Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008 | 2:15 p.m.
The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that their Triple-A association with the Las Vegas 51s has ended, and the Dodgers' highest minor league affiliate will return to Albuquerque where the organization lived from 1972 to the 2000 season.
"We're very excited to be returning to Albuquerque," Dodger Assistant General Manager of Player Development De Jon Watson said in a released statement. "Their top-notch facility will undoubtedly help us develop future Dodgers and their fans have been following this franchise for many years."
By reuniting with the Albuquerque Isotopes (formerly the Dukes), the Dodgers replace the Florida Marlins. No major league team has yet announced an affiliation with the city's Triple-A farm team, which partnered with the Dodgers for the last eight seasons. During that time, the 51s compiled a mark of 561-586, including a 74-69 record this season.
Since moving from Albuquerque in 2000, the Isotopes have built a new stadium, Isotopes Park — one of the nicer facilities in minor league baseball, which saw a franchise record 593,606 fans come through the turnstiles in 2008.
"We are thrilled to affiliate with the Isotopes," Dodgers Chairman and Owner Frank McCourt said. "They are a first-class organization and run one of the finest facilities in Minor League Baseball. We look forward to an excellent relationship and we feel those generations of Dodger fans will be very supportive."
As an affiliate of the Dodgers, Albuquerque teams (the Dukes were previously the Double-A Albuquerque Dodgers from 1963-71) have won nearly 3,000 games, racking up an overall record of 2,898-2,618. The 29-year relationship between Albuquerque and the Dodgers organization has produced such Major League talent as Mike Piazza, Pedro Martinez, Orel Hershiser, Pedro Guerrero, Ron Cey, Bill Russell, Davey Lopes, Mike Marshall, Tom Paciorek, among other standouts.