In a March 2001 episode of The Simpsons, Homer Simpson stumbled upon plans hatched by Springfield Isotopes owner Howard K. Duff VIII (of Duff Beer) to move the local baseball team to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Homer staged a nine-day hunger strike to uncover the plot, and the episode ended with Homer starving but victorious, standing on the field grass and being showered with food by grateful fans for saving their team. It seemed safe to believe that a dystopian future with the Albuquerque isotopes was never intended.
But just two years later, in 2003, Homer’s worst real-life nightmare came to fruition when the Florida Marlins’ new triple-A branch, the Albuquerque Isotopes, made its debut in New Mexico. (They were a subsidiary of Dodgers from 2009 to 2014 and are now a subsidiary of the Rockies.) One of the most popular and valued franchises in minor league baseball, Isotopes are about to celebrate their 20th anniversary logo, which they unveiled this week.
The logo highlights the distinctive facade of their home stadium, Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park, which opened in April 2003 with the new team.
The Albuquerque Isotopes franchise had been the Calgary Cannons since 1985, and before that, the Salt Lake Gulls from 1971 to 1984. ”Season 12, Episode 15) was still fresh in the imagination of the fans. The name Isotopes won convincingly and received more than half of the overall rating.
Before the Isotopes came to town, Albuquerque was home to a number of different teams dating back to 1915, most notably the popular Triple-A Pacific Coast League team that played there from 1972 to 2000, the Dukes.
The Isotopes 20th season starts in April 2022.