Positions: 2b, 3b, ss
Teams: Philadelphia Stars (1940-1949), Homestead Grays (1949-1950)
Height: 5' 10'' Weight: 170
Born: December 20, 1922, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Entering the Negro National League in 1940 at age seventeen, the light-hitting, smooth-fielding, versatile infielder played for the Philadelphia Stars for the duration of the 1940s. After his rookie year, when he hit .234 while playing third base, he moved to shortstop. His batting average dropped considerably as the teenager encountered difficulties adjusting to major-league pitching, batting only .146 and .117 for the next two seasons. After holding down the starting shortstop position through the 1943 season, he temporarily lost his starting position in 1944 but raised his average to .233 while splitting his playing time between second base and shortstop.
That season allowed him to gain additional experience and maturity and, at age twenty-one, he regained his regular spot in the lineup in 1945, and responded with a .277 batting average. That year began four seasons as the starting second sacker for the Stars, and he registered averages of .209, .216 and .268 in 1946-1948. Although usually hitting in the lower part of the batting order, Duckett was a good bunter and moved up to the number two spot in the lineup in the latter season.
Following the demise of the Negro National League, he began the 1949 season with the Stars but soon joined the Homestead Grays, who had dropped out of league play and were playing as an independent ballclub. When the Grays broke up after the 1950 season, Duckett also ended his career. He had an average arm and a modicum of speed and power, and was known more for his glove than for his bat, but he still had his moments at the plate. He enjoyed the memory of successful forays against Satchel Paige, which he considers highlights of his career. After baseball he worked as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Philadelphia.
Baseball Career Highlights:
"Being voted Negro National League "Rookie of the Year"
After baseball, Duckett worked briefly for the City of Philadelphia and then as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service until he retired in 1988.
Awards, Honors, Titles, Championships,
• Overbrook High School Hall of Fame (Philadelphia) Inductee
• Negro National League "Rookie of the Year" in 1940
NLBM Legacy 2000 Players' Reunion Alumni Book, Kansas City Missouri: Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Inc., 2000.
James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.