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El Paso, TX (KDBC) — The El Paso Diablos baseball team is long gone, which is also what the team's former owner, Jim Paul assumed about a special piece of memorabilia.
A large wall frame made almost exclusively of leather, with the exception of the Diablos name in metal. It was commissioned by Jim's sister more than 20 years ago, who then gifted it to him for his birthday.
A work of art, and a part of the Diablos legacy, Paul mounted it on the wall above his desk at Cohen Stadium.
"It kind of stood for what we had done all those years, those 24 years bringing Diablos baseball to El Paso," Jim said.
Jim Paul owned the El Paso Diablos from 1974 to 1999. He then sold the club, but left the artwork behind for future Diablos teams. After several different owners, he lost track of it.
"They had a garage sale and they sold off all the memorabilia we had there and this went with it," he said of the gift he thought he'd lost forever.
Then 16 years later, it reappeared. Jim was buying some boxes for a move and saw it hanging on the wall of Fernie Grado's office. Grado also serves as the President of the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame.
"I walk over and I said, 'Wow, what's this doing here?' And that's when he said, 'Well, I bought it.' And I said, 'You can't buy something I was given, that's mine!'"
Grado explained he bought it a Diablos garage sale for $22.
"And when I left with my boxes, I could've eaten a couple of them, I was so mad!" said Jim.
Five years later Jim received a phone call from Fernie offering to return it to him.
"He says, 'I'm going to give it to you because I know how much it means to you,'" said Jim.
Grado said he knew returning it was the right thing to do.
"I said I'd like to give it back to you. You deserve it, it's yours," he said.
Jim said his first call was to his sister to let her know he had her special gift back, and said he already knows what he's going to do with it.
"Today's my wife's birthday, so other than the flowers I may give her that!"
Jim Paul said he is still trying to track down the person who purchased a large clock that once hung at Dudley Field, the original home of the El Paso Sun Kings, which of course later became the El Paso Diablos.
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