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