Infielder becomes fourth player in franchise history to earn league honor
(Central Islip, N.Y., Oct. 27, 2021) – The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) today announced that Long Island Ducks infielder Steve Lombardozzi has been named the league’s Player of the Year for 2021. He becomes the fourth player in team history to earn the distinction, joining infielder Ray Navarrete (2009), outfielder Lew Ford (2014) and infielder Jordany Valdespin (2018).
“This is an incredible honor, and I’m both humbled and grateful to receive this,” said Lombardozzi. “It’s never been my focus to win the MVP. My goal has always been to do whatever it takes to help my team win each and every day, so to be rewarded like this is pretty special. I have gone through a lot in my career, many ups and downs, but all of the hard work, training, and preparation going into this season and then performing the way I did has been very rewarding on a personal level. A lot of people attributed to my success this year. I want to thank Wally, Lew, and my teammates. We had a special group of guys this year, we came together as a family and it was a blast playing together. I also want to thank my Mom and Dad, as they have always been there for me and made me into the man I am today. And most importantly, I want to thank my wife, Brooke. She encouraged me and was behind me 100% to go out and play this year, and as I was playing, she was back home raising our little boy and baby girl all on her own. When they could make it to close games, she drove to be there so we could all be together as a family. I’m truly grateful. Thank you.”
Lombardozzi ranked in Atlantic League’s top five for several different offensive categories this season. His 90 walks led the entire league and broke the Ducks franchise record for most walks in a single season, surpassing Justin Davies’ 85 in 2002. The six-year Major League veteran finished second in games played (119), tied for second in the ALPB in hits (143), ranked third in at bats (435) and totaled the fourth-most runs scored (99). Additionally, Lombardozzi ranked sixth in on-base percentage (.405), seventh in batting average (.329) and total bases (221), eighth in RBIs (83) and stolen bases (20) and 10th in doubles (24).
The 33-year-old was a stout defender as well, spending the majority of the year at second base while also seeing time at third base and shortstop. He committed just four errors all season, the fewest among all qualifying infielders in the ALPB, and posted a .992 fielding percentage. He also led the league with 256 assists and helped turn a league-high 78 double plays. Though not a factor in this voting, the second-year Duck led all Ducks players and ranked fifth in the league with a .346 batting average during the Atlantic League playoffs. For his efforts this season, Lombardozzi was voted by Ducks fans as the Delmonte-Smelson Team MVP.
“We are tremendously proud of Steve for all of his accomplishments this season,” said Ducks President/GM Michael Pfaff. “He is a consummate professional, an outstanding representative of the Ducks organization and incredibly deserving of this honor.”
The ALPB also announced on Wednesday that Southern Maryland Blue Crabs starting pitcher Daryl Thompson has been named the Atlantic League’s Pitcher of the Year for a second consecutive season. The right-hander finished the year with a league-best 16 wins against only three losses and also lead the league in ERA (3.20), WHIP (1.12), complete games (4) and innings pitched (169.0).
“Congratulations to Steve and Daryl – both are incredible athletes,” said Rick White, Atlantic League President. “Both players enjoyed remarkable seasons and richly deserve this honor.”
The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, a Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball. Over 8 million fans have enjoyed the Ducks brand of affordable, fun entertainment at Fairfield Properties Ballpark since inception in 2000. For further information, visit LIDucks.com or call 631-940-DUCK (3825).
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
The Atlantic League is the first Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball, a player gateway to the major leagues, and a leader in baseball innovation. The ALPB has sent over 1,000 players to MLB organizations while drawing over 42 million fans to its family friendly ballparks throughout its 24-year history. Please visit AtlanticLeague.com.