15th Anniversary Team: Second Base
This past week once again saw hundreds of Ducks fans head to the blog and cast their ballots for who they believe should be the first baseman on the franchise’s 15th Anniversary Team. There were a few lead changes among the voting, but there’s no doubt that the winner among the five candidates certainly deserves a spot on the team. Just as a reminder, the winners from each week of voting will be unveiled on Friday, May 2 when the “Flock 15” is revealed on the blog.
For our next round of voting, we move on to the “4” position in your scorecards, otherwise known as the second basemen. The Ducks have been fortunate to have strong second basemen throughout their history, and this list covers from the franchise’s beginning in 2000 to their most recent season of 2013. From All-Stars to a former Major Leaguer to an Atlantic League Player of the Year, this list features quite an assortment of talent. The five nominees for the second base position on the “Flock 15” are:
For the first six seasons of Ducks baseball (2000-05) on Long Island, Justin Davies had become the team’s most recognizable face and held several team records. For the next eight seasons (2006-13), Ray Navarrete was that guy. One of the greatest players to wear a Ducks uniform and a member of the Ducks All-Time Team in 2009, he was the longest-tenured Duck in team history. His career in the black and orange began after helping the Somerset Patriots to the 2005 Atlantic League championship and ended by lifting that same trophy at the Patriots’ ballpark following a Game Five win over Somerset in the 2013 Atlantic League Championship Series. His career included five All-Star selections, seven half-season Liberty Division titles, three Liberty Division championships, two Atlantic League championships and the Player of the Year Award in 2009. Not to mention, he holds the franchise record in games played (863), hits (963), home runs (137), RBI (548), runs scored (599) and doubles (245). He also holds the Atlantic League record for doubles in a single season (50) and games played (139, tied with Wayne Lydon of Camden in 2009), and the Port Washington resident is the only player in Ducks history to hit three home runs in a single game. Finally, he has been named “Best Long Island Duck” four times in the Long Island Press “Best of Long Island” awards. The 35-year-old retired from professional baseball after winning the 2013 championship and now focuses his career on the clothing company he founded, Digmi.
Francia was a Duck for three straight years from 2008-2010 and provided great speed and an all-around strong bat. After starting the ’08 season with the Lancaster Barnstormers, he hit .333 with 22 runs scored in 26 games with the Ducks to close out the regular season and enter the playoffs. The performance was good enough to earn a contract for 2009, and he would put together one of the best seasons of his career. Francia hit .310 in 125 games, compiling 88 runs, 140 hits, 14 doubles and a then-franchise record 10 triples in one season. Not to mention, he stole 29 bases and drew 32 walks while striking out just 32 times. Though he was not an All-Star selection, his performance was outstanding and overshadowed only by Navarrete’s MVP year. He would play 74 more games with the Flock in 2010 but hit just .247 and ultimately ended the year with the Camden Riversharks. He would play the 2011 season with Camden as well before ending his 12-year playing career.
Hernandez helped the Ducks to a pair of postseason berths while manning second base in 2005 and 2006. He was a steady presence at the position, playing 122 games in ’05 and 106 games the following season, earning All-Star selections in both years. The former Major Leaguer combined to hit .301 with 14 home runs, 124 RBI, 140 runs and 49 doubles. He was also a huge stolen base threat, swiping 71 bases and being caught just 22 times in two seasons. Defensively, he played a strong second base, committing just 19 errors over two seasons to round out his career fielding percentage at .969. The Venezuela native retired after his 2006 campaign with Long Island.
McNamara’s two seasons with the Ducks were highlighted by an All-Star Game selection in 2003 and an Atlantic League championship in 2004. The former Phillies draft pick posted a .299 batting average in 118 games during the ’03 season and totaled 53 RBI, 138 hits, 26 doubles and five triples. He also rarely ever struck out, going down just 31 times in 502 plate appearances. McNamara joined the Ducks late in the 2004 season and played just 15 regular season games, but he posted a .281 average, six RBI, nine runs and six doubles. He was solid defensively as well, primarily at second base but at third as well, making him another all-around strong player in a Long Island uniform. Following his time with the Flock, McNamara played three more seasons of pro ball, spending time in 2005 in the Northern and Golden Leagues before playing two years in the Italian Baseball League.
Harrison donned a Ducks uniform for the franchise’s first three seasons (2000-02). He played 271 games in his career on Long Island, combining for a .286 batting average. While he wasn’t as much of a power threat, he drove in 102 runs and scored 156 during his tenure with the Flock. The California native also showed good speed on the basepaths, stealing 35 bases in 2000 and 17 the following year while combining for nine triples in his Ducks career. He never made more than 11 errors in a season at second base and provided some versatility as well with his ability to play well at shortstop when needed. Harrison played four more seasons of pro ball after his time on Long Island, reaching Triple-A with the Angels in 2003 and Double-A with the Rockies in 2004. He ended his career by spending two seasons with Long Beach in the Golden Baseball League.
Now fans, the choice is yours. Which second baseman do you feel deserves the spot on the Ducks 15th Anniversary Team? Navarrete has arguably been the greatest player in franchise history, but perhaps one of the other nominees holds a closer place to your heart. There have already been some heated debates among the first two positions on the team. Will second base be another close contest? Place your vote in the ballot below and leave your comments as to why you think your choice deserves the spot. Remember, you can always write in a candidate if you feel he is more worthy of any of the five nominees.
Posted on February 17, 2014, in Weekend Debate and tagged 15th Anniversary Team, 2014, Adonis Harrison, Atlantic League, Carlos Hernandez, Flock 15, Juan Francia, Long Island Ducks, Ray Navarrete, Rusty McNamara, Vote. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.