The Albuquerque Isotopes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) have announced two inductees for the Albuquerque Professional Baseball Hall of Fame, as Paul Konerko is joined by late announcer Stu Walker. Both men will be enshrined during a ceremony at Isotopes Park on Friday.
Konerko, a former Albuquerque Duke and longtime major league first baseman, will be on hand for the ceremony. Stu Walker’s wife of 26 years, Francina, will participate in the induction to accept the honor on his behalf.
Konerko played in 158 games over parts of three seasons with the Dukes from 1996-98, compiling impressive totals of 44 home runs, 155 runs batted in, and a cumulative .334 batting average. The most prolific season in his Minor League career came in 1997, when he was named the Pacific Coast League’s Most Valuable Player after hitting 37 home runs and knocking in 127 runs for Albuquerque, the third-highest single season total in Albuquerque Professional Baseball history. During his MVP campaign, Konerko batted .323 with 156 hits, including 31 doubles, and also scored 97 runs for the Dukes.
Originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in first round of the 1994 First-Year Player Draft (13th overall), Konerko is best known for his 16 seasons spent with the Chicago White Sox. While with the White Sox, Konerko was a six time American League All-Star, captaining Chicago from 2006-14. He was a key contributor to their 2005 World Series Championship, earning ALCS MVP honors during the campaign.
Konerko ended his 18-year Major League career after the 2014 season, during which time he compiled a lifetime .279 batting average, 439 home runs, and 1412 RBI.
Stu Walker was the voice of Isotopes Park from the franchise’s Inaugural Season in 2003 until he passed away in 2015. His voice was synonymous with professional and amateur sports in the Land of Enchantment. Not only was Stu a fixture at nearly 700 Isotopes games, he announced UNM football, basketball, and soccer games for two decades and also was the voice for high school championship games for the New Mexico Activities Association. Despite his success in his seasonal job as public address announcer, Stu was most proud of the work he did with students at Manzano High School.
The Albuquerque Professional Baseball Hall of Fame inductions will take place during Dukes Retro Night on Friday, June 10 when the Isotopes take on the Las Vegas 51s.