Dave Duncan (baseball)
Duncan as pitching coach for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007
September 26, 1945 |
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|May 6, 1964 for the Kansas City Athletics|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 1, 1976 for the Baltimore Orioles|
|Runs batted in||341|
|Career highlights and awards|
David Edwin Duncan (born September 26, 1945 in Dallas, Texas) is a pitching consultant to Arizona Diamondbacks' general manager Kevin Towers. A former Major League Baseball (MLB) catcher, Duncan is also a former pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, and St. Louis Cardinals. His MLB playing career started in 1964 and again consecutively from 1967 to 1976 for the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics, Indians, and the Baltimore Orioles. A former All-Star, Duncan hit 109 home runs in 3,192 career plate appearances.
Duncan was signed as an amateur free agent by the Kansas City Athletics in 1963. In his first at-bat as a professional baseball player, he hit a home run for the Daytona Beach Islanders of the Florida State League. Duncan made his major league debut on May 6, 1964 at the age of 18, becoming the youngest player in the American League at the time. He was kept in the major leagues to protect him from being drafted by another team under baseball rules. Duncan returned to the minor leagues for the next two seasons, where he led the California League with 46 home runs for the Modesto A's in 1966. He began the 1967 season with the Birmingham A's but, was brought back up to the major leagues in early June. When his batting average dropped to a .194 in early July, he was returned to Birmingham to work on his hitting. When his hitting showed signs of improvement, Duncan returned to the major leagues in September, along with Reggie Jackson and Joe Rudi.
Athletics' team owner Charlie Finley moved the franchise west to Oakland, California, for the 1968 season, during which Duncan caught the majority of the team's games while platooning alongside Jim Pagliaroni. While he possessed good defensive skills, he only managed to hit for a .191 batting average. His batting average fell further to .126 in 1969 and Phil Roof took over as the Athletic's main catcher. Duncan's hitting improved in 1970 to a career-high .259 batting average along with 10 home runs and 29 runs batted in as, he shared catching duties with Frank Fernández and Gene Tenace, who was called up to the major leagues late in the season. He also missed time due to his commitment to the military reserves. When Duncan made adverse comments about Finley during the season, the owner fired Athletics manager John McNamara in October for failing to control his players, despite the team's second place finish in the American League Western Division.
The 1971 season saw Duncan become the Athletics main catcher, as he guided their pitching staff to finish second in the league in earned run average as well as in strikeouts. Duncan was the catcher for two twenty-game winners in 1971, as Vida Blue won 24 games and Catfish Hunter won 21 games. His offense continued to improve, hitting 10 home runs by mid-season and, was selected as a reserve on the 1971 American League All-Star team, replacing Ray Fosse who missed the game due to an injury. Duncan finished the season with a .253 average with 15 home runs, 40 runs batted in while leading American League catchers in range factor. The Athletics would win the American League Western Division but, were defeated by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1971 American League Championship Series.
1972 would be Duncan's best season offensively as he hit 19 home runs with 59 runs batted in, although his batting average slipped to a .218. He committed only 5 errors in 113 games played for a career-high .993 fielding percentage, second only to Johnny Oates among American League catchers. With Duncan calling the pitches, the Athletics' pitching staff led the league in winning percentage and in shutouts and, once again finished second in earned run average as, the team captured their second consecutive Western Division title. Despite Duncan's production, Athletics manager Dick Williams, a proponent of the platoon system, began using Gene Tenace as the starting catcher during the last month of the season. The Athletics would be victorious over the Detroit Tigers in the 1972 American League Championship Series before going on to defeat the Cincinnati Reds in the 1972 World Series. Tenace would be the star of the series, hitting 4 home runs with 9 runs batted in and, was named the World Series Most Valuable Player.
Although Duncan joined the Athletics in spring training, he became embroiled in a contract dispute with Finley and, in March 1973 he was traded along with George Hendrick to the Cleveland Indians for Ray Fosse and Jack Heidemann. Duncan became the Indians' starting catcher in 1973 however, he broke his wrist on June 28 and missed two months of the season. He finished the season hitting for a .233 average with 17 home runs and 43 runs batted in while leading American League catchers in range factor. He played in a career-high 136 games in the 1974 season but, the heavy workload caused his batting average to fall to .200. In February 1975, Duncan was traded with Al McGrew to the Baltimore Orioles for Don Hood and Boog Powell. With the Orioles, Duncan shared catching duties with Elrod Hendricks during the 1975 season before Rick Dempsey took over as the Orioles starting catcher in 1976. Duncan would be traded to the Chicago White Sox in November of that year. When the White Sox released him in March 1977, he retired as a player at the age of 32.
In an eleven-year major league career, Duncan played in 929 games, accumulating 617 hits in 2,885 at bats for a .214 career batting average along with 109 home runs, 341 runs batted in and an on base percentage of .279. While he was a light-hitting player, he excelled as a defensive catcher, ending his career with a .984 fielding percentage. He was respected during his playing career for his defensive skills and for his knowledge of the game of baseball. In spite of his low average he hit 109 home runs, one for every 26.5 at bats. During his time with the Athletics, he first met future manager Tony La Russa, then a utility infielder with the club.
- Six two-home run games, his team winning all six
- One five-hit game, including four singles and a home run against the Boston Red Sox (July 12, 1972)
- A pair of four-hit games, including two doubles and two singles against the New York Yankees (May 5, 1970) and a record-tying four consecutive doubles off of Luis Tiant of the Boston Red Sox (June 30, 1975). In the other 95 games he played in 1975 he hit only three other doubles.
- Nineteen three-hit games, with the most impressive being two home runs and a double against the California Angels (May 25, 1971)
- One five-RBI game, including a three-run home run, a bases loaded walk, and an RBI single against the California Angels (September 21, 1969)
- Four four-RBI games
- Named to the American League All-Star team
Duncan began his coaching career in 1978 with the Cleveland Indians. After a stint as a pitching coach for the Seattle Mariners in 1982, he joined former teammate La Russa, then manager of the Chicago White Sox. Since that time they have worked together as manager and pitching coach, joining Oakland in 1986 and the Cardinals in 1995.
Pitchers on Duncan's staffs have won four Cy Young Awards: LaMarr Hoyt in 1983; Bob Welch in 1990; Dennis Eckersley in 1992; and Chris Carpenter in 2005. From 1988 through 1990, his Oakland pitchers had the lowest ERA in the American League, and in 2005 the St. Louis staff had the lowest ERA in the majors. La Russa regularly credits Duncan as being a key factor in the success of the teams he has managed over the last 25 years.
Pitching consultant career
Duncan's semi-retirement effectively ended his tenure with the Cardinals. During his sixteen seasons as the Cardinals' pitching coach, the pitching staff had the third-lowest overall ERA in MLB as well as the third-lowest starters' ERA. After taking more time off following his wife's death, Duncan had another staff appointment on an MLB club. On November 13, 2013, the Arizona Diamondbacks announced that they had hired Duncan to be a special assistant general manager Kevin Towers as a pitching consultant. “With Dave, he's going to set his own schedule and it will depend on what he wants to do and what he's capable of doing,” Towers commented of his role. “During spring training, be available to work with pitchers, catchers and pitching coaches as they're preparing for a game. Breaking down video of pitchers we might be considering for the draft. Plus, targeting guys in our system and getting his input – who he likes, who is close."
Duncan lives in Kimberling City, Missouri. He resided with his wife, Jeanine, until her passing June 6th, 2013 after a battle against brain cancer.
His younger son, Chris, was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and made his major league debut in 2005. His older son, Shelley, was selected in the second round of the 2001 draft by the New York Yankees and debuted in the Major Leagues on July 20, 2007.
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- "Dave Duncan Trades and Transactions". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
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- "Promising Hitters to A's; Cards Take 17–1 Whipping". The Fort Scott Tribune. Associated Press. June 8, 1967. p. 6. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
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- "Blue Moon Shipped To Mounties". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. July 3, 1967. p. 8. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
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- "McNamara a gentleman". The Windsor Star. United Press International. October 6, 1970. p. 9. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
- "1971 Oakland Athletics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
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- "1971 American League Fielding Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
- "1971 American League Championship Series". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
- "1972 American League Fielding Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
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- "1972 American League Championship Series". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
- "1972 World Series". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
- "Post-Season World Series MVP Awards & All-Star Game MVP Award Winners". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
- "Duncan Is Traded". The Modesto Bee. Associated Press. March 25, 1973. p. 2. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
- "Duncan, Perry Shine". The Tuscaloosa News. August 19, 1973. p. 6. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
- "1975 Baltimore Orioles". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
- "1976 Baltimore Orioles". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
- Daum, Eric (August 1980). "These Were The Twelve Worst Hitters of the 1970s!". Baseball Digest. Books.Google.com. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
- Doyle, Al (November 2002). "Sustaining a Long Career". Baseball Digest. Books.Google.com. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
- "Mariners name Funk as mound coach for 1983". Ellensburg Daily Record. United Press International. December 23, 1982. p. 10. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
- Vecsey, George (October 16, 1989). "Athletics Praise Duncan". The New York Times. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
- "Duncan rescues Seaver in Chicago victory". Boca Raton News. Associated Press. July 7, 1985. p. 3. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
- "Duncan, McGwire part of returning Cards staff". mlb.com. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
- "Cardinals' Duncan taking leave of absence: Lilliquist to serve as pitching coach; Miller named bullpen coach". MLB.com. January 6, 2012.
- . mlb.com. June 7, 2013 Jeanine Duncan, wife of former Cards coach, dies http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130607&content_id=49929154&vkey=news_stl&c_id=stl Jeanine Duncan, wife of former Cards coach, dies. Missing or empty
- Miklasz, Bernie (November 14, 2013). "Good luck to Dave Duncan". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
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|Seattle Mariners pitching coach
|Chicago White Sox pitching coach
|Oakland Athletics pitching coach
|St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach