The 2000 Philadelphia Phillies: The tale of Rob Ducey

5 Mar 1999: Rob Ducey #25 of the Philadelphia Phillies (No photo credit given in Getty Images database)
5 Mar 1999: Rob Ducey #25 of the Philadelphia Phillies (No photo credit given in Getty Images database) /

Our ongoing trek through the mess that was the 2000 Philadelphia Phillies takes a strange detour with the tale of outfielder/extra man Rob Ducey.

Rob Ducey had a career year in 1999, his first season with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Unfortunately, for a player of Ducey’s caliber, “career year” translated to a .261 average with 8 home runs and 33 RBI over 227 plate appearances in 104 games. Still, he was back in the fold for the team in 2000, which should tell you all you need to know about where that club was headed. But Ducey actually had his batting average up over .300, albeit in sporadic playing time, as late as mid-May that season. Then, reality set in.

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He collected just six hits total between May 16 and July 1, dropping his average down to .203. He’d break that slump when he had a huge day on July 2 against the Pirates, collecting a pair of home runs and 5 RBI. It was literally a career day, as it was the only time he ever homered twice in a major league game (31 career bombs), and he set his high for RBI in a game. After that, however, he had only two more hits as a Phil (both coming in a 3-RBI game a week later), and he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later on July 26. And that closed the book on Ducey’s time in Philadelphia.

Except it didn’t.

A week later, the Phils dealt Mickey Morandini to Toronto, and I have to admit that I don’t ever remember the Mick playing for the Blue Jays. He probably doesn’t either. At any rate, the price for Morandini was yet another “player to be named later”. And two days later, that player turned out to be, you guessed it, Rob Ducey.

Was Ducey really the player to be named later in his own trade? Honestly, I always thought so, but technically he wasn’t. Because Toronto sent a guy named John Sneed to the Phils to actually complete the first Ducey deal. Sneed never made the bigs, and he only ever pitched one inning in AAA, so it’s not surprising that nobody remembers him. Ducey simply goes down as the guy who came to the Phils for Morandini and becomes much less interesting, going from a guy who got traded for himself to a guy that just got sent back where he came from because another team realized he wasn’t any good. Ducey’s time in Toronto saw him collect two hits in 13 at bats, by the way. For Ducey, a Toronto native, it was hardly a dream come true.

Upon his triumphant return to the Phillies, Ducey would go 10-for-46 for the rest of the 2000 season, with nary a home run and just 5 RBI. And that was the end of his time with the Phillies.

Except it wasn’t, because they still employed him in 2001. Come on.

Ducey only managed six hits in 27 at bats before the Phillies finally cut ties with him on June 7 that season. The Expos would claim him five days later, and he appeared in 27 games with them before rupturing his Achilles tendon while trying to rob the Braves’ Brian Jordan of a three-run home run. That would spell the end of Ducey’s major league career.

Next. 2000 Phils: Lights out in Georgia. dark

There you have the odyssey of Rob Ducey. I was going to wait until later in summer to write about him on the 20th anniversary of one of his Phillies-related trades. But since there’s nothing going on, I figured this was as good a time as any. I’m also still not convinced that a 54-year old Ducey isn’t waiting in his bunker somewhere, waiting to reappear on the Phillies when they get back to action.