Hall of Fame #8
I just made my return from Albuquerque, New Mexico which was the site of the 2007 Triple-A All-Star Game. It was an outstanding trip. I was the first person ever to be inducted into the Albuquerque Baseball Hall of Fame. I was the keynote speaker at the luncheon, and it was an honor to address the crowd of over 800 people. It felt like a homecoming. I managed the Albuquerque Dukes in 1972. The Dukes were the first Triple-A team to call Albuquerque home, and I had a great time. We had one of the finest teams a manager could ask for. We finished first in the league, we won the playoffs and we won the championship. We had a record of 92-52 that year.
It has been a long time since I?ve been back to Albuquerque and I am amazed by the city?s growth. The All-Star banquet was held at the new Sandia Resort, which is beautiful. Why couldn?t they have something like that when I was managing? While I was in Albuquerque if they dropped a bomb in the middle of the city they wouldn?t have caused more than $40 worth of damage. The one constant is the people; they were great to me and my team when I managed and they are still polite and courteous.
The festivities were great. They invited some of my players back with me and it is always a pleasure to see them.
Steve ?The Garv? Garvey, Tom Paciorek who I called Wimpy because he ate so many hamburgers, and the Penguin, Ron Cey. I should also mention that Wimpy won the league MVP that year. He posted one of the best years in Albuquerque Dukes history, leading the PCL with 125 runs and 27 home runs, while racking up 107 RBI. Also in attendance was the Hall of Famer Tony Perez. I hated him when he was part of the Big Red Machine, but now that we are in Cooperstown together it turns out that he is a good guy. The Garv, Wimpy and I threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.
So I would like to thank the fans I Albuquerque for their hospitality and the fans for their support. If you have a chance to visit the new ball park, tell them Tommy sent you.