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20th Anniversary Team Voting – Starting Pitcher (2012-15)

Brownell-Blevins-Lansford

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.

The common phrase goes “pitching wins championships,” and that was certainly the case during the next era of our voting. During this four-year stretch, the Ducks claimed back-to-back Atlantic League Championships thanks in large part to some tremendous performances on the mound. One of the nominees for this week’s starting pitcher spot earned Championship Series MVP honors in 2013. Another recorded a pair of quality starts with the Ducks facing elimination in 2012. Our third candidate began as a reliever before converting to a starter and was instrumental in both championship victories. Let’s take a closer look at each of the three nominees:


John Brownell
John Brownell Action Shot

After coming to Long Island via a late-season trade in 2012 from the Grand Prairie AirHogs, John Brownell fashioned a Ducks career that spanned parts of seven seasons, including six full years. During that time, he compiled a record of 65-51 with a 3.72 ERA, 755 strikeouts, and 1,005.1 innings pitched over 156 games (154 starts). His wins, strikeouts, innings pitched and starts totals are all Ducks franchise records, and he is also the Atlantic League’s all-time strikeouts king. The right-hander ranks second in league history for innings pitched and third for wins. Not to mention, he’s also the Ducks single-season record holder for starts (29, 2014), complete games (7, 2013), innings pitched (202.0, 2014) and strikeouts (147, 2016). If those impressive numbers aren’t enough, Brownell was a key contributor to Long Island’s back-to-back Atlantic League Championships. He posted a 2.84 ERA in a pair of 2012 postseason starts, which included a win in Game Four of the ALCS with the Ducks facing elimination. The following season, Brownell won all three playoff starts and compiled a 2.88 ERA. Two of those starts came in the Championship Series, where he earned MVP honors after pitching into the ninth inning of the decisive Game Five at Somerset. He would go on to lead Long Island to three more Liberty Division titles (2016-18) and earn an ALPB All-Star Game selection in 2017. Brownell has unquestionably cemented his legacy as one of the franchise’s greatest starting pitchers ever.


Bobby Blevins
Bobby Blevins Action Shot

Another vital piece to Long Island’s Championship puzzles was New York native Bobby Blevins. The right-hander also joined the Ducks in a late-season trade from the Rockland Boulders during the 2012 campaign. Manager Kevin Baez slotted Blevins in to start the decisive Game Five during both postseason series that year and boy did he deliver. He fired six innings of three-run ball in the Liberty Division Championship Series, as the Ducks defeated Southern Maryland 5-4, and then tossed six innings of two-run ball with five strikeouts against Lancaster to lead the Ducks to another 5-4 win and their first championship in eight seasons. Blevins was masterful in his lone postseason start one year later, pitching eight innings of one-run ball at Somerset in Game Four of the Atlantic League Championship Series. While impressive in the postseason, his regular season numbers were nothing to scoff at. Between 2012 and 2015, Blevins compiled a 15-10 record with a 3.23 ERA, four complete games, 212 strikeouts, and 317.2 innings over 50 games (47 starts). He spent one final season with the Ducks in 2016 and started Game One of the Atlantic League Championship Series that year before going on to spend time with both the Sugar Land Skeeters and Somerset Patriots in 2017 and 2018, respectively.


Jared Lansford
Jared Lansford Action Shot

Our third and final candidate for this spot on the 20th Anniversary Team enjoyed success as both a starting pitcher and a reliever during his three seasons as a Duck. Jared Lansford served as a late-inning bullpen arm during Long Island’s back-to-back championships runs, making 47 appearances in both 2012 and 2013. He combined to post a 5-3 record with a 3.61 ERA, nine saves, and 88 strikeouts over 104.2 innings of work. The righty’s 2013 success earned him an Atlantic League All-Star Game selection. Lansford was also a perfect 3-0 in 11 postseason appearances, yielding just one run and one walk over 12.1 innings while striking out 13. The California native converted to the starting rotation for the 2014 season and continued his success on the mound. He made 25 starts that year and posted an 8-5 record with a 3.22 ERA, two complete games, and 123 strikeouts over 159.1 innings pitched. Thanks to his performance, Lansford eventually signed in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. He has spent several seasons pitching overseas since.


Three two-time Atlantic League champions are up for selection, but only one will have a spot on the 20th Anniversary Team. Who that will be lies partly in your hands. Cast your vote early and often over the next week for Brownell, Blevins or Lansford by clicking the button below. 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-Starting-Pitcher-12-15

Be sure to check back again next week, as we’ll reveal our group of three nominees for the starting pitcher spot representing the 2016-18 era of Ducks history, the final starter spot on the team.

20th Anniversary Team Voting – Starting Pitcher (2008-11)

Leek-Cate-Loree

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.

A new week brings a new crop of three starting pitcher candidates to choose from. This week, we focus on the 2008-11 era of Ducks baseball, a four-year stretch that saw the Ducks earn three postseason berths and a trip to the Atlantic League Championship Series. It also saw some of the best seasons ever posted by a Ducks starting pitcher. This trio of starting pitcher nominees for the 20th Anniversary Team includes a two-time Atlantic League All-Star, a pitcher that’s accomplished something no other Duck has, and a former Major Leaguer. Here are the nominees:


Randy Leek
Randy Leek Action Shot

Long Island native Randy Leek is the longest tenured Duck of these three nominees, having spent four seasons with the Flock. The southpaw joined his hometown team first in 2007 and made an impact right away. In 13 appearances (12 starts), Leek posted a 5-1 record with a 2.23 ERA and 62 strikeouts to just 17 walks. That performance was worthy of having his contract purchased by the Toronto Blue Jays and a stint at Triple-A Syracuse. The Mineola native spent the next three seasons with the Ducks as well, earning two Atlantic League All-Star Game selections (2008, 2010). During the latter, he was selected to start the game for the Liberty Division in his home ballpark and collected the win with two perfect innings. In his four seasons with the Flock, the MacArthur High School alumnus set franchise records for wins (40), games started (91), innings pitched (587.1) and strikeouts (356). Although those marks have since been surpassed by John Brownell, he still holds those franchise records for left-handed pitchers. Leek’s legacy remains as one of the top pitchers Ducks fans have ever had the pleasure of watching.


Troy Cate
Cate

Though our second nominee only spent one season with the Flock, his performance that year was one for the memory books. Troy Cate joined the Ducks in 2009 having spent time in the Major Leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals (2007) and having previously been drafted in the sixth round by the Seattle Mariners. The southpaw proceeded to turn in one of the best seasons by a Ducks pitcher, posting a spectacular 13-5 record with a 3.28 ERA, two complete games, and 84 strikeouts over 129 innings of work. The 13 wins were tied for the third-most in the Atlantic League that year behind Somerset’s Jim Magrane (15) and Bridgeport’s Dan Reichert (14). His 3.28 ERA was second-best in the league behind Magrane’s (2.70). His performance in 2009 was instrumental to helping the Ducks earn a playoff berth for the sixth consecutive season, an Atlantic League record.


Mike Loree
Mike Loree Action Shot

Prior to the 2011 season, only one pitcher in ALPB history had ever earned the Pitching Triple Crown (leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts). That was the aforementioned Magrane in 2009 with his 15 victories, 2.70 ERA and 134 strikeouts. Mike Loree joined Long Island in 2011 and became the first, and to this day only, Duck to achieve that feat! The right-hander was dominant from start to finish, posting the most wins (14) and strikeouts (131) in a single-season in franchise history while also posting the league’s top ERA at a miniscule 1.98. Even more impressive was the fact that he only walked 28 batters in 122.2 innings of work. After earning the start for the Liberty Division in the Atlantic League All-Star Game at York, the Villanova University alumnus had his contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates in August. After returning to the Flock in September, Loree continued his dominance in the postseason, winning two of his three starts (both in Game Ones) to help the Ducks to the Atlantic League Championship Series. He turned in a 1.10 ERA and struck out 17 batters, including 10 in Game One of the ALCS, while walking just two over 19 innings. Loree made 18 more starts with Long Island in 2012 before his contract was purchased by the Lamigo Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League. He has spent each season since pitching overseas in Taiwan or Korea.


The decision will certainly not be easy this week, with three more quality candidates to choose from. However, it’s up to you, the fans, to help us decide who will earn the coveted spot on the 20th Anniversary Team. Click the button below now, and throughout the next week, to cast your vote for either Leek, Cate or Loree. 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-Starting-Pitcher-08-11

Be sure to check back again next week, as we’ll reveal our group of three nominees for the starting pitcher spot representing the 2012-15 era of Ducks history.

20th Anniversary Team Voting – Starting Pitcher (2004-07)

Davis-Pulsipher-Ahearne

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.

The first week of starting pitcher voting for our 20th Anniversary Team saw some tight competition among the three nominees. With three candidates who all merited a spot on the team, it was not an easy decision for fans to pick between Rod Henderson, Jim Bullinger and Bryan Rekar. This week, the balloting also figures to be tight with three more outstanding nominees helping determine the top starter from the 2004-07 era of Ducks baseball. Those four years saw the Ducks earn four consecutive playoff berths, the first four in franchise history, as well as their first Atlantic League Championship (2004). Many of the candidates that were position player nominees wore the Ducks uniform during this time period, and there were quite a few impressive pitchers during that stretch as well. Here are our three nominees for this era’s starting pitcher spot:


Lance Davis
Lance Davis Action Shot

Of the three nominees for this week’s voting, no one pitched in more games with the Flock than Lance Davis. The southpaw spent four seasons with the Flock between 2004 and 2008, with the 2006 season being the lone exception as he pitched in the Detroit Tigers organization. During that time, he appeared in 71 games with Long Island, 67 of which were starts, and posted a 32-22 record with a 4.17 ERA, four complete games, two shutouts, and 278 strikeouts over 433.1 innings of work. Davis impressed right off the bat in 2004, going 8-6 with a 3.67 ERA and three complete games during the Ducks’ Championship run. His impressive start to the season earned him an Atlantic League All-Star Game selection and an opportunity with the New York Yankees, who purchased his contract in July. The former Cincinnati Reds pitcher returned to Long Island after making eight appearances (seven starts) at Triple-A Columbus. His return was key, as Davis tossed seven and two-thirds scoreless innings in the decisive Game Three of the North Division Championship Series, clinching the Ducks first-ever appearances in the Atlantic League Championship Series with a 1-0 win over Nashua.


Bill Pulsipher
Bill Pulsipher Action Shot

Former New York Mets phenom Bill Pulsipher also spent four seasons as a member of the Ducks. The southpaw enjoyed a very similar first season with Long Island to that of Davis. He made 18 appearances (17 starts) during the 2004 campaign, compiling a 9-5 record with a 3.67 ERA, four complete games, one shutout, and 85 strikeouts over 115.1 innings. He was chosen to play in the Atlantic League All-Star Game and also had his contract purchased by a Major League club, joining the Seattle Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma, Wash. Like Davis, he was also key to the Ducks playoff run after returning to the team. Facing elimination in Game Two of the North Division Championship Series, Pulsipher earned the first playoff win in franchise history with six and one-third innings of two-run ball. The southpaw then started and won Game Three of the Atlantic League Championship Series on the road against the Camden Riversharks, clinching Long Island’s first-ever ALPB title. After returning to the big leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005, Pulsipher returned to the Ducks for parts of three more seasons from 2005-07. In his four seasons with the Flock, the former MLB second round draft pick totaled a 17-10 record with a 4.17 ERA and 162 strikeouts over 229 innings pitched.


Pat Ahearne
Pat Ahearne Action Shot

Like our first two nominees, Pat Ahearne was also a former Major Leaguer when he joined the Flock in 2006. The right-hander spent time with the Detroit Tigers in 2005 and had also previously pitched successfully in the Atlantic League for four seasons with the Bridgeport Bluefish (1998, 1999, 2002, 2005). As one piece of a very talented team, Ahearne became the anchor of Long Island’s starting rotation. He made 23 appearances (22 starts) during the regular season and went 12-4 with a 3.47 ERA, three complete games, and 105 strikeouts to just 28 walks over 155.2 innings pitched. Those 12 wins ranked third in the ALPB, while his 105 strikeouts ranked seventh. Ahearne deservedly earned an Atlantic League All-Star Game selection and got the ball in Game One of the North Division Championship Series against his former team across the Long Island Sound. Ahearne returned for a brief four-start stint with the Ducks in 2007 before going on to spend parts of two more season with the Bluefish.


For the second week in a row, Ducks fans will need to decide between three starting pitchers who have each pitched in the Major Leagues and who have each earned an Atlantic League All-Star Game selection. Two of the three are also Atlantic League champions, but all three are deserving of a spot on our 20th Anniversary Team. Cast your vote over the next week for whether you feel Davis, Pulsipher or Ahearne should take the starting pitcher (2004-07) spot on the squad. 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-Starter-04-07

Be sure to check back again next week, as we’ll reveal our group of three nominees for the starting pitcher spot representing the 2008-11 era of Ducks history.

20th Anniversary Team Voting – Starting Pitcher (2000-03)

Henderson-Rekar-Bullinger

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 have officially concluded the position player portion of our 20th Anniversary Team voting! These first 11 weeks have flown by, and we have had thousands of votes cast for positions in the infield and outfield. Now we move on to the pitchers, and no good team is complete without a strong starting rotation. For our 20th Anniversary Team, we are having our fans help us determine the best starting pitcher from different eras of Ducks history to fill out the rotation. Our first week of starting pitcher voting will highlight the first four years of Ducks baseball on Long Island from 2000-03. Though the team did not reach the postseason during that timeframe, it did enjoy several seasons with winning records and saw many terrific pitching performances. Let’s take a look at the first three starting pitcher nominees:


Rod Henderson
Rod Henderson Action Shot

The first of these three nominees is the only one that pitched for the franchise during the team’s inaugural 2000 season. In addition, he is also the only player in club history to have thrown a no-hitter. That magical moment, forever etched in Ducks history, came on May 25, 2001, in a game against the Atlantic City Surf at what was then Citibank Park. The right-hander struck out 10 batters that night, walked only two, and became the first pitcher in Atlantic League history to complete the no-no as well. However, that 3-0 Ducks win wasn’t his only great achievement with the Flock. The former Montreal Expos second round draft pick made 29 appearances (27 starts) combined during the 2000 and 2001 seasons with Long Island. Together, he posted a sparkling 17-5 record with a miniscule 2.39 ERA, three complete games, two shutouts, and 162 strikeouts to just 52 walks over 181 innings of work. Henderson earned an Atlantic League All-Star Game selection in 2001, the same year he went 8-4 with a 2.53 ERA. He also had his contract purchased by an MLB club in each season with the Ducks, joining the Seattle Mariners (AAA) in 2000 and the Oakland Athletics (AAA) in 2001.


Jim Bullinger
Jim Bullinger Action Shot

New Orleans native Jim Bullinger is the second of our three starting pitcher nominees for this week. The right-hander joined the Flock back in 2001 after a career that saw him spend seven seasons at the Major League level with Cubs, Expos and Mariners. Like our first nominee, Bullinger also earned Atlantic League All-Star honors during the 2001 season. In nine starts to begin the year, he compiled a dazzling 6-1 record with a 2.28 ERA, one complete game, one shutout, and 25 strikeouts over 47 and one-third innings. The St. Louis Cardinals took notice of the performance and purchased his contract in July, assigning him to the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. Bullinger returned to Long Island in 2002 and made 13 more starts that year. He recorded a pair of complete games and went 4-6 with a 3.80 ERA and 56 strikeouts over 83 innings. The former Cubs draft pick would be traded that season to the Newark Bears and would go on to spend time in the Atlantic League with Newark, Somerset and Camden. He finished his career in 2005 at Triple-A with the Chicago White Sox.


Bryan Rekar
Bryan Rekar Action Shot

Our final candidate closed out his pro career with two seasons on Long Island and is also a former Major Leaguer. Bryan Rekar came to the Ducks in 2003 with eight seasons of MLB experience combined between the Rockies, Devil Rays and Royals. He had been with Kansas City one year prior in 2002 before making his Ducks debut. The Illinois native immediately made an impact as one of the Flock’s top pitchers, putting together a season that saw him go 9-4 with a magnificent 2.12 ERA, three complete games, two shutouts, and 101 strikeouts to a mere 17 walks over 140 innings pitched. Rekar deservingly was selected to play in the Atlantic League All-Star Game, one of eight Ducks chosen that year. The righty returned to Long Island in 2004, and during his time with the club, he started two pivotal, must-win games against the rival Bridgeport Bluefish. On July 11th, with the Ducks needing a win to keep their first half title hopes alive, he fired six and one-third innings of shutout baseball at Bridgeport, yielding just three hits while striking out six batters. The Ducks went on to win the game, 1-0 in 12 innings, forcing a one-game showdown for a playoff berth the following day. That game would eventually get called due to rain with the score tied in extra innings, forcing the now-famous August 9th game between the clubs at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard. Rekar started that game as well and pitched six solid innings, as Long Island won the game 5-4 and clinched their first-ever postseason berth. The Ducks would go on to win their first-ever Atlantic League Championship just over a month later, earning Rekar a championship ring to wrap up his career.


Three starting pitchers, three former Major Leaguers and three Atlantic League All-Stars…that’s quite the group! While all three are deserving of a spot on the 20th Anniversary Team, only one can be chosen as the starter to represent the 2000-03 era of Ducks baseball. Cast your ballot by clicking the button below for which of the three you feel is most deserving. 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-Starter-00-03

Be sure to check back again next week, as we’ll reveal our group of three nominees for the starting pitcher spot representing the 2004-07 segment of Ducks history.

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