Special to the PRESS
The UTRGV Athletics Hall of Fame Committee announced last Tuesday the 2022 Athletics Hall of Fame class, which includes the 1987-90 women’s cross country team, former men’s basketball student-athlete Jim Board, former women’s tennis student-athlete Barbara (Barrera) Gonzales, and former baseball student-athlete Joe Hernandez.
The committee also announced that former baseball student-athlete Rene Torres has earned induction into the Hall of Honor.
Torres, a longtime contributor to the PRESS, known for his stories on the area’s history, is a retired assistant professor from the University of Texas at Brownsville, and Texas Southmost College. He has a long history in the Rio Grande Valley as an educator, sports historian, and humanitarian with a wealth of community service to his credit.
Torres, a Brownsville native, played university baseball as a student-Athlete between 1966-69 and was selected for the University’s Hall of Honor.
Torres attended Pan American College from 1966 to 1969 on a baseball scholarship. He set the program record for most consecutive games without an error at 46 and is currently tied for seventh overall while ranking fifth among pure outfielders. Torres made just one error in three years as the starting center fielder. He hit .700 during a 10-game hitting streak in 1969 and helped the baseball team to NCAA District Playoffs against The University of Texas in 1968 and the NAIA playoffs against Tarleton in 1966. He also played on the freshman basketball team in 1966.
Off the field, though, Torres has made a major impact on the Rio Grande Valley. Over the last 20 years, he has spread the history of RGV baseball via oral presentations and exhibits throughout this region. Some of his written work is housed at Texas State University under the Jaime Chahin Southwestern Writers Collection.
For his work as a sports historian, Torres was inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Sports Hall of Fame, the Leo Najo Baseball Hall of Fame in Mission, Texas, and the Laredo Latin American International Sports Hall of Fame. In 2006, Rene was acknowledged at the 24th Annual RGV High School All-Star Showcase game for his work in promoting Valley baseball.
Torres is a retired assistant professor from legacy institutions, The University of Texas at Brownsville, and Texas Southmost College. He further demonstrated his commitment to education by serving six years on the Texas Southmost College Board of Trustees, and eight years with the South Texas Independent School District.
In 2002, he was honored as a Notable Valley Hispanic by The University of Texas-Pan American Friends of the Library. Rene received national attention when in 2008, the Brownsville Herald selected him as Brownsville’s recipient of the Jefferson Award for Public Service.
“It is a great privilege to join such a list of prestigious Hall of Honor inductees,” Torres said. “I have always dreamt of reaching this point, but I never envisioned that this would become a reality.”
The Athletics Hall of Fame and Hall of Honor induction luncheon is expected to take place in the UTRGV Ballroom on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022 at 11 a.m.