As part of the 'Topes' pre-game home-opener celebration on Friday night, General Manager John Traub and team President Ken Young surprised the Hall of Famer by presenting him with the ring he so richly deserved after leading the Dukes to a 92-56 record and the team's first title as the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1972, it was not customary for Minor League teams to award championship rings, a slight rectified in a stirring tribute to a man who has meant to so much to Triple-A baseball in Albuquerque.
The ring was created by Masters of Design, a division of Herff Jones, a nationwide premier provider of Award and Championship rings, emblematic jewelry and professional awards. They have manufactured championship rings for a host of athletic champions in virtually every collegiate and professional sport.
Albuquerque continues its season-opening homestand with a beanie hat giveaway on Saturday to the first 3,000 fans courtesy of Coca-Cola. On Sunday, the 'Topes will turn back the clock and pay tribute to the great history of the Negro Leagues with special throwback uniforms.