Toronto, Ontario born Rob Ducey played for six clubs during a 13-year career in the major leagues and even had a stint in Japan.
The former outfielder holds the distinction of being the first Canadian born player to play for both MLB teams in Canada (Expos and Blue Jays) and also represent Canada in the Olympic Games. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.
Since his retirement, Ducey spent time with the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, serving as a hitting coach, scout and other capacities. He currently lives in Florida but also serves as the hitting coach for the Fubon Guardians of the Chinese Professional Baseball League
In our newest installment of Card Back Q&A, Ducey talks about almost giving up baseball for softball, his beauty pageant wife, his time on the wrestling mats and two distinctions he owns related to the Texas Rangers current and former ballparks.
Tony Reid–The back of your 1989 Topps card stated that you played softball extensively until the age of 16. Is that accurate?
Rob Ducey-It is. Actually I was 15. I played both baseball and softball at the same time. My first full year of straight up baseball, I was 16. I was actually going to quit baseball because it was too slow. It was boring and it was easy. My stepfather told me to give it a chance. Give it one year and if you don’t like it you can always go back and play softball. I was the catcher for the 15-16 year old team. I was the center fielder for the 17-21 year old team and I was the backup catcher for the 21 and over team. It was a crash course in baseball. I played with my age group and playing with the older players helped speed up the process for me.
TR–Your 1989 Topps Big card has a comic strip feel to the card back. It states that your wife is a former Miss Venezuela. They really put your business out there. Is that a true story?
RD-No, that is incorrect. She was the queen of the baseball team. That is a really big deal down there in Venezuela, as far as pageants and things like that for different teams. She ended up winning that pageant and representing the area. That is actually how I met her. I got into an argument with her mom. I didn’t know her. I got into an argument with her mom the night before at the All-Star banquet. She had befriended the American wives. She was sitting at our table. If you watched the game the night before, a guy hit a ball in the gap. I dove and it rolled off my glove. Game Over.
She looked at me and said she was mad at me because I didn’t catch the ball. We started arguing back and forth. She didn’t speak any English and I didn’t speak any Spanish. So my now wife ended up sitting between us so we wouldn’t ague anymore.
TR–An interesting fact on the back of your 1990 Topps card states that you were a competitive wrestler at Glenview Park High School. So you were on the mats mixing it up?
RD– I was but not there. My mother didn’t allow me to play sports my senior year of high school. That’s where I went to high school my senior year but prior to that I was a pretty good wrestler.
TR-The 1991 Topps card states that you were the MVP at Medicine Hat, Alberta in 1984.
RD– That is correct. I just signed and got an opportunity to play rookie ball. I had a really good season. Fortunately, I was nominated as the MVP of the league.
TR– Your 1992 Topps states that you came from a family of five children with four sisters. What was it like growing up as the only boy with four sisters?
RD-I have four older sisters and a single mom. It wasn’t the easiest. I got to understand what they female perspective of life truly is. There was love but it wasn’t easy for me to be the only male in the house. It wasn’t super difficult but it’s just the way it was.
TR- From your 1994 Topps, it states that you were the last Ranger to hit a home run at the Rangers’ old stadium in Arlington. That is a pretty cool fact, right?
RD-Yes it was. I actually have two distinctions like that with the Rangers. I was also the first Texas Ranger to ever make two errors on one game at the new stadium.
It was Opening Day at the new stadium and they had put the sod down late. There were big seams in the sod. Any ground ball that was hit to the outfield went on a big zig zag as far as how it moved. One of them the center fielder actually picked up. He was five or six feet away from me. It went towards him and they gave me the error. I didn’t even touch the ball! They were both hit by Kevin Seitzer. If I ever see Kevin I’m going to let him know what I think of him!