15th Anniversary Team: Designated Hitter
Well fans, we have officially completed voting for both the infield and outfield of the 15th Anniversary Team! Last week, we gave fans the option of voting for three outfielders out of nine nominees, and the turnout was fantastic with voting coming right down to the wire. Want to know who those lucky three players are? Well, the 15th Anniversary Team final roster will not be unveiled until Friday, May 2, so hang tight! What we can say, however, is that it is quite an impressive team that you, the fans, have assembled.
It is now time to move on to the designated hitter spot on the lineup card. While many of these nominees also played in the field throughout their Ducks career, the majority of their action came as the DH. Our list of designated hitter nominees features a combined 35 years of Major League experience, including three MLB All-Star Game selections and 260 big league home runs. In fact, five of the six nominees made it to the Majors at some point in their career, the most of any other position thus far in the voting. Here are the six DH nominees:
Arguably the most well-known name on this list, Everett had two monster years with Long Island. Playing in 219 games over the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Everett led all nominees in batting (.320) and home runs (54) while ranking second in RBI (197). The 14-year Major League veteran finished third in the league in home runs (25) and RBI (97) during his first season with the Ducks. Everett then improved on those numbers in 2008, batting .327 with 100 RBI and 29 home runs, a Ducks single-season record. The Florida native and former 10th overall pick in the 1990 draft retired from professional baseball in 2010 with 1,304 hits, 202 home runs and 792 RBI combined in the Major and Minor Leagues along with two MLB All-Star selections.
Gibson represents the first of two DH nominees that only played in one season with the Ducks, but like the other (Victor Rodriguez), his numbers justify his placement on this list. Gibson joined Long Island in 2003 and had a memorable season. He led the league in RBI (89) and doubles (33) while finishing fourth in plate appearances (530) and 10th in home runs (19). The Florida native appeared in 120 games overall with the Flock in 2003 and earned a well-deserved All-Star Game selection. Gibson also boasts Major League experience, as he spent time with the Colorado Rockies during the 1998 and ’99 seasons.
The longest tenured Duck among these nominees, Lennon played in 282 games with the Flock over his four-year career on Long Island (2002-05). The North Carolina native led all nominees in RBI (226) and hits (335) and is the only player on this list to have won a championship with Long Island (2004). The former Major Leaguer’s best season as a Duck came in that title-winning year, as he batted .323 with 14 home runs over 116 games. That year, the 36-year-old also led the league in doubles (36) while finishing fifth in RBI (88) and runs scored (85). The former eighth overall pick in the 1986 draft was selected to two Atlantic League All-Star Games (2002, ’04) during his time with the Ducks. Lennon, who spent six years in the Majors with four different teams, finished his time on Long Island with a .314 batting average, second highest among nominees.
Rodriguez stands as the second most storied former Major Leaguer on this list. The 11-year Major League veteran split time between five teams in the Majors but is included on this list thanks to his strong two seasons (2005-06) with the Flock. The Dominican Republic native finished off his career in impressive fashion with Long Island, batting .304 with 39 home runs and 131 RBI over 182 games. His best year came in 2005 when he led the Atlantic League in batting (.322) while finishing sixth in home runs (27) and tallying 72 RBI. While the 1996 National League All-Star never played in an Atlantic League All-Star Game, Rodriguez certainly left his mark on the Faithful Flock.
Our second Rodriguez among nominees (none are related) is the most recent nominee to play with the Ducks. The former St. Louis Cardinal enjoyed two strong seasons with Long Island in 2010 and 2011. An All-Star Game selection both years, he was a major part of one of the most dangerous lineups in Ducks history. In 2011, Rodriguez’s 81 RBI joined him alongside three other Ducks among the top six in the Atlantic League (Javier Colina, J.R. House and Ray Navarrete). Possibly more impressive, the New York City native’s 81 RBI came in just 82 games played, easily the fewest among the top 10 that year. Additionally, Rodriguez is etched in the Ducks record books thanks to a historic six-run, eight-RBI performance against Lancaster on June 9 of that season; both of which remain Ducks single-game records. Overall, Rodriguez hit .308 with 28 home runs and 124 RBI in his two seasons on Long Island, spanning 171 games.
While Rodriguez’s marquee seasons in the Atlantic League might have come as a member of the Somerset Patriots in 2004 and Newark Bears in 2007, the native of Puerto Rico enjoyed a strong 2009 season with the Flock. He came to Long Island with high expectations and did not disappoint, hitting .301 with four home runs, 56 RBI and 20 doubles over 97 games. Those numbers were good enough to finish in the Top 5 on the team in batting average and doubles. His efforts helped lead the Ducks to the postseason where they were narrowly defeated by the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the opening round. Overall, Rodriguez spent five years in the Atlantic League, finishing his career in 2010 with York, Newark and Bridgeport.
So fans, there are your 15th Anniversary Team designated hitter nominees. While the decision to choose one of these six candidates will undoubtedly be tough, don’t forget that you can write in a different candidate by selecting “other” in the poll below and typing in your choice. This week’s winner will represent the final batter on the “Flock 15” starting lineup. Next week, we move to the mound and begin looking at some of the most memorable pitchers in franchise history.
Posted on March 15, 2014, in Weekend Debate and tagged 15th Anniversary Team, Atlantic League, Bethpage Ballpark, Carl Everett, Championship, Derrick Gibson, Henry Rodriguez, John Rodriguez, Patrick Lennon, Victor Rodriguez, Voting. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.