By Pat Ciarrocchi
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When the Taney Dragons take the field tonight, Mahlon “Duck” Duckett will be watching every move.
Duckett is the last surviving member of the Philadelphia Stars, Philadelphia’s team in the Negro Baseball League.
And at 92-years-old, Duckett says he is a Taney fan and he knows good baseball when he sees it.
“The first time I saw them, I couldn’t believe my eyes. They didn’t look like kid ballplayers, they looked more professional.”
The Taney Dragons capitivated Duckett, first by their play.
“They know the game and they play the game like experienced people. They have so much discipline on the team.”
The bond of their teamwork and friendship got his attention too.
“It’s like one big family. And they all love each other, like you said, they’re from all over the city.”
But it’s Mo’ne Davis, the pitcher with the long braids, the girl, that’s stunned him.
“She’s a girl. I never thought she could pitch like this. She throws a good fast ball, a curve ball. I don’t know who taught her the game. She’s outstanding.”
He adds, “When I first saw her she was like an old pro out there.”
The field where Mo’ne and the Taney Dragons learned to play ball is the same South Philadelphia playground where Duckett learned the game, almost a century ago.
Then, for Duckett, the big league was the Negro Baseball League, where he played for the Philadelphia Stars from 1940 to 1950.
“In our league, we played for the love of the game. We went out there because we wanted to win.”
The Taney Dragons could say the same thing.
“This is something outstanding for the city. They all are kids that listen and are willing to learn. They act like they know the game. Just keep on winning, that’s what I say.”
That’s what Philadelphia is saying too.
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