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Chris Duncan

A photo of Chris Duncan.

Christopher Edwin Duncan (May 5, 1981 – September 6, 2019) was an American Major League Baseball left fielder/first baseman. He was the son of former Oakland Athletics catcher and former St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan. His older brother Shelley was also an outfielder and first baseman.

Early life[]

Duncan is a graduate of Canyon del Oro High School in the Tucson suburb of Oro Valley. He was drafted by the Cardinals in 1999 and made his debut with the big club on September 10, 2005. On October 2, 2005, he became the last player to hit a home run at Busch Memorial Stadium during the regular season.


After spending most of the first half of the 2006 season working his way into the regular roster, Duncan hit very well and ended the season with impressive power numbers. In 2006, he was third in all of baseball behind David Ortiz and Ryan Howard in homers per at bat for players with at least 75 at bats. For the season, Duncan hit 22 home runs in only 280 at bats.

In the 2006 World Series, Duncan appeared in three of the five games, batting 1 for 8 with an RBI. He committed an error in the fourth inning of Game 5 which was promptly followed by a two-run homer by Sean Casey, and misplayed a fly ball by Casey, which was ruled a double, in the sixth inning. However, Duncan and the Cardinals won the game and the Series, defeating the Detroit Tigers four games to one.

Following the 2006 season, Duncan was named the team's Rookie of the Year. [1]


Duncan became a regular starter in 2007, playing 127 of the team's 162 games that season. He batted .259/.354/.480, hitting 21 home runs (2nd on team) and 70 RBI (2nd on team), and third in doubles (20). He started 90 games in the outfield, committing two errors, which was an improvement from 2006, when he committed 6 errors while playing in both right and left field. He also finished second in total bases (180). He lead the team in strikeouts with 123.

On September 20, 2007, Duncan underwent surgery for a sports hernia. It was successful and he returned to the clubhouse on September 22. His brother, Shelley, also suffered a sports hernia; the brothers are very competitive and had been trying to outdo one another in their workouts.[citation needed]

Mark McGwire has served as his hitting coach since 2007.[2]


In 2008, after hitting .252 in 127 at bats, Duncan was sent down to the triple-A Memphis Redbirds. Joe Mather took his spot on the Major League roster. Duncan was recalled in June to fill the hole at first base, which was left open after Albert Pujols went on the disabled list for a period of 15 days. He would spend most of his time in the outfield after Pujols returned to the lineup.

On July 22, Chris was placed on the disabled list after experiencing severe discomfort in his arm, hand, and neck. The club called the injury a "pinched nerve".

On August 2, it was reported that Duncan would miss the rest of the 2008 season after having surgery to address a herniated cervical disk in his neck. He ended the season with a .248 batting average, 6 home runs, and 27 RBI over 222 at bats.


After recovering from surgery that ended his 2008 season, Duncan has hit only .227, with just 5 homers and 32 RBIs in 260 at bats with the Cardinals.

On July 22, Duncan was optioned to the Cardinals AAA affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds. He was traded later that day to the Boston Red Sox along with a player-to-be-named-later or cash for shortstop Julio Lugo and cash considerations.[3]. As soon as the trade was made, Duncan was optioned to the Red Sox AAA affiliate Pawtucket Red Sox.[4]


In October 2012, Duncan was diagnosed with a brain tumor. As of March 2013, he was undergoing chemotherapy.

Duncan died on September 6, 2019 after succumbing to brain cancer.

See also[]

  • List of second generation MLB players


External links[]