Albuquerque Isotopes

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Albuquerque Isotopes
Founded in 2003
Albuquerque, New Mexico
AlbuquerqueIsotopes.png AlbuquerqueIsotopesCap.png
Team logo Cap insignia
Current Triple-A (2003–present)
Minor league affiliations
League Pacific Coast League
Conference Pacific Conference
Division Southern Division
Major league affiliations
Current Colorado Rockies (2015–present)
Previous Los Angeles Dodgers (2009–2014)
Florida Marlins (2003–2008)
Minor league titles
Division titles (3)
  • 2003
  • 2009
  • 2012
Team data
Nickname Albuquerque Isotopes (2003–present)
Previous names
Calgary Cannons (1985–2002)
Salt Lake City Gulls (1971–1984)
Colors Black, red, white
Mascot Orbit
Ballpark Isotopes Park (2003–present)
Albuquerque Baseball Club, LLC
Manager Glenallen Hill
General Manager John Traub
Albuquerque is located in the US
Location in the United States
Albuquerque is located in New Mexico
Location in New Mexico

The Albuquerque Isotopes are a minor league baseball team in the southwest United States, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the Pacific Coast League, the team is the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies in the National League. The team was affiliated with the Florida Marlins from 2003 to 2008 and the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2009 to 2014.

Albuquerque was previously represented in the PCL as a Dodgers' affiliate by the Albuquerque Dukes, who won several PCL championships in the 1970s and 1980s before relocating to Oregon as the Portland Beavers in 2001. The Isotopes began play in 2003 when the Calgary Cannons relocated from Alberta to New Mexico. In 2016, Forbes listed the Isotopes as the 14th-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of $34 million.[1]

The Isotopes' mascot is Orbit, a yellow, orange, and red alien. Home games are played at Isotopes Park; the elevation of the playing field exceeds 5,100 feet (1,555 m) above sea level.

Name origins[edit]

The team's name recalls the fictional Springfield Isotopes from the long-running TV series The Simpsons. In the episode "Hungry, Hungry Homer", which first aired on March 4, 2001, main character Homer Simpson attempts to thwart the team's plan to move to Albuquerque by going on a hunger strike. Subsequently, when the Albuquerque Tribune asked its online readers to help choose a new name for the Cannons, "Isotopes" received 67% of the 120,000 votes cast.[2]

Though team president Ken Young admitted that the name came from the series,[3] he said at the name's unveiling, "We picked it because over the past year it has become a popular name, and it does have something to do with Albuquerque."[4] The "Isotopes" name was deemed appropriate, since New Mexico has a number of well-known scientific and military facilities dealing with nuclear technology, such as Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP), as well as the site of the Trinity test. In addition, uranium mining was a significant industry in the state during the Cold War.

In the three months after the team's name was announced in September 2002, before the team ever took the field, the team sold more merchandise than the Albuquerque Dukes sold in any single season,[5] and led minor league baseball in merchandising revenue in 2003.[6] The team said they were able to tell when episodes featuring the Springfield Isotopes would air in different markets based on clusters of orders from different viewing areas.[5] The team has no working agreements with the Fox Broadcasting Company or The Simpsons.[7] However, statues of Homer, Bart, Lisa, and Marge Simpson are located at Isotopes Park.[8]


Albuquerque Isotopes roster
Players Coaches/Other







  • -- Tim Doherty (hitting)
  • -- Brandon Emanuel (pitching)

Injury icon 2.svg 7-day disabled list
* On Colorado Rockies 40-man roster
# Rehab assignment
∞ Reserve list
‡ Restricted list
§ Suspended list
† Temporary inactive list
Roster updated January 29, 2018
More MiLB rosters
Colorado Rockies minor league players

Team History (2001-Present)[edit]

In the first month of 2001, a group of businessmen spearheaded by a businessman named Ken Young and an entrepreneur named Mike Koldyke entered into an agreement with the current owners of the Calgary Cannons with the sole intention of bringing the team to Albuquerque for the 2003 season. Albuquerque, at the time, had been without a baseball team since March 2000 as the prior team, the Albuquerque Dukes, had been moved to Portland, Oregon, following the sale of the franchise to Marshall Glickman and Mike Higgins. After the two sides agreed to the sale of the Calgary Cannons, Ken Young and Mike Koldyke gave the city of Albuquerque a major condition before making the move to Albuquerque. The city of Albuquerque would have to either build a new stadium or renovate the pre-existing Albuquerque Sports Stadium. A few months later, in May 2001, the city of Albuquerque approved a vote to allocate $25 million towards the renovation of Albuquerque Sports Stadium, thus completing all contingencies required for the move of the Calgary Cannons. Ken Young and Mike Koldyke then finalized the purchase of the Calgary Cannons and, prior to the 2003 season, completed the move to Albuquerque as well as changing the team name from the Cannons to the Isotopes.

As it turned out, the renovation of Albuquerque Sports Stadium turned into a construction of a completely new facility, Isotopes Park. While Isotopes Park retained its predecessor's general structure and dimensions, all that remained of the old stadium was the playing field.

The team immediately saw a tremendous amount of success and popularity come their way in the following baseball seasons. Following the move to Albuquerque, the Isotopes played their first official game in Albuquerque on April 11, 2003; 3 years after the Dukes left for Portland. At Isotopes Park, the baseball team was greeted by over 12,000 fans in their opening day game. In the Isotopes' opening season, the baseball team saw over 575,000 fans enter their stadium to watch their newly acquired team perform. During the 2003 season, Albuquerque saw immediate success as their new team won the 2003 Central Division Title and in addition to that, entered the 2003 Pacific Coast League Playoffs.

In 2008, the Albuquerque Isotopes achieved a new feat when they reached a new franchise record in attendance with over 590,000 fans. [9]

In July 2009, Albuquerque received an unusual amount of nationwide attention following the arrival of Manny Ramirez. The outfielder at the time was under intense scrutiny for a suspension he received after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, more commonly known as PEDs, and was slated to play a total of three games with the Albuquerque Isotopes before returning to the major league. The Albuquerque Isotopes ran multiple promotions for the arrival of Manny Ramirez including advertisements, wigs baring an extreme similarity to the hair of Manny Ramirez, etc. which ultimately led to a then-attendance record with over 15,000 fans attending the outfielder's opening game with the Isotopes. In addition to this, there was a large amount of harsh criticism towards the team from numerous sports media outlets including ESPN and sports commentators such as Bob Costas.[10]

Notable broadcasters[edit]


  • In 2014, Joc Pederson, after leading the league in OBP (.435), runs (106), home runs (33), walks (100), and OPS (1.017),[12] and setting Isotopes single-season records for walks and runs scored,[13] was voted the 2014 PCL Most Valuable Player, named to the post-season All-PCL team, and named the PCL Rookie of the Year, which is awarded to a player in his first year at the Triple-A level.[14][15][16] He was also selected to Baseball America's 2014 Minor League All-Star team.[17]

Cultural references[edit]


  1. ^ Klebnikov, Sergei (July 8, 2016). "Minor League Baseball's Most Valuable Teams – 14. Albuquerque Isotopes". Forbes. Retrieved September 23, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Doh! Go Isotopes!". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. May 13, 2003. p. C8. 
  3. ^ Latta, Dennis (September 5, 2002). "Team President Throws Isotopes Name Into Play". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque Publishing Company. p. A1. Archived from the original on August 22, 2003. Retrieved June 11, 2007. 
  4. ^ Oakey, Steve (September 12, 2002). "To Attract Homer, Isotopes Need to Have Duff on Draft". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Copley Press. p. D2. Retrieved June 11, 2007. (subscription required)
  5. ^ a b Latta, Dennis (December 15, 2002). "Isotopes Hit a Leadoff Homer at Cash Register". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque Publishing Company. p. D1. Retrieved June 11, 2007. (subscription required)
  6. ^ Ruiz, Don (August 1, 2004). "In Search of Elusive Huntington Tapes". The News Tribune. p. C08. Retrieved June 11, 2007. (subscription required)
  7. ^ Latta, Dennis (February 1, 2003). "'Topes, Simpsons Aren't in the Mix". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque Publishing Company. p. D8. Retrieved June 11, 2007. (subscription required)
  8. ^ "Albuquerque Isotopes/Isotopes Park/Homer and Marge". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 7, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Albuquerque Baseball History | Albuquerque Isotopes News". Albuquerque Isotopes. Retrieved May 7, 2017. 
  10. ^ Journal, Randy Harrison, Ken Sickenger of the. "Notable moments in Isotopes history". Retrieved May 7, 2017. 
  11. ^ Hill, Benjamin (September 15, 2009). "Jones slugs way to Bauman Award: Home run crown, first big league action mark milestone season". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  12. ^ "2014 Pacific Coast League batting leaders". Baseball Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  13. ^ Dilbeck, Steve (August 28, 2014). "Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson, already PCL's top rookie, is named MVP". LA Times. Retrieved September 1, 2014. 
  14. ^ "2014 All-PCL Team Announced". August 25, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Joc Pederson Tabbed PCL Rookie of the Year". August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Pederson captures PCL's MVP Award". August 28, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  17. ^ Eddy, Matt (September 2, 2014). "Minor League All-Star Team 2014". Baseball America. Retrieved September 2, 2014. 
  18. ^ Wild, Danny (December 3, 2013). "Isotopes pay tribute to 'Breaking Bad'". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved December 3, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Catch Adam as Musical Advisor to Adam Levine". Adam Blackstone. May 20, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°04′12″N 106°37′44″W / 35.07°N 106.629°W / 35.07; -106.629