Cardinals pitching coach and resident Jedi Master, Dave Duncan, has taken a leave of absence from the team due to “family reasons”. As a fan of baseball, the Cardinals, and the man himself, I sincerely wish him and his family nothing but the best. His wife, Jeanine, has been involved in a well-documented fight with cancer, and having her husband by her side sure beats the heck out of him being on the road for half the year. At least, that’s the assumption that many are making, and I tend to agree with it. Maybe Dave will spend a lot of time at home playing Xbox 360 and get on his wife’s nerves. It seems unlikely that Dave is an Xbox guy, so he’s probably staying home to care for his wife and provide support.
None of this is news, unless you spent all of yesterday under a rock without cellular and internet access. Even if you didn’t spend time under a rock, there may be a lot about Dave Duncan that you don’t already know. It’s time to change that. Here are 10 things that you probably don’t know about Duncan.
- Dave Duncan played catcher in the major leagues for 11 seasons, spending time with the Kansas City Athletics, Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians, and finally the Baltimore Orioles.
- Duncan’s career line is .214/.279/.357/.636 with 617 hits in 3190 plate appearances.
- He averaged a home run every 26.5 at-bats for a total of 109 dingers.
- Dunc played in 2 postseasons and boasts a stat line of .308/.400/.385/.785 with 2 rbi in 3 series.
- In 1964 Duncan was the youngest player in the American League at age 18.
- In his 1972 season, Duncan made only 5 errors in 1003.1 innings and threw out 36% of all attempted basestealers.
- Aside from Tony La Russa, Duncan had another connection to St. Louis before coaching for the Cardinals. In March of 1973, he was traded along with George Hendrick to the Indians. “Silent” George eventually made his way to the Cardinals and spent about 6 1/2 seasons in St. Louis.
- When Duncan started working for the Cardinals in 1996, the bullpen coach was some guy named Bob Gibson.
- Under Duncan’s tutelage, the Cardinals ranked 1st in ERA in 2005 (3.49) with an ERA+ of 122. The starting rotation consisted of Chris Carpenter, Jason Marquis, Mark Mulder, Jeff Suppan, and Matt Morris.
- Baseball definitely runs in the Duncan family. Sure, you probably already know about both Chris Duncan and Shelley Duncan, but Dave’s nephew, Eric Duncan, was drafted in 2003 by the Yankees. Must be tough to be the person pitching in the family wiffle ball game.
The point of passing along this information isn’t simply to educate people about Dave Duncan. The real purpose is to point out just how little us fans know about the coaches, managers, and players we watch on a regular basis. Coaching is just a part of Duncan’s career in baseball, and that career is just a small part of his life as a whole. That’s exactly how it should be.
I don’t really give a crap about how Duncan’s absence may or may not impact the Cardinals as a team. I care about how the reason for his absence impacts Dave, his wife, and their family.
TIDBIT: If when you think of Dave Duncan, your focus is solely on how much the Cardinals will miss his presence, then you are doing life wrong.
Follow gr33nazn on Twitter for a solid debate on Dave being a “Slam” Dunc for the HoF coaches wing!