John Ducey was a player, umpire and administrator in Alberta for more than 60 years. As a 13-year-old, he served as a batboy at Diamond Park for teams that played against the Western Canadian Professional Baseball League’s Edmonton Eskimos. In his first season in that role, the Eskimos squad boasted future legends Babe Herman and Heinie Manush.
Ducey would play first base for the city’s senior amateur club from 1925 to 1930, before commencing his umpiring career. One of the Hall of Fame’s inaugural inductees, Ducey umpired professional and amateur contests from 1931 to 1945. After serving in front office positions with American Hockey League teams in Springfield and Buffalo, Ducey returned to Edmonton in 1946 to begin his career as a baseball executive, promoter, general manager, scout and coach. His tenures with the Class A Western International League Edmonton franchise (1946 to 1960) and the Canadian team that finished second at the Global World Championships in Japan in 1957 are two of his most successful.
For his efforts, Ducey was named Edmonton’s Sportsman of the Year twice (1954, 1957) and was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 1980. He served in a prominent role with the Edmonton Oldtimers Baseball Association until he passed away in 1983. After his death, the Edmonton Trappers (Triple A club) renamed their ballpark in his honour.