Pro Corner - Li Ducks(Ray of Light)

Throughout the history of the Long Island Ducks, there have been a number of popular players that have come through the door. Justin Davies may not be a household name around the country, but he was certainly 'The Mayor' of Central Islip. Davies broke in with the team in their inaugural Atlantic League season of 2000 and stayed until announcing his retirement in May of 2006.

Ray Navarrete has taken it to the next level, though. Coming from nearby Port Washington, the 33-year-old returned to the Ducks for his sixth season on Long Island. The Seton Hall product has been named to the Atlantic League All-Star team in four consecutive years and was welcomed back with open arms.

“It’s exciting to bring back such a polished player,” said Ducks president/general manager Michael Pfaff. “Ray is a terrific player who makes us better on and off the field.”

Away from the game, Navarrete has established himself as a clothing designer with his own line called “Digmi.” The idea began while he was in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system and it has continued during the Seton Hall product’s tenure on Long Island.

That began in 2006, which just so happens to be the same year that Davies left. Coincidence? Maybe so, but no matter how you look at it, Navarrete has been the perfect replacement for the former centerfielder.

That first summer was cut short when Navarrete was signed by the Mets and finished the year at Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Norfolk. When his contract was up, the Teaneck, New Jersey native found himself back with the Ducks. A breakout year ensued, with the infielder being named to the All-Star team and hitting .307 with 42 doubles and 18 home runs.

Navarrete made it to another All-Star Game in 2008 but really came into his own the following year. Not only did he make it three consecutive All-Star nods, but also won the Atlantic League MVP Award by batting .309 and adding 25 home runs and 96 RBI.

“We’re very happy for Ray and proud of his accomplishments,” Ducks CEO/principal owner Frank Boulton said at the time. “[He] has been our MVP for several years now and now he is the league’s. This is a well-deserved honor.”

Last summer, Navarrete dealt with injuries and played in only 86 games. But his production – while suffering somewhat – didn’t disappear. He managed to hit .275 with 13 long balls and 54 RBI and was part of his fourth mid-summer classic, Atlantic League style.

This season, Navarrete has had a slow start and was hitting only .238 through the first 37 games. But the Ducks have possessed an explosive offense and maintained a slim lead in the North Division. Navarette’s power numbers have been a big part of that, with his seven home runs, six two-base hits and 21 RBI.

In a June 14-1 win over the Barnstormers at Lancaster, Navarrete took sole possession of first place as the Ducks’ all-time leader in runs scored with 427. In case you couldn’t guess, he surpassed none other than Davies.



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