Thursday, September 24, 2009

Duane Covey

Duane Covey - Outfielder/Pitcher - '69-'72
Duane Covey the best hitter in Roosevelt High School history? A strong case can be made in support of this Rider legend.
Duane's baseball career is strongly anchored in the Northeast Seattle community. The legend's career started with North East Seattle Little League, progressed to two years of North Seattle Pony League and eventually moved on to Babe Ruth, prior to his arrival at Roosevelt. Duane's youth baseball highlight occurred at the end of the 9th grade when he played on a Babe Ruth team that traveled to Illinois and finished 3rd in the Junior Babe Ruth World Series.
At Roosevelt Duane was a three year letterman for the Roughriders. Going into his Senior year he figured he was going to be the team's star pitcher. However arm problems limited his pitching opportunities, so he turned to the bat. Duane hit .489 - (wood bat era) for the Riders in 1972, the best batting average for any high school player in the State that year.
During the summer following the end of his Roosevelt career Duane played in the City/State All-Star Game held at Sick's Stadium. Duane also spent part of that summer playing with future Major Leaguers Floyd Bannister and Ken Phelps on this area's Senior Babe Ruth team; a team that traveled to North Carolina to win the Senior Babe Ruth World Series.
Duane played and lettered four years for the Washington Huskies. He batted .354 (again wood bats) for the Huskies his Senior year. He was named to the All-Pac 8 Conference team in both his Junior and Senior seasons. In 2000 he was one of a select group of players named to the Huskies All Century Baseball Team.
Following his Husky career Duane was given an opportunity to play for $500 a month for the Eugene Emeralds of the Cincinnati Reds organization. While he possessed a major league arm and bat, he knew two bad knees would keep him from ever making the majors, so he decided it was time to set his baseball career aside for a business career.
What was Duane's most memorable experience as a Rider?During his Senior year, in a game at Roosevelt, he crushed a ball that hit off of the top of the tennis court fence in right center field. While rounding the bases admiring his shot he slipped and fell on a soft spot on the base path. What would have been one of the most talked about home runs in Rider history, turned into the most talked about triple in Rider history. (Ironically, the start of the game had been delayed 30 minutes so the spot where Duane ended up slipping could be repaired.)
Why was Duane such a good hitter? Duane credits his hitting prowess to 20/10 vision, quick wrists, and a love for batting practice. Duane states that, "When he was a kid he would rather hit BP than watch cartoons". Duane attributes his quick wrists to years of doing what current Rider players know as "Forearm Rope Drill".
What was Duane's hitting style?Duane describes himself as a left handed Edgar Martinez - a hard line drive hitter with a bad set of wheels.
Who were the best players Duane played with and against? Phelps and Bannister were the best players he played with. Scott MacGregor was the best player he played against. MacGregor was later a 20 game winner for the Baltimore Orioles. The best athlete Duane ever faced was Steve Bartkowski of the California Bears. Bartkowski, better known as a football player, was also an outstanding pitcher. Even though Bartkowski was the best athlete Duane ever played against, Duane never the less managed to hit a home run off the Bear ace.
Post Baseball CareerToday Duane Covey helps Roosevelt alums and the community with their financial needs as an investment advisor for Edward Jones Investments.

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