Duane B. (Duke) Sims (born June 5, 1941 in Salt Lake City, Utah) was a Major League Baseball catcher who played from 1964 to 1974 with the Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers.
From 1964 through 1970 was a mainstay of the Cleveland Indians and caught Indians pitcher Sam McDowell through his minor and major league career. The Indians pitching staff of 1965-1970 was recognized as one of the best 4 men staffs in an era with starters going every fourth day. After posting his best offensive year playing left field, right field, first base and catching was traded 2 for 1 in 1971 to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Alan Foster and Ray Lamb and hit a career high .274 in 1971.
Placed on waivers by the Dodgers, Billy Martin took him to the Detroit Tigers in August 1972. His first game as Tiger resulted in a 3 for 5 day with game tying double and game winning off Gaylord Perry, Cy Young winner that year. Subsequently hit .316, 10 game winning or tying hits while catching for Tigers in the Eastern Division Championship season. Played in all 5 games in the championship series both in left field and catching. Was the catcher in game 2 when Bert Campneris threw the bat at Lerrin LaGrow after being hit on the ankle.
Duke left the Tigers in September 1973 and caught the final game in Yankee Stadium before it was remodeled and started the season with the Yankees in 1974 at Shea Stadium before being traded to the Texas Rangers for a player to be name later. (Larry Gura)
Duke holds the distinction of finishing his career with exactly 100 home runs, the current record for a player hailing from the state of Utah. Sims is also credited as the last person to hit a home run in the "old" Yankee Stadium. He did it as a member of the Yankees in an 8–5 loss to the Detroit Tigers on September 30, 1973.
By Dean Hanley
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