Dukes meet goal of visiting all 30 major league ballparks
MADISON – Fulfilling a honeymoon pact, Roderick and Becky Duke have succeeded in visiting all 30 major league baseball parks.
The Dukes were married June 20, 1975 at Oak Level Baptist Church in Cullman County and honeymooned in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Rod suggested they end the week by visiting Atlanta for a Braves game.
“Becky was game,” he said about attending the Braves versus Cincinnati Reds game. Ralph Garr, Dusty Baker and Daryl Evans were Braves stars. On the Reds side, starters were Pete Rose, Ken Griffey, Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan.
During their travelling, the Dukes often attended baseball games, eventually setting a goal to visit all major league parks in 30 years, about one park per year of marriage.
Over the years, they’ve seen Hank Aaron hit homeruns, a no-hitter by the Braves’ Kent Merker and Lee High School’s Craig Kimbrell get a save. They judged Wrigley Field as the best park for its tradition and history, followed by Fenway and Dodger stadiums. “The worst park was Oakland,” Ed said.
In July, they met their goal to visit all parks: Cleveland Indians versus Texas Rangers in Cleveland on July 27; Detroit Tigers vs. Philadelphia Phillies, July 28, Detroit; and Minnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals, July 30, Minneapolis, Minn.
From all 30 parks, the highlight occurred when the entire Duke family saw the Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Dodgers, “the sixth perfect game pitched in National League history on July 28, 1991,” he said.
After reaching their goal, the Dukes will concentrate on University of Alabama in Huntsville basketball and Gulf South Conference arenas.
Rod is executive vice president for Qualis Corporation. Years ago, Becky worked as an accountant until daughter Lydia was born. The Dukes’ daughters are Amanda Brown of Huntsville, a logistics specialist with Wyle CAS, and Lydia Pinkston of Madison, a network engineer with API Digital.
“Our secret to such a long marriage is to have fun together, trust each other and continue to enjoy each other’s company,” he said.