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Thursday, July 24, 2014
Margarito Banales

Margarito “Maggie” Bañales

Margarito “Maggie” Bañales started umpiring in 1968. After playing four years of high school baseball, at third base and shortstop, Maggie was able to adjust to umpire mechanics fairly fast, such that during first year, he umpired his first high school game. During the 1970 season, Maggie was introduced to fast pitch softball, a game he really enjoyed because it was faster and more challenging than baseball. Up to 1983, Maggie umpired, in 1-5A & 2-4A baseball district championships, also, area and Quarter finals in the state of Texas. While umpiring successfully in baseball, he was also making his mark in softball. Maggie umpired in the three main softball leagues in El Paso: Church, Industrial and Major Leagues. In no time, Maggie was umpiring in the major tournaments in El Paso and Las Cruces, New Mexico. In those times, there were the Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day and Fiesta de la Flores Tournaments. Maggie was also invited to call some Roadrunner Tournaments in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was also invited to the Pioneer Days in Salt Lake City, Utah. During the last eight years, Maggie has also umpired both college men’s baseball and women’s softball for the University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso Community College and New Mexico State University.

Armando “Sam” Sambrano, ISC Hall of fame umpire, umpired for 13 years until his retirement. This left a spot open for a southwest umpire representative until our past umpire-in-chief, treasurer and ISC Hall of Fame member, Frank Porth called Maggie one evening and invited him to umpire in the 1983 ISC World Tournament in Bakersfield, California. An invitation that Maggie considered the greatest event and honor that he would participate in the World Tournament of softball. The rest is history, since then, Maggie has been invited year after year and had done and outstanding job.

His assertiveness and fairness has earned him the respect of coaches, players, ISC administrators and softball fans everywhere he has umpired.

Maggie has umpired in the ISC tournaments from Bakersfield, California, in the west to Allen Town, PA. in the east; and in between from Victoria, British Columbia Canada to Prince Edwards Isles, Canada. He has enjoyed all of the tournaments sites but he feels very, very comfortable and at home in Kimberly, Wisconsin.

Maggie, also found time for being a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, from which he retired with an honorable discharge after proudly serving for 29 years, as Master Sergeant.

Being a high school math teacher, every year, he uses some of his sick leave and personal days in order for him to umpire in this great softball tournaments. Maggie has been blessed by marrying Eva, his high school sweetheart. They had five children, Margarito III, Monica, Sandra, Matthew and Saraluz. These children were dragged along to the different softball field as they were growing up while Maggie umpired eight nights a week to make ends meet.

Years Umpired – as of 2004 he has umpired fast pitch softball -34 years
ISC Word Tournament as of 2004 – 21 years
ISC Fourth of July (El Paso) 1974 – 1991 – 17 years
ISC Area Tournaments – NM/W. TX 1984 – 2004 – 21 years.
El Paso Softball Hall of Fame – Inducted in 1989
El Paso Athletic Hall of Fame – Inducted in 2000

A tidbit about Maggie: When he showed up to the 1983 world tournament, he would beat the catchers in chasing the foul balls that hit the backstop. After a while the catchers would let Maggie get the foul balls and throw them back to the pitcher. This stopped years later when the other umpires asked him to stop because he was ‘showing them up’ with his hustle.

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