The following AP report in today's baseball notes brought back many memories:
Before his Hall of Fame career as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda spent one magical season as skipper of one of the best teams in minor league history. For his role leading the 1972 Albuquerque Dukes, Lasorda has become the first inductee of the Albuquerque Baseball Hall of Fame. Lasorda's Dukes went 92-56 in 1972. They were led by a lineup that included Ron Cey, Davey Lopes, Tom Paciorek, Von Joshua, Steve Yeager, Joe Ferguson, Larry Hisle, Burt Hooton and Charlie Hough.
I was a graduate student in Albuquerque from 1970 - 73 and saw those Dukes play in a what was then a brand new stadium in which home plate faced east towards the glorious Sandia Mountains and every Wednesday (or was it Thursday?) night was ten cent beer night and other nights included Mariachi Band Night. Those were really the days!!
At the time Albuquerque had recently landed the Dodgers' AAA farm team which had previously called the Pacific northwest (Oregon??) home and the people of New Mexico were thrilled. That Dukes team was extraordinary as the names above attest. En masse they became the champion LA Dodgers of the mid to late 70's. Interestingly, the star of the team and MVP of the league that year was Joshua, who never had the career predicted for him. Hisle played initially for the Phillies before moving on to a very respectable long career with Milwaukee. The rest of the names above need no further explanations. It was truly a great team. If I recall correctly, however, they did lose the series between the Pacific Coast champions and the International League champions.
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In the same column of notes I also read former Phillie Rich Schu had been named the new hitting coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Congratulations to him but an even bigger salute goes out to our own RichSchuBlues, aka RSB, who more than his namesake has kept alive the memories. Way to go, Ricks!!