September 29 – Happy Birthday Shelley Duncan

Long time Yankee fans remember them well. The young slugging prospects brought up to the Bronx from the Yankee’s Triple A team, who start off with a bang and get us believing they may be another Ruth or Mantle in the making. Anyone remember Roger Repoz? He was my personal highlight of New York’s bitterly disappointing 1965 season. For the first time in five seasons the Yankees were about to lose a Pennant race but Repoz’s fourteen home runs in just 79 games that season had me hoping things would be different in 1966. They were. The ’66 Yankees finished in last place and Repoz finished the season in a Kansas City A’s uniform.

They kept coming. Danny Pasqua, Kevin Maas and Shane Spencer were three more-recent power-hitting Yankee phee-noms who faded away after initial homer barrages had us drooling over their futures. Then there was Shelley Duncan. I loved the guy the second I saw him. When Joe Torre inserted his bat into the Yankee lineup after the 2007 All Star break, Duncan responded with seven huge home runs in just 34 games. He hustled like crazy, seemed to be enjoying every second of his big league experience and he brought a much needed jolt of fun and enthusiasm to a stoic Yankee clubhouse. Shelley’s problem was hitting consistency. During his next two seasons he failed to make the team in spring training and when he did get called up to the Bronx, he struggled to hit .200. Plus he was not really a “young” Yankee pheenom, having turned 27 years of age before he made his big league debut in pinstripes.

Today  he turns 32 and he just finished his best big league season as a fourth outfielder and some time DH with the Indians. In fact, during the past two seasons, Shelley has played 160 games for Cleveland and has hit 22 home runs and driven in 83 during that span. The Yankees don’t miss Shelley but I still sort of do.

This former Cy Young Award Winner, this 2011 World Series winner and this one time Yankee shortstop prospect all share Duncan’s September 29th birthday.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2007 NYY 34 83 74 16 19 1 0 7 17 0 8 20 .257 .329 .554 .883
2008 NYY 23 65 57 7 10 3 0 1 6 0 7 13 .175 .262 .281 .542
2009 NYY 11 15 15 1 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 .200 .200 .200 .400
7 Yrs 330 997 885 117 200 42 0 43 144 2 97 243 .226 .305 .419 .724
CLE (3 yrs) 242 770 684 87 158 37 0 33 114 2 73 191 .231 .309 .430 .739
NYY (3 yrs) 68 163 146 24 32 4 0 8 24 0 15 38 .219 .290 .411 .701
TBR (1 yr) 20 64 55 6 10 1 0 2 6 0 9 14 .182 .297 .309 .606
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/29/2013.

2 Comments

Roger Repoz finished the 66 season in Kansas City. He was traded to the Angels in 67.

You’re right Doug. Thanks for pointing out my error. I’ve corrected it in the above post.

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