Chris Duncan, the former outfielder who helped the St Louis Cardinals win the 2006 World Series, has died aged 38.
Duncan, son of former St Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan and brother of former major leaguer Shelley Duncan, succumbed to brain cancer on Friday in his hometown of Tuscon, Arizona.
‘The Cardinals are deeply saddened by the passing of Chris Duncan and extend our heartfelt sympathy to his wife, Amy, the entire Duncan family, and his many friends,’ Cardinals Chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr said in a statement.
‘Chris was an integral part of our 2006 championship team and a great teammate and friend to many in the organization.’
Duncan hit .257 with 55 home runs and 175 RBIs in 381 games in five seasons with the Cardinals from 2005 to 2009.
After his playing career, he worked as a sports radio host at WXOS-FM in St Louis.
Duncan announced his brain cancer diagnosis in 2012 and underwent chemotherapy.
He left his post at the radio station in January to focus on his health.
‘He will always be a part of our family at the station and a big part of our community. RIP Dunc we love you!’ 101 ESPN Radio in St Louis tweeted after news of his passing broke.
Several members of the Major League Baseball community have also paid tribute to Duncan.
His former manager, Tony La Russa, remembered the outfielder’s massive contributions to the team.
‘He was a tough nails competitor, afraid of nothing,’ La Russa told the St Louis Post-Dispatch on Saturday.
‘And he had special power. He could hit the ball a long ways. He really had the ability to have a long career because he would get enough at-bats to have a good average, which would have included a bunch of production.
La Russa added: ‘My favorite comment to make to Cardinals fans is that every time they enjoy that 2006 championship, they should realize that without Chris’ production when we had all those guys hurt, we wouldn’t have gotten in.’
Duncan’s former World Series teammate Adam Wainwright told the Post-Dispatch: ‘Unfortunately, he’d been struggling for a long time with this. That stuff gets in your brain . . . it’s hard to get it out. I just hope that he’s at peace now.’
Wainwright added that Duncan was equally impressive on and off the field.
‘Great teammate. Incredible teammate. One of the best story tellers in the history of the world. That’s what made him so great on the air.’
‘The guy could sit down and tell you a story. Very similar to (former Cardinal) Lance Berkman, where the whole room gathers around. He was really animated.
‘He got some pretty big hits for us, too. That home run in the World Series was big-time.’
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt called the news of Duncan’s passing ‘way bigger than baseball’.
‘It’s just really sad,’ Shildt said. ‘What a great guy. Way too young. Our condolences go out to Dave, of course, and Shelley. They’re in our prayers.’
Cardinals veteran Albert Pujols, who now plays for the Los Angeles Angels, tweeted: ‘My prayers go out to the family of Chris Duncan tonight. We had some great times as teammates in STL. He was a dear friend and a strong competitor on and off the field.
‘If anyone could have beat this cancer, I always believed Dunc would. Rest in Peace, buddy; you will be missed.’
Former Los Angeles Dodgers player Jerry Hairston Jr also shared his condolences, writing on Twitter: ‘Sad to hear of the passing of Chris Duncan. Fought for such a long time & doesn’t have to suffer anymore. My thoughts are w/ the entire Duncan family. This world is just not fair.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Megan Sheets