When you first pick up the book Baseball in Albuquerque – Images of Baseball by Gary Herron, you first and foremost have to love baseball and its historical aspects.
You will find as I did being a long-term resident of New Mexico and one who has loved the game for many years, it really got me thinking. I have to pick up this book.
I will note that I do know the author and I’m not talking about it for his benefit or mine.
Herron, dove into research of this book with findings dating back to at least 1891. The one particular thing that I like about this book is that it takes you step-by-step through Albuquerque baseball history, making it an easy read for any baseball fan who appreciates its’ history.
I will be the first to admit that the book gives you a Ken Burn’s baseball documentary feel, however; it does attract the attention.
When I personally found out that Herron had written the book about Albuquerque baseball history; my curiosity spiked. I had been meaning to talk to Herron about picking up a copy of the book from him, but with busy schedules; that didn’t happen.
One day I found myself in a local bookstore (It doesn’t deserve publicity, so I’m not going to name it) and I was with my wife; who I had told about the book and she said pick it up.
Upon returning home that evening, I do something I don’t normally do; read a book cover-to-cover in one sitting. Herron’s book was the first I had done that for in about 15 years.
For me, it brought back a lot of great memories of times gone by when I actually worked for the team doing vending. I remembered being told to clock out and I walked up the ramp toward the field.
You could smell the freshly cut grass and the stadium lights focused on the attention of the ball game. It also made me remember as a cub reporter, doing a story about the baseball strike in 1994; even though they had minor league baseball was still going on. It made me think of meeting a man who I had listened to do Dukes games for years, Mike Roberts, long time voice of the team and the University of New Mexico Lobos.
Getting to see everything from the reporter’s angle made me want to make the jump into sports reporting, mainly on baseball as I consider it a passion.
The book takes you through literally every part of Albuquerque baseball history, up until the Dukes left in 2000 to become the Portland Beavers. After that until the reconstruction of the stadium, what was the Albuquerque Sports Stadium fell silent for two years without baseball.
Herron touches on the fact that baseball came back to the Duke City in 2003 when the team becomes the Albuquerque Isotopes. A local businessman bought the rights to the Albuquerque Dukes Logo, which sources tell me is a cardinal sin in baseball and the family that operated the team should get first crack at it. I don’t know the validity to the fact, but I would consider it common curiosity.
The author continues to talk about the affiliations with the Marlins, until 2008; when the Isotopes become affiliated with the Dodgers again after an eight year absence from the Duke City.
Overall, when you look at this book from a baseball history prospective, it’s well done. However, I see one thing missing. Interviews with family members who helped run the Albuquerque Dukes during their run from 1972-2000.
If you like baseball and its history as well as have any connection to Albuquerque, this is a book worth the pick-up.
Herron told me in an E-mail that the book was a labor of love and a second book is being discussed.