welcome back dodgers

by

Did I ever tell you about the baseball franchise that preceded the Albuquerque Isotopes? Actually, there were a number of teams that called Albuquerque home over the past 120 years, but arguably no team was more popular than the Albuquerque Dukes.

The Dukes were the Los Angeles Dodgers Triple-A affiliate from 1972 thru 2000. Prior to that, the Double-A Albuquerque Dodgers provided the citizens of this dusty burg with many evenings and DAYS of exciting professional baseball games. Add them all together and you discover that the Dodgers have groomed young ballplayers for the majors in the Duke City for a period of 29 years. During that period, the Albuquerque teams compiled a winning record of 2,898 wins and 2,618 losses.

All of that is about to change…

Representatives from the Dodgers front office were on hand at Isotopes Park Monday afternoon for a press conference with the Isotopes to officially announce that the old partnership had been renewed. It wasn’t really “news” given that the signing of a two-year player development contract between the two clubs had been announced at the end of last week.

Isotopes general manager John Traub assured the crowd that neither the Isotopes name nor their colors would be changing as a result of the affiliation. Hushed groans of disappointment could be heard from grey-haired season ticket holders while members of the press remained quiet.

The press conference was highlighted by an official exchange of jerseys and ball caps. Okay, they also served lunch, but I found the jersey exchange to be more interesting.

I didn’t live in Albuquerque when the Dukes played here, so I don’t share that connection to the past. Aside from my ongoing historic research of Albuquerque baseball, my only real connection to the Dukes were the few times when I tuned into game broadcasts on the am radio in my car as I made my way across the high New Mexican desert while driving between Phoenix and Illinois for one reason or another (or none whatsoever).

While I did enjoy seeing and getting to know many of the players connected with the Florida Marlins organization over the past six seasons, and will continue to follow their careers in baseball into the future, I would not classify myself as a Marlins “fan.” In other words, I can’t claim that I will be losing any sleep over the deal.

Personally, the biggest change will be seeing a complete change of coaches and players next April, causing me to radically modify what baseball cards I target in trading and purchasing over the next six months in order to be prepared for obtaining autographs during the 2009 season. My collection is noticeably short in Dodgers items since their old farm club, the Las Vegas 51s, only visited Albuquerque for a quick four-game series every other year.

Just something for you to keep in mind as you are pulling together your trade proposals this coming winter…

– Kris

By the way, I assure you that there is a “connection” between “Welcome Back Kotter” and the Dodgers- just so you don’t go thinking that I am completely random with my graphic. Bonus points will be awarded to anyone who bothers to comment on the nature of that connection – extra free time for those of you who simply move on to the next blog post in your RSS reader…

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4 Responses to “welcome back dodgers”

  1. volleygod67 Says:

    well let’s see… both originated in Brooklyn, but that would be too easy.

    How about Freddie Washington wearing a Dodgers jacket and playing baseball everywhere he went on the show?
    Tommy Lasorda teaching the sweathogs in history class?

    There was lots of Dodger connections….

  2. albuqwirke Says:

    Although Lasorda has made numerous guest appearances on a number television hits such as CHiPs, Fantasy Island and Hee Haw (not to mention countless Slim Fast commercials), I do not believe he was ever credited as a guest star on Welcome Back Kotter.

    Until you can confirm what episodes he appeared in, I’m afraid that must be discounted as faulty internet information.

    That said…. you are VERY close! Closer, in fact, than a rubber hose!

  3. volleygod67 Says:

    took me awhile… but check out this link, scroll down to the bottom of the page.
    http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:o5U5ny_ZE5EJ:www.changingthetimes.net/samples/misc/if_the_dodgers2.htm+dodgers,+welcome+back+kotter&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=19&gl=ca

  4. albuqwirke Says:

    Interesting stuff to be sure.

    The connection I had in mind is the rumors swirling about that a “Welcome Back Kotter” movie is in the works… and this time the Sweathogs have moved to Los Angeles. How’s that for art imitating life?

    Once again, there appears to be no joy in Brooklyn.

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