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20th Anniversary Team Voting – First Base

Jennings-Rose Jr-Sing

19 seasons of Long Island Ducks baseball have come and gone. Players from all around the world and of all varieties of baseball experience have worn the Ducks uniform since the first pitch on April 28, 2000. In that time, they have played in front of nearly 8 million fans in Central Islip, and millions more around the rest of the country. Those players and coaches have also earned three Atlantic League Championships, seven Division Championships, 13 half-season Division Championships and over 1,300 victories. As the Ducks 20th Anniversary Season, presented by Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, approaches, it is time to determine which members of the Flock have stood above the rest.

We had a great deal of voter input during our first week of balloting, with hundreds of fans casting their ballot for our three catcher nominees: Francisco Morales, Jamie Pogue and J.R. House. This week, we make our way 90 feet towards the right side of the infield to unveil our three options for the first base spot on the 20th Anniversary Team. The Ducks have had their fair share of power bats and stout defenders man the ‘3’ position on the baseball diamond. While there are many deserving candidates for this spot, we at “Quack of the Bat” have chosen three that stood out from the rest:


Doug Jennings
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Five-year Major League veteran Doug Jennings is our first nominee for the coveted first base position. The Atlanta native joined the Ducks during their inaugural season of 2000 and made an immediate impact. In 84 games, he tied for the team lead with a .330 batting average while adding 14 home runs, 64 RBIs, 65 runs and 22 doubles. Thanks to his incredible debut, Jennings would go on to play more seasons at first base than any other player in franchise history. In his six years with the Flock from 2000-05, he posted a batting average of .320, ranking second in franchise history behind only Lew Ford (.322). Additionally, he totaled 62 home runs, 296 RBIs, 305 runs, 445 hits, and 107 doubles in 405 games. Jennings was also a constant on the basepaths, posting an on-base percentage over .410 in each of his first five seasons with the Flock, including a .505 OBP in 2004 that still stands as the Atlantic League’s single-season record. Jennings also had a fielding percentage of .990 or greater at first base each season on Long Island. The former second round draft pick was instrumental in helping the Ducks to their first-ever Atlantic League Championship in 2004 and earned a pair of All-Star Game selections (2000, 2004). He also had his contract purchased twice by MLB organizations while playing for the Ducks (Royals in 2000 and Brewers in 2003).


P.J. Rose
Rose-Jr-20th-Voting

Our second nominee spent three strong years with Long Island. P.J. Rose, the son of all-time MLB great Pete Rose, joined the Flock in 2005 after playing with six different MLB organizations. Following a year in Bridgeport during the 2006 campaign, he returned to the Ducks for two more seasons in 2007 and 2008. During his three years in the orange and black, Rose Jr. was a model of consistency. He played over 115 games in each season, totaling 364 overall, and posted home run totals of 14, 14 and 15 during that time. After collecting 55 RBIs in 2005, he posted back-to-back 95 RBI seasons in 2007 and 2008. The Cincinnati native finished his Ducks career with 415 hits, 190 runs and 80 doubles. While with Long Island, Rose Jr. helped the Ducks reach the playoffs in all three seasons.


Brandon Sing
Brandon-Sing-20th-Voting

2012 Atlantic League champion Brandon Sing rounds out our nominees for the first base spot on the 20th Anniversary Team. Though he only spent one season with the Flock, the final one of his professional baseball career, he hung up the cleats following a tremendous offensive season and with a ring to boot. The slugger got off to a bit of a slow start, hitting just .220 by June 6th. However, as the weather warmed up, so did his bat. Sing hit .307 in the month of July and followed that up with a .344 batting average in August, second on the team only to Timo Perez (.411). He also led Long Island with 10 homers, 21 RBIs and 32 hits in 24 games during August. By season’s end, Sing had compiled a .284 batting average and 26 home runs, a single-season homer total that no Duck has reached since 2012. Sing’s bat continued to sizzle in the postseason, as he launched three homers during their Liberty Division Championship Series win over Southern Maryland. In total, the Joilet, Ill. native led the Flock with three homers and eight RBIs in the postseason, batting .333 as well to lead the Ducks to their first championship since 2004. For his efforts, Sing was named a Second Team Post-Season All-Star by the Atlantic League.


Alright fans, it’s up to you! Cast your ballot now by clicking the button below to help decide who the 20th Anniversary Team first baseman will be. Fans are able to vote as often as they would like from now through next Thursday, December 20th. The winner, along with the remainder of the 20th Anniversary Team, will be unveiled at the beginning of the 2019 season!

20th-Anniversary-Team-Voting-Button-First-Base

Be sure to check back again next week, as we’ll reveal our three nominees for the second base position.

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Homecoming Dream Becomes Reality for Horn

Can-Am Game:  Winnipeg Goldeyes vs Ottawa Champions

His goals are straightforward.

“Promote as many players as possible to MLB organizations, make everyone else’s job easier and win a championship.”

That, in a nutshell, is the plan of Billy Horn, who became the new pitching coach for the Ducks this week. He will join manager Kevin Baez and coach Bud Harrelson on a staff that has brought Long Island’s only professional baseball team incredible success, namely five playoff berths, four Liberty Division titles and two Atlantic League championships in the past six seasons. Horn is eager to join a franchise that continues to be competitive, but being part of a team so close to home for the first time in his career is a dream come true.

“I am very appreciative and thankful for being selected as the candidate,” he said. “I just thought it was the perfect fit for me, being a New York City guy. I’m really excited! I love New York City and everything that it brings with it.”

Horn spent the past two seasons as the first-ever pitching coach for the Ottawa Champions of the Can-Am League. Working under former Yankee Hal Lanier, he helped put baseball on the map in Ottawa. Most notably, he led the team to a postseason berth this past season and a pair of improbable series victories en route to the Can-Am League championship. In fact, to reach the pinnacle, Horn’s squad would have to pull off some heroics that the Ducks are surely familiar with.

“I’ve always been a big Rocky Balboa fan; I love the underdog mentality,” Horn noted. “Everyone thought we were going to lose in the first round of the playoffs against New Jersey. They had won 60 games last year whereas we had finished just over .500, but we came out and beat them. Then we lost Games One and Two in the championship to Rockland and our mentality was ‘Don’t let us win Game Three.’ We were 3-14 against them in the regular season, now 3-16 overall, so it was all about ‘let’s just have fun.’ We came out, won Game Three and the rest was history.”

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Despite dropping the first two games of the series at home, Ottawa found a way to win three straight road games to clinch the title. It was a feeling and a moment that Horn will cherish forever.

“It was unbelievable winning a championship, especially in Ottawa where they had not won a professional championship in 21 years,” he reminisced. “It was very, very special, and that’s something that I want to bring over and have again this year with Long Island.”

Horn’s journey to the Ducks in fact began during that championship season. Throughout the year, he was frequently in contact with Ducks President/General Manager Michael Pfaff regarding players on both teams. Although the two sides never struck a deal, it created a connection in the baseball world. This offseason, Horn began thinking about coaching opportunities outside of Ottawa. Ultimately, an innocent text ended up paving the way to a new position.

“I just decided to text Mike out of the blue and asked him to keep me in mind if he knows of any openings in the Atlantic League as a pitching coach,” Horn recalled. “He ended up telling me to send him my resume because they were looking for a coach.”

As the interview process trekked onward, Horn remained hopeful of a promotion from the Can-Am League to the Atlantic League. In his journeys throughout baseball, he has continued to build a rolodex of contacts to network with and help him advance in his career. One of those was all-time Ducks great Doug Jennings, who he first faced when playing baseball in Italy. The two would go on to coach high school baseball together at North Broward Preparatory School in Florida and have continued to remain in touch. Sure enough, Jennings would go on to become vital in Horn’s hiring by the Ducks.

“I was working in Vero Beach looking at players, and Doug knew I was there,” Horn noted. “He contacted me to let me know his stepson was looking for an opportunity. When he came up, I had asked him if he still knew anyone with the Ducks because I was interviewing for the pitching coach job. He told me that he did and that he was going to make a call on my behalf if I didn’t mind. I said, ‘Of course not! I highly appreciate it.’”

Can-Am:  Québec Capitales vs Ottawa Champions

Thanks in part to the recommendation of Jennings, along with several others who reached out to the Ducks on Horn’s behalf, Long Island had found its new pitching coach. Although his time in Ottawa and the relationships built there were unforgettable, Horn was excited for the opportunity to move up to the Atlantic League and take on new challenges. He was also positive that Long Island was the ideal landing spot for him.

“Long Island is just first class all the way,” Horn affirmed. “Everyone that I have spoken to, whether it be managers, coaches, or friends of mine that have played at every level, has said that if you’re going to go anywhere from Ottawa, it’s got to be Long Island. They treat their players, their staff, their coaches and their fans right.”

He went on to say, “I’m also really looking forward to working with Buddy. I’ve heard that Buddy is a fantastic guy and is an old-timer just like Hal. He’s been around the game for a long time, and working with guys like him and Kevin and Mike, who know the game and know players, is something I love.”

While Horn can’t wait to join the coaching staff on Long Island, his coaches are sure to grow fond of the work ethic and style that Horn brings to the table. His enthusiastic and welcoming personality are both clearly evident when communicating with him, but it’s his eagerness to help others and take on many responsibilities that will go a long way.

“I’m just a hard working guy,” Horn stated. “I’ll probably get there every day at 10:00 a.m., go to the gym, work out, work on looking for players and work with the pitching staff. My job is to just take care of whatever the players need, whatever the coaching staff needs, whatever the front office needs or whatever my clubhouse manager needs. That’s just the kind of person I am.”

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The relationship between a manager and a pitching coach is extremely important. It is imperative for both to be on the same page, share open dialogue on a consistent basis and be able to trust one another when important decisions need to be made. For the pair of New Yorkers, it seems that Baez and Horn will have no problem gelling and creating a formula that will yield positive results from the pitching staff and the team as a whole.

“Kevin and I have spoken, and everything that I have done previously with Ottawa is exactly what he is looking for in regards to me coming to Long Island,” said Horn. “Things like staying in constant communication with him in regards to health and who needs a day off on the staff are important. I think it’s going to be a very smooth transition. We’re both very laid back but want to win every single game, work hard all day and are looking to win a championship.”

In addition to bonding with the coaching staff, it will be paramount for Horn to develop a harmony with his pitchers. The 37-year-old will be faced with the task of developing a bond with many players that have reached the Major Leagues or have spent extended time with Major League organizations. Horn’s professional career saw him play a few seasons in the Italian Baseball League and one year with the Long Beach Armada of the independent Golden Baseball League. Although he may not have the same credentials as some of his predecessors, Horn has forged a technique that he believes will work well.

“I tend to be fairly quiet in the first couple of weeks that I’m there,” Horn noted. “I have a very laid back and relaxed approach with my players. A lot of them have worked with guys who have been to All-Star Games and won Cy Young Awards. I really have to take the hands-off approach and make a really good first impression for guys to trust my philosophies.”

Horn will also be a new face in a clubhouse that could potentially feature several players with previous experience on Long Island and in the Atlantic League. With this in mind, Horn knows it will helpful to rely on those veterans while sprinkling in his philosophy.

“When it comes to the pitchers and their workouts, it’s their own program. They do their own thing, and these guys are all professionals. I’m not going in there blank. I’ve been doing my homework on the league and know a few managers around the league. At the end of the day, my thing is that you’re dealing with people. There are going to be times where we might have guys who have more of an ego, but I try to handle everything with class, dignity and pride.”

Horn went on to add, “I’m all about togetherness and family because when you’re on the road for six or seven months, this is your family. Everyone has to be on the same page, and I’m not looking to come in there and reinvent the wheel. I’m here to help these guys, and whatever they need, it’s my job to get it done. Anything I can do to help these guys get better as ballplayers and as human beings, I’m going to do it.”

Welcome to the family, Billy!

Promotions Galore in 2015

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Following the 2014 season, the Long Island Ducks surveyed their fans about a variety of topics relating to how they enjoy Ducks baseball and what influences their decision on purchasing tickets. Out of six options determining what most affects their decision to come to a Ducks game, fans overwhelmingly selected promotions/giveaways among the most influential. With that being the case, Ducks fans will have plenty of reasons to make Bethpage Ballpark their home away from home in 2015.

On Monday, the Ducks released their preliminary promotional schedule for the season, something fans had been waiting for throughout the offseason. A breakdown of the schedule shows that of the 70 home games, there are a total of:

-23 Giveaway Nights
-12 Theme Nights
-17 Pyrotecnico Fireworks Extravaganzas
-5 Special events/start times

There is so much already scheduled for the upcoming year on specific dates, and there will likely be some more added as the season goes along. However, even on dates where there may not be a scheduled giveaway or theme, fans will still have a great reason to come to the ballpark aside from the exciting baseball on the field. In 2015, the Ducks will be introducing a brand new Weekly Promotional Schedule that features something taking place each day from Monday through Sunday. More to come on that a bit later in this post.

With so much in store for the upcoming season, and with Opening Day of Ticket Sales just a couple days away (Saturday, March 21), let’s take a look at some of the promotions you won’t want to miss:

Every Night! Weekly Promotions Highlight the Schedule

As you look at the Ducks schedule prior to picking which games you will want to attend in 2015, there will no longer be any curiosity as to whether a certain date has a promotion going on. This year, every night is a promotional night at the Duck Pond! The Ducks have put together a special schedule this year that offers a specific promotion on each day of the week. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays will offer fans the opportunity to win big money prizes if a certain situation occurs. Tuesday and Thursdays give those attending games the chance to receive discounts on either tickets, food or beverages at the ballpark. Saturday nights be highlighted by a Pyrotecnico Fireworks Extravaganza, in fact there will be 17 fireworks shows in total throughout the season. Finally, Sundays will feature the always popular Family Fun Days at the ballpark, complete with pre-game autographs and a postgame Kids Run the Bases. There will literally be good times, every time, at Bethpage Ballpark in 2015. CLICK HERE for more details about this year’s Weekly Promotions.

May 1 – Atlantic League MVP Showcased in Bronze

Fans have become accustomed to Opening Night giveaways at Bethpage Ballpark. Charter sponsor P.C. Richard and Son has long offered the first 1,500 fans at the ballpark a bobblehead featuring a Ducks player, manager, coach, or their lovable mascot, “Whistle Guy.” The bobbleheads were replaced in 2013 and 2014 by an even more sought after item, Replica Championship Rings. However, this year, P.C. Richard and Son is offering the first 1,500 through the gates on May 1 an item that has never before been given away at the Duck Pond: Bronze Figurines. The honored Duck? None other than 2014 Atlantic League Player of the Year Lew Ford. The fan favorite, who put together a record-breaking season in his fifth year with the Ducks, will don the shelves of the “Faithful Flock” following Opening Night as a unique piece of memorabilia. In addition, he’ll receive his MVP Award in a special ceremony prior to first pitch. There may not be a ring and banner raising ceremony this year, as was the case in the past two home openers, but it will still surely be a night to remember. CLICK HERE for more information about Opening Night.

Six Dates in May – Collector’s Series Honors Ducks Greats

The Ducks honored several of their most notable players in 2014 when the franchise unveiled its 15th Anniversary Team, as voted upon by the fans. Recognizing the best in team history will continue in 2015, not only with the retiring of two jersey numbers, but with a special Collector’s Series featuring jersey number pins of five key contributors who have helped make the Ducks what they are today. Fans will receive a Ducks Collector’s Pin Pennant first on May 8, followed by a collectible pin on five separate nights in May. Among those being recognized are:

Bud Harrelson (#3) – Manager/Coach/Co-Owner (2000-present). Pin giveaway on May 13
Justin Davies (#4) – Outfielder (2000-‘05). Pin giveaway on May 14
Doug Jennings (#7) – First Baseman (2000-’05). Pin giveaway on May 23 (Day game)
Gary Carter (#8) – Manager (2009). Pin giveaway on May 24
Ray Navarrete (#16) – Infielder/Outfielder (2006-’13). Pin giveaway on May 31

Friday, June 19 – Justin Davies Jersey Number Retirement Night

Throughout the first 15 seasons of Ducks history, the organization saw a great deal of talented players put on the black and orange. However, despite the many notable names, no one had received the honor of having their uniform number retired by the team. In year 16, that will all change. Justin Davies will be the first player in franchise history to receive the highest honor any athlete can receive by a team, as his #4 will be retired at Bethpage Ballpark. Davies spent six memorable seasons with the Ducks from 2000-‘05, helping the franchise become a staple in the Long Island community. Most will remember the Babylon native for helping Long Island to their first-ever playoff berth in 2004, after four seasons of heartbreak, and subsequently their first-ever Atlantic League championship, of which he was named MVP. Davies became one of the most beloved players by the fans during his time on Long Island, and his name still evokes great memories to this day.

Upon the announcement of his special day to come, Davies commented, “I can’t tell you how honored I am and how humbling this is for me. I will be up there with my family and can’t wait to see everyone at the game. Thank you to the Ducks owners, General Manager Mike Pfaff and the entire staff for making this happen.”

As an added bonus, the first 1,500 fans in attendance on June 19 will also receive a Ducks T-Shirt, courtesy of Petro.

Sunday, August 16 – #16 Joins #4 Among Ducks Immortals

Once Davies retired following the 2005 season, Ducks fans were wondering who might be the next great player to call the Ducks home. During 2006, a 28-year-old infielder from New Jersey named Ray Navarrete joined the Flock and began an eight-year run filled with outstanding seasons and even greater memories. From ’06-’13, Navarrete became one of the top players in the Atlantic League, breaking all the franchise records that Davies had and setting a few league records along the way. Despite the success, Ducks fans will always remember him for the two trophies he helped Long Island win in the final years of his career. The dramatic hits and euphoric celebrations of 2012 and 2013 will forever define Navarrete’s time with the franchise he will always remember as “home.”

After hearing the news that he would join Davies as the first two in team history to have their number retired, Navarrete echoed similar sentiments to the man that preceded him. “I am extremely honored and humbled to be one of [the first Ducks to have his number retired],” he said. “Justin and I have always been linked together by the fans and organization, and it means a great deal to me to be able to share this honor and have my number #16 right next to his #4. To have my number 16 retired in the 16th season of the #Ducks and on the 16th day of #‎August is beyond awesome! A sincere thank you to the Long Island Ducks, their entire front office and staff, every single Ducks fan who has every rooted for us, the Atlantic League for the platform to compete against incredible talent, and all of my teammates who I had the opportunity of playing with during my 8 years at the pond! Looking forward to celebrating this special occasion with family and friends! This is forever…and forever is cool!”

In addition, the first 1,500 fans through the gates on August 16 will be able to take Navarrete home with them…in bobblehead form, courtesy of his clothing company, Digmi.

As a reminder, individual tickets will go on sale for these games and each of this season’s promotional dates on Saturday, March 21 at Bethpage Ballpark. The ticket windows will officially open at 10:00 a.m., and there will be a host of entertainment going on throughout the morning. CLICK HERE to find out all that is going on during the Ducks Opening Day of Ticket Sales. Baseball will be here before you know it!

Lyons Joins Exclusive Company

Lyons-Longball-Orange
The Ducks have made the first splash of 2015! Entering the week, no other team in the Atlantic League had announced a player signing for the upcoming season. That changed on Monday when the Ducks unveiled that Dan Lyons would be returning for a fifth consecutive season with the Flock.

This year will be the 16th season of Ducks baseball here on Long Island. In that span, only three men other than Lyons have played five or more seasons in a row with the team. Here’s the company that the man known affectionately as “Shortstop” has now joined:

Ray Navarrete: Eight Consecutive Seasons (2006-13)

Justin Davies: Six (2000-05)

Doug Jennings: Six (2000-05)

Not a bad list to be on at all! That list would grow by one if Lew Ford re-signs with the Ducks in 2015 as well. Lyons has become a fan favorite at Bethpage Ballpark and is coming off a strong season in 2014. In his familiar ninth spot in the batting order, the Minnesota native batted .256, his highest batting average since his first year with on Long Island, and posted his best home run (4), triples (7) and walks (43) totals in a Ducks uniform. Across the board, Lyons resembled the player that earned First Team All-Star honors, an All-Star game selection and the Championship Series MVP award in 2012.

After officially putting pen to paper, the 30-year-old sat down with Ducks Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting Michael Polak to talk about returning to Long Island, his strong season in 2014 and what he’s looking forward to in 2015. Check out the video below for the full interview:

Welcome back Dan! Let us know your thoughts on the first signing of 2015 in the comments section of this post.

The Great Hall of Fame Debate – Atlantic League Edition

Hall-of-Fame
Welcome back Ducks fans! We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and want to wish you all a Happy New Year. Here’s hoping that 2015 will bring us all many great memories, exciting baseball and our fourth Atlantic League championship.

Today, Major League Baseball unveiled the voting results for this year’s Hall of Fame nominees. Four players were voted in this year by the Baseball Writers Association of America, including Long Island native Craig Biggio and pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz. All four are deserving candidates, and we here at “Quack of the Bat” would like to pass along our congratulations to this fine class.

The selections also got us thinking today. Although the Atlantic League does not yet have a Hall of Fame, there have certainly been several great Ducks players from the first 15 seasons in franchise history who would be worthy of selection. Circumstances in this case are a bit different, being that the league has only been around for 17 seasons and that most players do not stick in the league for long stretches. However, a case can be made for several players in Atlantic League history to be voted into a league Hall of Fame, many of whom are Ducks.

The criteria for what would be considered “Hall of Fame worthy” is something that could be heavily debated. From the amount of games played to championships/awards won to home run, win and strikeout totals, the numbers are not as well-defined as in Major League Baseball. So, let us know what you think the criteria should be for an Atlantic Leaguer to be selected to the Hall.

Over the course of the Atlantic League’s 17-year history, there have been many players who have become such strong representatives of the league based on their time spent in it and their play on the field. Some of the sluggers that come to mind immediately are Jeff Nettles, who played for nine seasons with the Somerset Patriots, and Josh Pressley, who donned a Patriots uniform for five years before spending two with Sugar Land. As for hurlers on the mound, guys like Corey Thurman, who has started for seven seasons with the York Revolution, and Ross Peeples, who has played an astounding 10 years with the Lancaster Barnstormers would also garner strong consideration. Which other Atlantic Leaguers, outside of the Ducks, do you feel deserve to be in a league Hall of Fame?

This past summer, the Ducks unveiled their 15th Anniversary Team, as voted on by the fans. The top player at each position was chosen by fans to be a part of this special group. For a quick refresher, here is who was chosen:

Catcher – Francisco Morales
First Base – Doug Jennings
Second Base – Ray Navarrete
Shortstop – Dan Lyons
Third Base – Bryant Nelson
Outfielder – Justin Davies
Outfielder – Lew Ford
Outfielder – Kimera Bartee
Designated Hitter – Patrick Lennon
Left-Handed Starter – Randy Leek
Right-Handed Starter – John Brownell
Reliever – Joe Valentine
Closer – Bill Simas
Manager – Kevin Baez
Final Vote – Mike Loree

Of those 15, who do you feel deserves to be in an Atlantic League Hall of Fame donning a Ducks cap? While you think about you selections, our blog team will give you ours:

Ray Navarrete
Ray Navarrete

His name has become one of the most synonymous with the Atlantic League of any player to have played in the league. He spent eight seasons with the Ducks from 2006-13 (and a brief stint with Somerset in 2005) and put together some of the best seasons in league history. He played in 863 games, amassed 963 hits, launched 137 home runs, drove in 548 runs, scored 599 runs and collected 245 doubles while with the Flock, all team records. He is one of only two players in league history with over 1,000 hits, joining Nettles. He won the Atlantic League Player of the Year Award in 2009, earned five All-Star Game selections and capped off his career with two Atlantic League championships. What more could you want in a Hall of Famer?

Doug Jennings
Doug-Jennings

Jennings certainly checks off the longevity aspect of Hall of Fame selection. He spent six seasons with the Ducks from 2000-05 and also spent his first season in the Atlantic League with Newark in 1999. In those seven seasons, he played in a total of 405 games and had double digit home run totals in five of them. His bread and butter though was getting on base, and Jennings posted an on-base percentage over .350 in six of his seven seasons, including two over .500! The numbers offensively are there for Jennings, and he has an Atlantic League championship from 2004 to go with it.

Lew Ford
Lew-Ford-Batting

Ford’s career in the Atlantic League has not officially come to an end just yet, but his five seasons so far with the Ducks have been extraordinary. He lacks a bit in the games played department, having only played in 341 contests. However, a big reason for that was because he was signed by the Orioles early in 2012 and remained with them until late in 2013. In addition, the fact that he’s among a select group to have made it back to the Major Leagues after playing in the Atlantic League lines up with the ideals for which the league was created. In addition, despite the shortage in games played, he is the only player in league history to appear in each and every one during a 140-game season, and he did so during his most recent season of play. In his 341 games, Ford has been a wrecking force at the plate, compiling a .337 batting average which is a franchise record. In addition, he’s totaled 216 RBI, 261 runs, 439 hits and 95 doubles. As for awards, he was an Atlantic League All-Star and Player of the Year this past season, and he’s got himself a pair of championship rings. Oh, and did we mention his Atlantic League career has not yet officially ended?

Bryant Nelson
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Nelson has been a member of the Atlantic League for each of the past nine seasons, so his longevity in the league is near the top. The greater debate might be which team’s cap he would don in the Hall. He’s spent parts of four seasons with the Ducks, two with York, two with Camden, one with Lancaster and one with Bridgeport. His best statistical single season came with Lancaster in 2010, when he batted .288 with 22 homers, 91 RBI, 158 hits and 84 runs, earning an All-Star selection. However, he’s won two championships with the Ducks as well and was an All-Star choice in 2013. His total numbers with the Flock weren’t too shabby either, combining to bat .274 with 32 homers, 197 RBI, 197 runs and 73 doubles in 343 games. For his Atlantic League career, he is one game shy of 800 and 123 hits shy of 1,000. Nelson’s been a consistent contributor in the league and, in this blogger’s opinion, should be considered for a Hall of Fame.

Francisco Morales
Francisco Morales

Like Ford, Morales didn’t play in the Atlantic League for long, but he certainly made an impact when he did. The backstop spent three seasons with the Ducks from 2000-02 and a year in Camden. During that four-year stint, he appeared in 478 games, an average of nearly 120 per season. In addition, he hit over 20 homers in each season with the Flock and added 10 with Camden for a grand total of 73 longballs. Among his other stats were 513 hits, 312 RBI, 259 runs and 88 doubles. He was an Atlantic League All-Star twice with the Ducks (2000, 02), but he ultimately never won an Atlantic League title. His offensive prowess was clearly demonstrated while in the Atlantic League, but his shortened length in the league and lack of ring makes his selection less of a guarantee.

What do you think of our selections Ducks fans? Should we include any others? Should we remove any that we have chosen? Where would you put an Atlantic League Hall of Fame? Let us know your thoughts by commenting on this post.

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