The St. Louis Cardinals were devastated on Saturday when news broke that former outfielder, Chris Duncan had passed away at the age of 38. The cause of death was a lengthy battle with brain cancer. Duncan revealed his diagnosis in January 2012 and underwent chemotherapy in pursuit of achieving his health. He was able to return to his job as a radio personality for WXOS following successful surgery, but his cancer came back in March 2018.
In his career, Duncan spent five years with the Cardinals and appeared in 389 games. He was also named Rookie of the Month in August 2006. According to team chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., Duncan was "an integral part" of the 2006 championship and a great teammate and friend to many in the organization, per CNN.
“The Cardinals are deeply saddened by the passing of Chris Duncan and extend our heartfelt sympathy to his wife, Amy, the entire Duncan family, and his many friends,” DeWitt said. “Chris was an integral part of our 2006 championship team and a great teammate and friend to many in the organization.”
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Chris Duncan after his courageous battle against brain cancer.
We extend our heartfelt sympathies to his wife, Amy, the entire Duncan family, and his many friends. pic.twitter.com/vCpZTsMXXZ— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 7, 2019
Duncan was originally drafted 46th overall by the Cardinals in 1999 but didn't make his first professional appearance until 2005. Despite the later start on the national stage, Duncan quickly made his presence felt by hitting 22 home runs in 90 games and being named as the team's Rookie of the Year by the St. Louis media.
Following the news of Duncan's passing, the fans of MLB and former players alike took to social media to share their condolences. By all reports, he was loved by teammates and other players in the league.
Following his final game as a member of the Cardinals in 2009, Duncan became a host for ESPN Radio St. Louis. His voice was trusted by many in the area, especially when it came to discussions of his former team. Unfortunately, fighting brain cancer did cut his time at the station short, but Duncan's impact was clearly felt by those that he worked with on a routine basis.
It’s with an extremely heavy heart that we announce that our former teammate Chris Duncan lost his battle today. He will always be a part of our family at the station and a big part of our community! RIP Dunc we love you! pic.twitter.com/IWqB9z2sAv— 101 ESPN Radio St. Louis (@101espn) September 7, 2019
Albert Pujols was the man drawing all of the attention during the 2006 World Series, but even he knew that Duncan was a critical part of this Championship-winning team. The outfielder made multiple plays at critical moments as an outfielder, and his home runs helped the Cardinals achieve victory en route to the World Series title.
My prayers go out to the family of Chris Duncan tonight. We had some great times as teammates in STL. He was a dear friend and a strong competitor on and off the field. If anyone could have beat this cancer, I always believed Dunc would. Rest in Peace, buddy; you will be missed. pic.twitter.com/YtXis3jkFt— Albert Pujols (@PujolsFive) September 7, 2019
Whether or not you are a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals or the 2006 World Series team, there is no denying that seeing Chris Duncan pass away from brain cancer was awful. He was a beloved figure by players and radio hosts alike, and the loss just hurts his family. At times like this, it's only possible to pray for peace for those affected.
Sad and heartbroken to hear about the death of Chris Duncan. God Bless his soul and God Bless his family. 🙏🏾— Rene Knott (@reneknottsports) September 7, 2019
As a former World Series Champion, Jerry Hairston Jr. had mutual respect for Chris Duncan. The former MLB star spent 16 seasons in the league, including stints with the Dodgers and Yankees, and he was active during Duncan's career. he saw the impact that the outfielder had on the Cardinals, and he respected it.
Sad to hear of the passing of Chris Duncan. Fought for such a long time & doesn’t have to suffer anymore. My thoughts are w/ the entire Duncan family. This world is just not fair. #Cardinals #RIP #MLB pic.twitter.com/5Er6yC5WKk— Jerry Hairston, Jr. (@TheRealJHair) September 7, 2019
One common theme with the news of Chris Duncan passing away was that he "lost his battle" with brain cancer. Well, one MLB fan does not agree with that assessment. Anyone who is fighting cancer, in their opinion, does not lose. They are strong for trying to survive. Ultimately, the battle just ends. It's not a matter of winning or losing.
Very sad news. He didn’t lose this battle, he was a warrior. People don’t lose battles to cancer. It’s sometimes a situation you cant overcome, by even the strongest there are.— TaddyHoose (@TaddyHoose) September 7, 2019
There are obviously thousands of fans who became attached to Chris Duncan due to the plays that he made on the baseball field. However, there is also a considerable number that actually became fans due to the way he affected the radio station. The type of humor that Duncan used was instantly relatable to thousands of fans, and they couldn't get enough of his appearances.
He was the reason I started listening to 101 years ago, so funny and full of life, his self-deprecating humor was the best. RIP @chrisduncan11 ❤️🙏🏻❤️— Rachel Gonzalez (@Swizayne) September 7, 2019
In the world of professional sports, it's difficult to take a player and immediately slot them into a role where they are on the air for a long period of time. Some have the gift of talking to anyone without issues while others struggle to make the transition. As it turns out, Duncan was someone that succeeded in his new role on the radio. Fans loved his humor, as well as the sweet interactions with his father.
I remember listening to Chris Duncan on 101.1 and I'd always just laugh my ass off. He was hilarous. Then,when his father would come on the air with him, Chris was just so sincere talking to him and would always tell him he loved him at the end of the interview. World class guy— timbo (@TimboBlues08) September 7, 2019