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.
Two weeks have come and gone, and fans have had their say on who should represent the catcher and first baseman positions on the 20th Anniversary Team. With hundreds of ballots being cast each week, those voting have shown that it hasn’t been easy determining a clear cut winner at each position. Now, we move on to the first of our two middle infielder positions with the second basemen. This week’s candidates feature a trio of different experiences with the Flock. One spent eight seasons with the club, another donned a Ducks uniform for three years and the third has only played one year on Long Island. However, all three certainly have made strong cases for their spot among this exclusive group. Here are the nominees:
The first three seasons of Ducks baseball saw Adonis Harrison man second base primarily. In those three seasons, the California native made a big impact in helping the franchise get off to a strong start. The 2000 season saw him play 87 games with Long Island and register 97 hits, totaling a .307 batting average and a .379 on-base percentage by season’s end. After helping the Ducks to an 82-58 record that still stands as the best regular season in team history, he followed that up by increasing his playing time in 2001 to 110 games. Harrison posted a 100-hit season and played a superb second base as well. Following his final year with the Ducks in 2002, the former Seattle Mariners draft pick had totaled 271 games with the Flock, a .286 batting average, 102 RBIs, 156 runs scored, 36 doubles and 55 stolen bases. Harrison would play four more seasons of professional baseball before retiring, including time in the Angels and Rockies organizations.
Our second nominee’s resume certainly speaks for itself. Ray Navarrete, who played multiple positions throughout his Ducks career but spent the most time at second base, enjoyed an eight-year stint on Long Island. In that time, he earned five Atlantic League All-Star Game selections and a host of other accolades. He became the first player in franchise history to be named Atlantic League Player of the Year in 2009. He set the league record for doubles in a single season with 50 in 2012. Navarrete slugged 25 or more home runs, totaled 90 or more RBIs, and scored 100 or more runs in three seasons apiece. By the end of his time with the Ducks, he had set franchise records in hits (963), home runs (137), RBIs (548), runs scored (599), doubles (245) and games played (863), though that last one has since been surpassed by Dan Lyons. Navarrete’s career ended with him being carried on the shoulders of his teammates after winning the second of back-to-back Atlantic League championships, after he went the six previous seasons without a title despite reaching the playoffs in five of them. He then was bestowed with the greatest honor any player can receive from a team, as he had his #16 jersey retired in a pre-game ceremony, fittingly on the 16th of August in 2015.
Our final candidate has just one season of experience with the Ducks, but the amount of honores accrued in that single campaign certainly make him worthy for this spot. Jordany Valdespin joined the Ducks in 2018 following a four-year MLB career, two of which were spent nearby in Flushing with the Mets. He came out of the gates swinging a hot bat, launching the team’s first home run of the year and earning Atlantic League Player of the Month honors for April/May after leading the league in hits (45), runs (29), total bases (73), extra-base hits (17), and at bats (131). Valdespin represented the Ducks at the Atlantic League All-Star Game, played on Long Island, and proved to be a consistent offensive force throughout the 126-game regular season. The Dominican Republic native ended the year with league-best totals in hits (154), runs scored (94), and triples (7) while ranking second in batting average (.3377), just .0007 behind the league leader. After helping lead the Ducks to a third consecutive Liberty Division Championship, Valdespin became the third player in team history to be named the Atlantic League Player of the Year. He also was chosen as the first Ducks player ever to win Baseball America’s Independent Leagues Player of the Year award.
Three candidates with three outstanding cases, but only one can garner the second base spot on the 20th Anniversary Team. Cast your vote from now through Thursday, December 27th by clicking the button allow. Fans can vote as many time as they would like, but you can only choose one candidate. 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 shortstop position.
Sunday turned out to be another incredibly memorable day at Bethpage Ballpark. It began with a special pre-game ceremony to honor the marvelous career of Ducks all-time great Ray Navarrete. The festivities featured video highlights from his career and video testimonials from those he played with and for, along with several others. Then, his #16 jersey was officially retired and unveiled for all to see on the brick pillar next to the DuckVision video board. The ceremony culminated with an emotional speech from Navarrete himself, which led multiple ovations from the crowd of 5,668 at the Duck Pond. Then, the 2015 Ducks earned their sixth consecutive victory, defeating the Blue Crabs 7-5 to sweep the series and compiling 16 hits in the process. How fitting?
Once again, the Ducks needed to use their come-from-behind ability to win the ballgame. Ian Marshall fell into a hole thanks to a two-out, two-run home run from Jovan Rosa in the first inning. However, Long Island answered right back with three in the bottom of the frame. Sean Burroughs and Cody Puckett had RBI singles to highlight the frame. Then, after the Blue Crabs tied the game in the second, the Ducks answered back again on another RBI single in the bottom of the inning by Burroughs, who finished with three hits. Two innings later, same story. Southern Maryland tied the game in the fourth, but a run-scoring fielder’s choice by Puckett and a sac fly by Steve McQuail in the bottom half gave the Flock a 6-4 lead they would never relinquish. Nelfi Zapata rounded out Long Island’s scored with a RBI double in the sixth as part of a three-hit, two-RBI day for the newcomer. All of those performances paled though to Delta Cleary, Jr.’s, who had four hits and a walk in five plate appearances and scored three times.
On the mound, the Ducks had their starter go just five innings for the third straight game. Marshall did not have his best stuff, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits in five innings. However, he avoided allowing the “big inning” to keep the Ducks in the game. Long Island’s bullpen was stout once again. Frank DeJiulio Jr. picked up a strikeout and a flyout in the sixth with two in scoring position to end the threat. Donnie Veal induced a groundout to end the seventh with the tying run at third. Ryan Kussmaul then pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and Amalio Diaz tossed a scoreless ninth for his eighth save of the season.
Now winners in nine of their last 12 games, the Ducks return to the road for their final meeting of the regular season with the Somerset Patriots. With the season series tied at eight and this being a potential playoff preview, the games should certainly provide for some excitement. Darin Downs will get the start for the Ducks in the opener and enters at 2-3 with a 4.55 ERA. While those numbers don’t scream success, he has been excellent in his last two starts and has won both. On Wednesday against Camden, the southpaw tossed six innings of one-run ball, allowing four hits while striking out six. He did walk five batters but that ultimately didn’t matter as the Ducks pounded the Riversharks 11-2 to earn a series split. That outing came on the heels of a six inning, two-run performance in Texas on August 6. Downs has made two starts against the Patriots this year and is 0-2 with an 8.00 ERA, allowing eight runs on 11 hits and six walks in nine innings with nine strikeouts.
Opposing downs will be Zach Clark, who will make his third start since joining Somerset back on August 1. Thus far, he is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA, allowing four runs on nine hits and five walks while striking out three in eight innings. Clark lasted four innings on August 11 against Sugar Land, giving up three runs on four hits and four walks with one strikeout. Earlier this year, the right-hander was a member of the Camden Riversharks and really struggled, going 2-5 with a 6.56 ERA in 13 games (11 starts). While with the ‘Sharks, he faced the Ducks twice and was 0-2 with a 10.57 ERA, surrendering 10 runs (nine earned) in seven and two-thirds innings. In the starts, he also gave up 13 hits and seven walks while striking out just four.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Patriots: Tonight marks the 302nd all-time meeting between the Ducks and Patriots. Somerset leads the series 152-149 and also has a 77-69 advantage at TD Bank Ballpark. Tonight also marks the 17th of 20 scheduled games between the two in 2015. The series is currently tied at eight, and 13 of the first 16 meetings have been decided by three runs or less.
Dan’s the Man: Dan Lyons collected two more hits on Sunday and has now reached base safely in 22 of his last 23 games dating back to July 23. In that span, he is batting .372 (32-for-86). The shortstop now has 16 two-hit games in 2015 and 25 multi-hit contests. Lyons has hit safely and scored a run in nine straight games. In addition, he’s earned multiple hits in four of his last five games.
Cody’s Crushing It: Cody Puckett picked up a single on Sunday, extending his hitting streak to 13 consecutive games. During the streak, the infielder is batting .327 (18-for-55) with three doubles, one homer, nine RBI and six runs. Dating back to July 23, Puckett has earned hits in 21 of his last 23 games.
I Can See Cleary Now: Delta Cleary, Jr. earned his second four-hit game of the season with four singles in Sundays win. His only other four-hit game came on June 1 against the York Revolution. He and Lew Ford, who has three four-hit games, are the only two Ducks players this season with multiple four-hit contests.
New Kid On the Block: Nelfi Zapata collected three hits and two RBI on Sunday to earn his first multi-hit and multi-RBI game with the Ducks. In four games with Long Island, he has collected five hits in 11 at bats, good for a .455 batting average. He’s the first Duck to collect two doubles in a game since Dan Lyons on August 1 against Bridgeport.
On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel. Live streaming audio will be available online by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play. Fans can also follow a pitch-by-pitch account of the game via Pointstreak’s GameLive application by CLICKING HERE.
Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:
#22 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#25 Sean Burroughs – DH
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#40 Steve McQuail – 1B
#11 Ryan Gebhardt – 2B
#23 Darin Downs – LHP
#13 Robert Andino – SS
#91 Aharon Eggleston – LF
#8 David Vidal – 3B
#39 Michael Burgess – DH
#21 Adam Donachie – 1B
#3 Nate Spears – 2B
#36 Ricky Claudio – RF
#15 Jose Garcia Reyes – CF
#4 James Skelton – C
#10 Zach Clark – RHP
Keep it here for updates all game long as the Ducks open their four-game series with the Patriots in New Jersey. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (7:18): We are underway in the first of four games this week between the Ducks and Patriots!
UPDATE (7:43): Nice job by Darin Downs to work out of a first-and-second, no-out jam in the second! We’re still scoreless after two.
UPDATE (8:00): TOP 3: The Ducks break through for two runs on a RBI groundout by Dan Lyons and a RBI single by Sean Burroughs! 2-0 Flock!
UPDATE (8:13): BOT 3: Patriots tie up the ballgame on a two-run home run to left field by David Vidal. 2-2 the score.
UPDATE (8:34): BOT 4: Somerset adds two more runs on a RBI double by James Skelton and a RBI single by Aharon Eggleston. 4-2 Patriots.
UPDATE (8:48): TOP 5: Ducks have tied the game on another RBI single by Burroughs and a RBI fielder’s choice from Cody Puckett! Still two on with two out.
UPDATE (9:32): BOT 7: Downs escapes a bases loaded jam by getting Nate Spears on a lineout to right! 4-4 after seven.
UPDATE (9:50): BOT 8: Billy Buckner faces a runner at second with no one out, but he retires three straight to keep Somerset off the scoreboard! Still 4-4.
UPDATE (10:09): FINAL: A bases loaded walk to Ricky Claudio in the bottom of the ninth gives the Patriots a 5-4 win and ends the Ducks’ six-game win streak.
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!
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.
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:
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.