A strange thing happened to me a few weeks ago during my stay in Cambridge, Ontario. While enjoying a nice dinner out at Applebee’s, I noticed what appeared to be a Blue Jays shrine at the back of the restaurant.
Not one to pass up a chance to gawk at Blue Jays merchandise, I ventured into the back of the Applebee's to see what it was all about.
Upon closer inspection, it was actually a wall with Blue Jays memorabilia which featured former Blue Jay, Rob Ducey. A native of Cambridge Ontario, Ducey was born and raised in the tri-cities area, and I was very surprised to learn that he was actually from the same city which I was staying in.
Among the memorabilia at the restaurant, it included a letter of congratulations from the Mayor of Cambridge, along with newspaper clippings and an authentic Blue Jays jersey circa early 1990’s.
After digging a little further, I discovered that Rob Ducey is also a member of the Cambridge Sports Hall of Fame.
Ducey's stamp on baseball in Canada is unprecedented, as he is only one of two players to suit up for the Montreal Expos, Toronto Blue Jays, and to represent Team Canada at the Summer Olympics. The other player to do the same - Matt Stairs.
The timing of this post could not have been worse, what with Rob Ducey being let go as pro scout for the team just last week. Most recently, he was designated as the Blue Jays scout to discover talent in the Pacific Rim and overseas. As a scout, Ducey is credited as discovering fellow Canadian Scott Richmond in Edmonton while he was playing for the Independent North League.
It's an unfortunate way for Rob Ducey to end his tenure with the Blue Jays, being let go by the hands of the new General Manager Alex Anthopolous. I can't help but notice the similarities between this situation and Ernie Whitt's termination a few seasons ago. Both were former Blue Jays who returned to the club as a member of the staff only to be let go in another "changing of the guard".
Whether it was as a player, coach or scout, when people look back at Rob Ducey they will always think of him as a Blue Jay and a patriarch for baseball in this country. He might not have the glamour that some other Canadian baseball players, however Rob Ducey still remains as one of the most memorable Canadians to ever play to the game at the major league level.