Sons Emulate Dads In Retro Jerseys
Somewhere in the Cavazos-Galvez family archives resides a photo of a little boy decked out in the yellow and red of the Albuquerque Dukes.
At least, Brian Cavazos-Galvez is pretty sure it’s still there.
“I’m almost positive,” he said, “that I have that same jersey and hat in the little kids’ size.”
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That pint-sized version of Cavazos-Galvez spent a large chunk of his childhood at the old Albuquerque Sports Stadium, in a time when the place – strange as this might sound – actually felt fresh and exciting.
Well, that boy is 25 years old now. But on Saturday night, like thousands of fans who poured into Isotopes Park, he was waxing nostalgic about a closed, but not forgotten, chapter, in the city’s baseball history.
This was no more true than when Cavazos-Galvez entered the Isotopes’ clubhouse on Saturday afternoon. Hanging in every locker was a bright yellow Dukes jersey, complete with red numbers.
Ah, the glory and pageantry of Dukes Retro Night.
“I was really excited when I walked in and saw all the yellow and red in here,” Cavazos-Galvez said smiling.
Packaged with a postgame fireworks display and the Albuquerque Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony – not to mention a perfect July evening – Retro Night attracted a monster crowd of 13,798.
Donning the uniforms of the 1972 Dukes, who won a Pacific Coast League championship, the Isotopes were 16-3 winners over the Iowa Cubs, hitting five homers and batting around twice.
For Cavazos-Galvez, the former Manzano High and University of New Mexico standout, and infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr., Retro Night assumed a double meaning, since both their fathers once played for the Dukes.
On Saturday, the sons were Dukes, too.
“It’s fun following the footsteps of my dad,” De Jesus said.
Although Cavazos-Galvez didn’t play Saturday – a sprained ankle will shelve him, likely for a couple of days – De Jesus started at second base.
His father, Ivan De Jesus Sr., played for Albuquerque long before his son was born. In fact, the younger De Jesus was only 1 when his father played his final major league game, with the Detroit Tigers.
But for these few hours Saturday, there was a generation-spanning kinship.
“I know he’s proud for me, and I’m proud for him, too,” De Jesus said. “It’s fun wearing that old uniform. I call it a ‘history’ uniform.”
His father spent three seasons with the Dukes in the mid-1970s and later coached with the Houston Astros. Many of the men in the De Jesus family, including his uncle, grandfather and brother, played professional baseball at some point.
“He probably doesn’t remember nothing about Albuquerque,” De Jesus said with a laugh. “It was a long time ago.”
De Jesus is also 25. He was born 16 days before Cavazos-Galvez in May 1987.
Cavazos-Galvez’s father, Balvino Galvez, was a pitcher for the Dukes. He was in Albuquerque during parts of the 1986 and 1992 seasons.
“It’s a very special day,” said Cavazos-Galvez, lounging on a clubhouse sofa two hours before the game, with his left ankle elevated and wrapped. “Just the colors. … I don’t think there are very many minor league teams with yellow and red.”
As a kid, he did get a chance to watch pops play for the Dukes.
“For some reason,” he said, “I don’t remember the games, but I remember the bullpen, because the fans could get right up close to the players. I remember him pitching in the bullpen.”
Cavazos-Galvez has been a heartwarming hometown success story and was hitting a robust .354 with the Isotopes headed into Saturday’s game.
Although Isotopes Park is a great place to go to work, Cavazos-Galvez reminisced about some of the architectural uniqueness of the Sports Stadium.
“Two things I miss,” he said, “the grass down the right-field line and the low ceilings at the concession stand.”
Though Cavazos-Galvez was restricted to the bench, he had every intention of turning back time, with the adult-sized jersey, this time.
“Even if I didn’t go out there, I’d put it on,” he said. “Just to say I wore a Dukes uniform one time, right?”
“This is a great city to play baseball,” De Jesus said. “The fans love it. Every day I’m having fun playing with the Isotopes.”
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal