Prior to political life, Domenici gave baseball a try | KOB 4

Prior to political life, Domenici gave baseball a try Web Staff
September 13, 2017 10:14 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- While Sen. Pete Domenici led an impressive life in politics, his career began with baseball.


Domenici was born in Albuquerque in 1932, the son of Italian immigrants. He went on to attend the University of New Mexico, where he pitched for the baseball team.

After graduating in 1954, he signed a minor league deal with the Albuquerque Dukes. That career didn't take off, but former Gov. Bill Richardson remembers Domenici as an excellent ball player who carried his competitive spirit into everything he did.

"Domenici was the best. Today he is a better hitter, pitcher, legislator, senator than anybody in existence -- not just for New Mexico, but for the country," Richardson said.

Domenici went on to teach math in Albuquerque Public Schools before getting his law degree from Denver University. He opened an Albuquerque law office in 1958, the same year he married his wife Nancy.

His political career began when his friends convinced him to run for the Albuquerque City Commission in 1966. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1970 and then won the 1972 U.S. Senate election.

During his years in the Senate, Domenici's assignments included chairing the budget and energy committees. Stepping down after his sixth term, Domenici said his work on nuclear power, a 2005 energy bill, mental health legislation, and the budget process were among his best memories.

"For the past 35 years my friends and neighbors throughout New Mexico have given me the honor of allowing me to serve them as their United States senator," he said at the time. "Who can ask for anything more?"

After leaving the senate in 2009, Domenici joined the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C. Two years later, Domenici announced he may have been misdiagnosed with the brain disease that prompted him to leave office.

"What I concluded was that I would just go about my normal business and not do anything to make it worse," he said.

Less than a year ago, Domenici took on a new role as adviser to State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn.

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