Albuquerque Isotopes slugger Mitch Jones
has won the Joe Bauman Home Run Award, given annually to the Minor League player with the most home runs, by virtue of his 35 dingers belted during the 2009 regular season.
Jones was actually one home run behind Jon Gaston of Single-A Lancaster (Houston Astros organization) heading into Labor Day, but belted a two-run shot in the 'Topes' final regular season game against the Iowa Cubs to deadlock the contest at 35. Jones then won the tiebreaker with Gaston by collecting three more RBI on the year (103-100).
The 'Topes outfielder will receive the Joe Bauman Trophy and a check for $7,000, $200 for each home run he hit, at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Indianapolis in December.
Remarkably, Jones collected 35 home runs despite missing nearly a month in late June and early July while making his Major League debut with the Dodgers. After getting his first Big League start and his first hit, Jones returned to the Isotopes and was a key component in the team achieving its first post-season berth since 2003.
This season marks the second straight year that an Isotopes player has belted the most home runs in Minor League Baseball, with 'Topes infielder Dallas McPherson taking home the hardware in 2008 after racking up 42 homers. Albuquerque has also boasted the PCL's home run champion for the third straight season, with Jones and McPherson joining Valentino Pascucci, who hit 34 in 2007.
The Bauman Home Run Award is named in honor of slugger Joe Bauman, who belted 72 home runs while a member of the Roswell Rockets in 1954. The mark stood as the most homers in a season in professional baseball until it was broken in 2001 by Barry Bonds.
The Albuquerque Isotopes head into the off-season having enjoyed one of their best years in franchise history both on and off the field. In addition to their first playoff berth since 2003, the 'Topes saw more than 600,000 fans pass through the turnstiles in 2009, the most in franchise history. For information on 2010 season tickets, mini-plans, or even possible group outings next year, call (505) 924-BALL.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.