World Series Game Seven: Kinsler vs. Duncan, battle for Oro Valley goldby Christopher C. Wuensch on Oct. 28, 2011, under Sports
SPOILER ALERT: DAVE DUNCAN WINS THE FOURTH WORLD SERIES RING OF HIS CAREER AS THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS BEAT THE TEXAS RANGERS IN GAME SEVEN OF THE 2011 WORLD SERIES
New York parades its champions down the Canyon of Heroes. Bean Town floats its title-winners in duck boats throughout Boston.
The City of Tucson ought to think about instilling a Valley of Gold Parade.
Game Seven of the 2011 World Series plays out tonight in St. Louis and, regardless of the winner — the Cardinals or the Texas Rangers — a family in Oro Valley will rejoice.
The only question remaining is: will it be the Kinsler or Duncan family?
Ian Kinsler was born and raised in Oro Valley, a suburb of the Old Pueblo.
His path to the World Series began at the baseball factory Canyon Del Oro High School and took the second baseman to Central Arizona Community College, Arizona State, the University of Missouri and eventually to the Texas Rangers (17th round, 2003 draft).
Kinsler is hitting .318 in the Fall Classic with 7 hits, 2 RBI, 2 runs and a .464 on-base percentage.
If it weren’t for the torrid hitting of teammate Mike Napoli (.375, 2 HR, 10 RBI) Kinsler could be in the running for series MVP considerations with a solid Game Seven.
A championship for Kinsler would make him the fourth Canyon Del Oro alum to win a World Series in the past six years — joining former high school teammates Brian Anderson (Chicago White Sox, 2005); Chris Duncan (St. Louis Cardinals, 2006); and Shelley Duncan (New York Yankees, 2009).
Kinsler, ironically, is the more accomplished of the CDO World Series winners, hitting 17 more career home runs and 33 more RBI’s than Anderson and the Duncan brothers combined.
If the two-time All-Star wins a World Series, that’ll leave only Scott Hairston (New York Mets) from the CDO teams of the late 90’s not to reach baseball’s apex — a fairly amazing accomplishment for a public school.
In the opposing dugout tonight is another OroValley resident with his own thoughts of winning a World Series.
The Duncan family has rung up their fair share of rings — enough to bling-out out an entire hand.
St. Louis Cardinal pitching coach Dave Duncan — father to the aforementioned Chris and Shelley — surely wouldn’t mind adding a sixth ring to the proverbial Duncan family hand.
Duncan won a title as a catcher for the 1972 Oakland Athletics, who knocked off the Cincinnati Reds in seven games.
He also served as pitching coach for the World Series-winning A’s team of 1989 and the Cardinals of 2006 — both alongside the Cards’ current manager Tony LaRussa. LaRussa and Duncan met in the A’s organization in the late 60′s and have been coaching together since teaming up in 1983 with the Chicago White Sox.
Duncan’s quest for a fourth ring took a hit in Game Five, after a bullpen flap cost the Cardinals the game and seemingly took an emotional toll on the squad.
In a communication error that LaRussa attributed to “crowd noise,” the Cardinal bullpen warmed up and sent out the wrong pitcher at a critical junction of the game, which the Cards dropped 9-7 whenTexas scored twice during the chaotic eighth inning.
After the game, LaRussa and Duncan took the blame.
For Duncan, it’s a rare miscue in his 45-year career in the Big Leagues. Duncan has been a pitching coach for 34 consecutive years with five teams — 16 of them with the Cardinals.
A win tonight and Game Five will be nothing more than a footnote in history. It’s already been overshadowed by the Cardinals’ monumental come-from-behind win in Game Six.
Both incidents set up tonight’s decisive Game Seven. The only question left now is: who is going to bring home the gold to OroValley.