Dave Duncan Taking Leave Of Absence

Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan is taking a leave of absence due to family matters, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Duncan's wife has been battling cancer and had surgery to remove a brain tumor in August. Joe Strauss of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the team will issue an announcement tomorrow (Twitter links).

“As far as how long he’ll be gone, no one knows,” said GM John Mozeliak to Rosenthal.

Duncan, 66, has been the team's pitching coach since 1995, and he is widely considered to be one of the very best in the game. He was in the second year of a two-year deal signed last offseason. Bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist has filled in for Duncan in the past, though it's unclear if he will do so again.

71 Responses to Dave Duncan Taking Leave Of Absence Leave a Reply

  1. manoman12 4 years ago

    Wow, he will be missed.

  2. wow…

  3. Cory J. Settoon 4 years ago

    Him and La Russa. That’s tough to replace.

    • scott brecht 4 years ago

      Duncan made a more positive impact than LaRussa

  4. gradylittle 4 years ago

    Man, I was upset when Urkel was taken off the air too. 

  5. Seth Guttman 4 years ago


  6. goredsgo 4 years ago

    sux for the cardinals but as a reds fan ill take it

    • MetsMagic 4 years ago

      Huh? Don’t take joy in the fact that someone has to leave his post because his wife has cancer. That goes beyond baseball.

      • TophersReds 4 years ago

        Agreed. I wish nothing but the best for him and his wife.

      • goredsgo 4 years ago

        sorry i didnt see the part where it said his wife had cancer

    • vtadave 4 years ago

      Congrats.  You’ve just won most thoughtless post of the week/year.

      • Wait. Agreed that he should of thought before posting but its not like he said glad his wife got cancer. The way I took it was he showed respect by saying Dave Duncan helped the Cardinals greatly to the point that he thinks it will help his team(reds) be a conteder. Nothing about being glad someone is sick was said. I think we are over reacting here.

      • goredsgo 4 years ago

        that was worse than what cbd put?

    • JacksTigers 4 years ago

      It’s a only a game. He’s taking a leave of absence for a much bigger reason. The love of his life, the one who see’s last at the end of the night and first in the morning, the mother of his kids, is very ill. If something happens, he wants to know that he spent as much time as he possibley could with her. There’s more to life than just baseball.

  7. CyYoungSuppan 4 years ago

    Go Brewers?

  8. highski 4 years ago

    You’ll be missed, Dave!  Thanks for the great work!

  9. Oh no… This has been a terrible offseason for the Redbirds. :(

    • Cory J. Settoon 4 years ago

      At least you got a WS out of it all.

      • We won the WS in the playoffs not the offseason. Playoffs were great, but it’s going to be tough to overcome these key departures.

  10. Beersy 4 years ago

    I guess that is the end of reclamation projects in St. Louis.

  11. Will the Cards still be able to compete at a legit level now? I mean, they still have Berkman, Craig, Molina, Freese, Furcal, Holiday, Carpenter, Wainwright back, Garcia, and now Beltran, but LaRussa, Pujols, and now Duncan gone? Where will they look for a new pitching coach?

    • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

      I heard they’re going to hire Roger Clemens. 


      • Ferrariman 4 years ago

        that wasn’t even slightly funny…

        • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

          Yeah, I guess not. Oh well. I though the match-up of McGwire with Clemens was kind of funny…

      • start_wearing_purple
        start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

        Please, show respect for now.

        • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

          Didn’t mean to show disrespect to Duncan if that’s how anyone took it. My bad.

          • start_wearing_purple
            start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

            Then I apologize. Reading sarcasm on the internet is not always cut and dry.

          • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

            I put that up before seeing that Duncan was leaving his job to be with his ailing wife. Kind of regret that post now.

    • You failed to mention Holiday.

    • Guest 4 years ago

      these guys on the cards staff are mostly vets…they know what to do now…duncan is a great coach and im sure he will be missed but, you guys have a veteran team that mostly gets it…the cards will be fine and personally your only competition will be the reds and i think latos is going to get knocked around in that crackerbox{reds stadium}….st louis finishes 1 with the reds being the wild card to take the division say st louis self destructs, which i doubt it

  12. stl_cards16 4 years ago

    He will be greatly missed by the Cardinals.

    As much as I wanted him back he is making the right choice. He, his family, and especially his wife have been through a lot. Good for him to make the right call and enjoy what’s really important.

    • EdinsonPickle 4 years ago

      I knew his wife was battling cancer although I had no idea how severe it was. I was really hoping that things would turn around for the Duncan family and that she would recover which would allow Dave to return to the game.

      There’s no way anyone could be upset with this. Baseball’s great, but as you said, he has to make the call to take care of what’s really important.

  13. Becky Lee 4 years ago

    you guys are terrible all you can think about is baseball? His wife has cancer but was better this means she has taken a turn for the worst, since nobody else will say it…….prayers to the whole duncan family

    • scott brecht 4 years ago

      how do you know she took a turn for the worse?  don’t spread false information unless you know what you are talking about.

  14. I respect that decision completely. Good luck to Mr. Duncan and his wife. Without question and even in the face of any team loyalties, he’s a fantastic pitching coach. He’ll be welcomed anywhere at any time he wishes to return.

  15. Becky Lee 4 years ago

    they will be fine, will promote within same thing happened at the end of aug and we all know how that turned out

  16. Lastings 4 years ago

    Well, there goes their fifth starter…

  17. The mighty have fallen.. No Pujols, no LaRussa, and no Duncan, LOL.

    • Ferrariman 4 years ago

      …and still favorites for NL Central…

      • Ry.the_Stunner 4 years ago

        That’s extremely debatable.

      • scott brecht 4 years ago

        I think the Reds will take the division.

      • CaseyBlakeDeWitt 4 years ago

        I don’t think there is a clear favorite yet in the NL Central. I would still say it’s close between the Cardinals, Brewers, and Reds.

        • Josher 4 years ago

          No Fielder and Braun out for 50 games. Hard for the Brewers to stay competitive through that. It’s between the Cards and the Reds.

        • Josher 4 years ago

          No Fielder and Braun out for 50 games. Hard for the Brewers to stay competitive through that. It’s between the Cards and the Reds.

      • JacksTigers 4 years ago

        Where’d you hear that?

    • redsx968 4 years ago

      Yea LOL… this is funny… the insensitivity of some of the MLBTR readers astounds me sometimes

  18. KeithLawSucksInStl 4 years ago

    I wish Duncan and his wife the best.

    His presence and knowledge will be missed, but there are things that are much more important than a game, and family is definitely one of them.

  19. melonis_rex 4 years ago

    Best of luck to Duncan and his wife. Beat cancer. 

  20. Noooooooooooooooooooooo :(  We will miss you Dave.

  21. start_wearing_purple
    start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

    Bad for the Cards, but very sad in general. Good luck to the Duncan family.

    I don’t pray for various reasons, but I suggest for those who do that they feel that they should.

  22. Dave 4 years ago

    A bummer, but not shocking in the slightest.   

  23. M_Harden 4 years ago

    Oh, just a leave of absence.

  24. Hope all ends well for the Duncan family.

  25. DT Flush234 4 years ago

    Above all else: wishing the best to Dave, Jeanine, Chris, Shelley and the whole family.

  26. Cancer sucks. 

  27. Lanidrac 4 years ago

    You guys are acting like he’s retiring. It’s just a leave of absense.  He could be back with the club by Opening Day for all anyone knows.

  28. CommissionerBart 4 years ago

    Sending healing energy to the Duncan family. It would be nice if others could do so as well.

  29. rundmc1981 4 years ago

    Best wishes to the Duncans. Focus on the important things.

    • Well said Mr. Carter, very well said. I’m a Reds fan and LaRussa&Duncan have raised my B/P last couple of years. In a time like this I can only say my thoughts and prayers go out to you Mr. Duncan. All the love and respect in the world goes out to you now brother.

  30. Here’s hoping that Dave Duncan’s wife will recover fully.

  31. First of all Prayers to the Duncan family. Secondly, why do so many posters act like Dave Duncan is your friend or nieghbor. You don’t know the guy. This is a baseball topic forum so yeah we are going to talk about baseball, no one on here wants Daves wife to suffer through this awful illness. Why do so many posters put other posters down for not showing the correct amount of symothy? Seems silly. I understand if your family or something but we are jsut fans of a sport. Posters relax! Again prayers go out to the Duncans.

  32. Wishing nothing but the best for the Duncan family. I hope they’re all doing okay during a really tough time.

    Still, I’d like to point out to moaning fans that the Cardinals’ hot streak in September coincided with Duncan leaving the team. In fact, Duncan was hesitant to return because he was afraid to jinx it.

    So let’s not worry too much about the team. They’ll be just fine.

  33. BajaPete 4 years ago

    Cancer’s part of life…just as every other illness is.  I hope she beats it.  But most of these posts are in reply to a couple of thoughtless posters from other teams, which is understandable; especially when the offending parties then come back and deny they meant anything bad and with some even denying they knew the reason was about his wife’s cancer when they made their post…yeah, RIIIGHT!  Getting back to baseball, though, what I’d LOVE to see would be for Johnny Mo go out and hire a pitching coach IMMEDIATELY so we enter ST fully staffed.  My choice?  EASY…John Smoltz!  When he was with us on “active duty” a couple of years ago it was inspiring to see the respect he engendered among the entire staff, but particularly with the youngsters.  Not only  as a pitcher, but as a mentor and leader who knows the game inside out.  Then, IF DD does come back, he can be a sort of “pitching coach emeritus”, mentoring John AND the staff in the secrets which have made him such a great developer, instructor and corrector over the decades.  And eventually, the torch will be passed, but for now the two, together, would be incredible!

  34. scott brecht 4 years ago


  35. stl_cards16 4 years ago

    He is 100% right. As long as there are no major injuries between now and opening day, the opening day roster is better than last year.

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