Duquette's friends from Amherst remember Dan. an English lit major, as being very studious. He did, however, cut class on Oct. 2, 1978, to go see the Red Sox-Yankee playoff game at Fenway Park—"the B.F.D. game," he politely calls it. The D is for Dent.
During the summer Duquette and his older brother, Dennis, ran their own semi-pro team, the Dalton Collegians, and that kind of work really appealed to him. "We did everything," says Duquette, "from organizing to groundskeeping to scouting. It was great experience." Eager to pursue a career in baseball after college, Duquette wrote to several Amherst alumni, including Pittsburgh Pirate owner Dan Galbraith and Milwaukee Brewer general manager Harry Dalton.
Dalton invited Duquette to meet with him in April 1980, when the Brewers were in New York. "The interview took place in the visiting dugout at Yankee Stadium," says Dalton. "He impressed me so much that I offered him a job right away as an assistant in our scouting department." Dan and his high school sweetheart, Sharon Brophy, promptly decided to get married. "Actually, she asked me," says Dan.
"Dan's idea of a honeymoon was a doubleheader at Wrigley Field on our way to Milwaukee," says Sharon.
"Don't forget," says Dan, "we also stopped at Niagara Falls."
Duquette got off to a shaky start with the Brewers, leaving his first game on July 4 in the fifth inning. "Harry made it pretty clear to me that baseball people are expected to stay until the end of the game," says Duquette. He hasn't made many mistakes since. Among the players he scouted for Milwaukee were Darryl Hamilton, Greg Vaughn, Jaime Navarro, Dave Nilsson and Gary Sheffield.
Duquette took a step up to director of player development when he joined the Expos in October 1987, a year after Dan's father died, at 49. "Uncle Dennis was bragging on Danny even then," says Dan's cousin, Jimmy Duquette, the assistant farm director of the Mets. "So you can imagine how he would feel now."
Delino DeShields, Marquis Grissom and Moises Alou were just a few of the players who blossomed in Duquette's farm system. In January 1990 he was promoted to assistant general manager of the Expos. Less than two years later, on Sept. 19, 1991, he became Montreal's impossibly young (33) general manager alter Dave Dombrowski left to build the expansion Florida Marlins, taking a lot of the Expos' front-office people with him.
Disaster loomed for the Expos, what with a kid G.M., severe payroll restraints, lagging attendance and a gutted front office. But the wholesale departures were a blessing in disguise for Duquette, who was able to rebuild the Montreal organization with his own people. During the '92 season he fired manager Tom Runnells and hired the long-overlooked Felipe Alou, who had been a successful manager in the Expos' system. He traded three fringe players to the Cincinnati Reds for future closer John Wetteland and dealt soon-to-be-free-agent Andres Galarraga to the Cardinals for future ace Ken Hill. In '92 Duquette was voted Major League Executive of the Year by The Sporting News, and last year the Expos stayed in contention until the last week of the season.
Daunting as the culture of Quebec can be to statesiders, the Duquettes were perfectly happy there. Dan Jr. and Dana were both born in Montreal. Denise was enrolled in a French-speaking school and thus talks with a soupçon of an accent. Dan, who is an accomplished cross-country and Alpine skier, embraced the winters. Still, there was a part of him that was rooting for the home team. Says Ryan, who is Dana's godfather, "Knowing Dan's love for the Red Sox and his belief in player development, it must have killed him when the Sox traded Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling, then Jeff Bagwell, then Phil Plantier. You'd think they would have learned after selling Babe Ruth."