Shelley Duncan’s days in pinstripes came to an official end today, as the fun-loving, 30-year-old slugger elected to become a free agent rather than accept an outright to Triple-A Scranton.
It was only two years ago that Duncan became a cult hero in the Bronx, swatting three homers in his first three days in the majors. He went on to hit seven homers in 34 games that year – six of them in front of the home crowd – and his all-out style of play made him one of the most popular guys on the team in 2007.
Duncan never really got a chance to show he could play every day in the majors, but after watching him punish minor-league pitching this year – he won the International League’s MVP award after hitting .277 with 30 homers and 99 RBI in 123 games for Scranton – I would hope that some team would give him a shot next spring.
He appreciated every moment he had in the big leagues. When asked ‘how he was doing’ by a beat reporter, he was often quoted saying “Great. Every day in the big leagues is a great day” even if he was in the midst of one of his many slumps. But it looks like any more days in the bigs will have to come elsewhere.
While his time with the team was short and relatively unremarkable from a Baseball standpoint, he did leave us with some lasting memories as Yankee fans. Home Runs in his first trip around the league followed by strikeouts on a steady diet of breaking balls thereafter. Hand slaps so hard that Torre told him to do fist bumps instead. Always in the middle of every fight, a spikes up slide to the groin of an opposing player and a moment that a kid in Fenway will never forget. Consider the following images my tribute to Shelly’s time in pinstripes-
So long Shelley, it’s been fun.
In other ex-Yankee news, in a link to Peter Abraham’s Twitter former Yankee backup Catcher and president of the ‘Sal’s Pals’ fan club Sal Fasano has been named manager of the Blue Jays Low-A Lansing Lugnuts affiliate. Good luck to Sal, he has a son with a heart condition and has always been a fan fave wherever he’s been.