score.
He came home in 1950 to teach and coach at Childress Junior High, teaching health, science and physical education. Risenhoover coached baseball and basketball. Early on, he was promoted to Childress High School basketball head coach. He led the Bobcat basketball teams for six years and brought home six district titles.
A genuine advocate for the youth of Childress, he kept the community informed about his athletes’ activities. He would carry a tape recorder to the basketball games and would record the action on the court, which would then be broadcast locally the next day on KCTX radio.
He also took time to prepare a daily sports column – football, basketball and baseball – for the late Morris Higley, whose Childress Index was published six days a week. Although Risenhoover’s public loved the radio and newspaper stories, no one has a clue that his years in Childress were but an inkling of his future storied broadcasting.