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Elijah Dukes

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Elijah David Dukes

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Elijah Dukes was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 3rd round of the 2002 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Kevin Elfering and made his pro debut the next summer.

Dukes hit a home run for the Devil Rays against the New York Yankees in his first major league game, April 2, 2007.

Dukes grew up in very difficult circumstances, and had difficulty shaking off some of the bad habits he had acquired as a youth, even after he had become a successful baseball player. During his short playing career, he made the news more often for his troubles with the law, including allegations of domestic violence, evading child support and fathering children out of wedlock, than for his on-field prowess. His reputation as a troubled character made him a player that teams wanted to avoid, and he washed out of baseball rather quickly, playing only three seasons in the major leagues. He was released by the Washington Nationals in spring training in 2010 and could could only find work in the Independent Leagues that year. He played 28 games for the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League and showed that he still had major league batting skills at 26 - he hit .366 with 7 doubles and 5 homers in 28 games. However, he had burned all of his bridges in organized baseball, and unable to find further employment in baseball, retired.

Not surprisingly, Dukes was back in the news for behavioral problems shortly after leaving baseball. In February of 2012, he was pulled over by police in Florida for a routine traffic stop, and was found trying to swallow the marijuana he had with him in the car. He was charged with possession of marijuana and drug parapharnelia as well as destroying physical evidence. He failed to appear in court to face the charges however, which led to another arrest the following January. In addition to the outstanding charges, he was found to have been driving with a suspended license and was immediately jailed.

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