The last of the great Albuquerque Dukes teams

Dukes logoThe arrival of the 2014 baseball season means 20 years have passed since the old Albuquerque Dukes won the last of their eight Pacific Coast League championships. The franchise joined the Triple A PCL in 1972 with a dominant team managed by Tommy Lasorda and featuring future big leaguers like Ron Cey, Davey Lopes, Burt Hooton, Charlie Hough, Larry Hisle, and more. The Dodgers’ minor league system was well-stocked during the years the O’Malley family owned the Dodgers, and Albuqerque, often the final stop for players on their way to the majors, reaped the benefits time and time again. Continue reading

Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013: Controversy on the Horizon

Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens: seven Cy Young Awards and an MVP trophy

With the retirement today of Tony LaRussa, there’s lots of talk about the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2014, which could (should?) include managers Tony LaRussa, Joe Torre, and Bobby Cox along with first-time eligible players Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas. Thanks to some interesting rules for managers, LaRussa, Torre, and Cox will all be eligible for the first time in 2014, alongside two 300-game winners and a 500 home run club member (not that 500 homers necessarily means Hall of Fame anymore). It certainly would be great to see Atlanta Braves stalwarts Maddux, Glavine and Cox enter the Hall together, and Torre’s body of work (both as a player and manager) deserves first-ballot induction beyond question. LaRussa’s 33 years of success as a manager are equally deserving. Continue reading