15th Anniversary Team: First Base
The 15th Anniversary Team is going to be a special one in Ducks history, and we can already tell that by how many people have cast their ballots in our first week of voting. Hundreds of fans have visited the blog and chosen their pick for who should be the catcher on the “Flock 15” team. The voting was extremely close between two candidates, and we’ll announce which Duck was voted onto the team on Friday, May 2, which is Ducks Opening Night at Bethpage Ballpark.
Next up in the voting for the 15th Anniversary Team is first base. Since 2000, the Ducks have seen a great deal of players put on the uniform and occupy first base. Some have flashed the leather on a consistent basis while some are better known for the pop they provided in the lineup. Some of the all-time great Ducks players have presided over first base during their time on Long Island. Here are the nominees for the “Flock 15” first base position:
Jennings, who earned a spot in the Ducks’ All-Time Team in 2009, was one of the core pieces on the Ducks roster from 2000 to 2005. In his six seasons, he earned All-Star Game selections during the team’s inaugural season of 2000 and their first championship season of 2004. The former Major Leaguer hit .320 during his time on Long Island with 62 home runs and 296 RBI. No season will stand out though more than 2004 for Jennings, as his .359 batting average, .505 on base percentage and .612 slugging percentage are all Ducks single season records. Not to mention, he did all of that at age 39. He was outstanding defensively as well, committing just 17 errors over the 405 games he played with the Ducks. The Atlanta native retired 19 games into the 2005 campaign with the Flock.
Jacobsen came to the Ducks in 2006 after spending the first nine seasons of his career in the Brewers, Cardinals and Mariners organizations. The former big leaguer with the Mariners in 2004 provided an intimidating presence at home plate, standing in at 6-foot-4, 255 pounds. Not only was his appearance fearsome, but so was his bat. Jacobsen produced an All-Star season, batting .291 with 21 home runs, good for third in the Atlantic League, and 89 RBI which led the league. He also finished third with a .410 on-base percentage and fifth with a .506 slugging percentage. In his 113 games, the slugger also added 72 runs, 22 doubles and drew 78 walks. Defensively, he posted a respectable .975 fielding percentage and helped the Flock to their third consecutive postseason berth. Jacobsen played nine games with Tabasco in the Mexican League during the 2007 season before deciding to hang up the cleats. He is currently appearing on Seattle Q13 Fox station doing Mariners post-game coverage.
Rose spent three seasons with the Ducks, donning the green and orange in 2005, 2007 and 2008. Though he never received an All-Star nod, he was a consistent offensive force all three years. In 364 games with Long Island, Rose compiled a .298 batting average, 43 home runs, 245 RBI and 80 doubles. He had double digit home runs, played in at least 115 games and collected at least 20 doubles in each season. He was an all-around offensive force for the Flock. Defensively, he had a .987 fielding percentage during those three seasons while playing first base, and in each season, he served as an important piece in helping lead the Ducks to the postseason. While he never won a championship on Long Island, he certainly was one of the most popular first basemen among Ducks fans. Following the 2008 season, he split 2009 with the Newark Bears and York Revolution before ending his professional career. After serving as a manager in the Appalachian League and Pioneer League, he was named manager of the Single-A Kannapolis Intimidators of the South Atlantic League in January of 2014.
No one flashed the leather in a Ducks uniform like quite Freddie Thon did during his time on Long Island. He first came to the Ducks in 2009, playing in just 20 games, but he hit .355 with two homers, 17 RBI and five doubles while making just three errors. He then spent the entire 2011 season with the Flock, playing in 94 games overall. The Puerto Rico native made just four errors at first base (.995 fielding percentage) and collected 46 assists as well. From diving stops to picks out of the dirt, Thon was outstanding on the right side of the infield. He wasn’t too shabby at the plate either, hitting .284 with seven home runs, 47 RBI and just 40 strikeouts for the year. Even when the Ducks offense struggled in the playoffs, Thon provided the Ducks with some big hits. He batted .286 (8-for-28), with his one RBI coming in the ninth inning of Game Four in the Liberty Division Championship Series. His RBI double into the right field corner scored Erick Monzon with the series-winning run, lifting the Ducks to a tremendous 9-8 come-from-behind win. Thon retired from professional baseball in the US after the season and returned to his native land of Puerto Rico.
Sing, who had an outstanding year with the Bridgeport Bluefish in 2009, was able to put together another impressive season in 2012 with the Ducks and helped Long Island end an eight-year title drought. The durable Illinois native played 119 games, and while his .284 average was slightly lower than normal, he crushed 26 home runs, drove in 78 runs, scored 78 times and added 31 doubles. He would’ve led the team in two-baggers if not for Ray Navarrete’s record-setting 50 that season. Then, he put together one of the best postseasons in Ducks history, batting .333 (13-for-39) with three home runs (all in the Liberty Division Championship Series) and eight RBI (including a game-tying single in the ninth inning of Game Two in the Atlantic League Championship Series). Sing was outstanding at the plate and provided some of the most clutch hits in franchise history. He now lives at home in Mississippi with his wife and son and provides youth baseball lessons.
Which of the five nominees do you feel deserves the first base spot on the “Flock 15” team? Cast your ballot in the poll below — everyone can vote once per day. Do you think there’s someone we are leaving out for the first base position? If so, write in a candidate by selecting “Other” and be sure to include the name of the player you feel is most deserving. Next week, we will break down the nominees for second base.
Posted on February 7, 2014, in Weekend Debate and tagged 15th Anniversary Team, 2014, Atlantic League, Brandon Sing, Bucky Jacobsen, Championship, Doug Jennings, First Base, Flock 15, Freddie Thon, Long Island Ducks, PJ Rose, Voting. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.