Rob Ducey turns 58 today.
Rob was born in Toronto. He signed as a minor league free agent with the Blue Jays 1984. That year Rob started his career in Medicine Hat and hit very well .302/.406/.523. He moved up the system quickly, hitting above .300 most seasons, with good power, many walks, and some stolen bases.
Rob made it to the Jays in 1987 and played was them for most of May, hitting just .148 and was sent back to Triple-A to be recalled in September. He spent bits of the next six seasons with the Jays, but it was tough to break into the Jays’ outfield when we had Bell, Moseby, and Barfield. Then, in May of 1992, the Jays traded Rob and Greg Myers to the Angels for Mark Eichhorn, a pretty good deal for the Jays.
Over the next few years, Ducey bounced around through many different teams. First, he went to the Rangers from the Angels, then Mariners, Phillies, back to the Jays, Phillies again, and the Expos. He was the first Canadian to play for both the Jays and Expos.
Over 13 seasons, he played 703 games and hit .242/.331/.396 with 31 home runs and 146 RBI. But, unfortunately, he never became the player we hoped he would, maybe because he didn’t get a real chance at the right moment.
And he spent two years with the Nippon Ham Fighters (which seems like the most fantastic name in professional sports). He hit .248/.358/.491 in his two seasons there with 51 home runs.
Ducey played for Canada in the 2004 Olympics and coached for us in the 2006 WBC and the 2008 Olympics. After that, the Jays employed him as a scout for the Pacific Rim until October 2009. Since then, he’s worked for the Phillies and Rays.
He’s been running the baseball program at a high school in Florida for the last couple of years.
I have fond memories of Rob, and it was unfortunate that the best outfield we’ve ever had blocked him from playing. And then, when it looked like he would get a full-time job, he fell on wet turf at SkyDome (they were a little slow in closing the roof) and wrecked his knee. I guess it wasn’t meant to be for Rob and the Jays. But he had a long major-league career. He seemed like one of the good guys.
Happy birthday, Rob. I hope it is a good one.
It is also Wilmer Font’s birthday. He turns 33.
Wilmer pitched for the Jays in 2019 and 2020. We picked him up in a trade from the Mets in July of 2019. He pitched in 23 games (14 as the opener) down the stretch. He had a 3.66 ERA. Unfortunately, 2020 didn’t go as well for Wilmer. He pitched in 21 games and had a 9.92 ERA before his release. That seems to be the end of his MLB career (unless, you know, someone gives him another shot).
Wilmer’s been pitching in the Korea Baseball Organization for the last two years. He’s made 53 starts with a 21-11 record and a 3.03 ERA.
Font pitched six seasons for six different MLB teams, with a 5.82 ERA in 96 games.
Happy Birthday, Wilmer.
Joe Kennedy was also born on this day in 1979.
Joe also ended his career with the Jays, signing at the end of August 2007 after the Diamondbacks released him. He pitched in 9 games for us.
He had a seven-year MLB career, with a 43-61 record and a 4.70 ERA in 222 games, 139 starts playing for the Rays, Rockies, A’s, Diamondbacks and Jays.
After finishing that season with the Jays, Joe died of heart disease on November 23, 2007. According to his Wikipedia page, he would be the best man at his friend’s wedding later that day. He was just 27.