Leon James Carmel
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 202 lb.
- High School Benjamin Franklin High School (New York)
- Debut September 10, 1959
- Final Game April 30, 1965
- Born April 23, 1937 in New York, NY USA
Duke Carmel, a big left-handed swinging first baseman-outfielder, was signed as an amateur free agent by the St. Louis Cardinals shortly before the 1955 season. The 18-year-old started his career with the Albany Cardinals in the class D Georgia-Florida League, where he appeared in 24 games and hit .292.
Duke was with six different minor league clubs before appearing in 10 games with the Cardinals in 1959. In 1960 he was at Sportsman's Park for a four-game appearance. He had a two-year stint in AAA ball and came back to St. Louis in 1963 where he appeared in 57 games for the Cardinals, hitting only .227. He was traded to the New York Mets on July 29th for Jacke Davis and cash. He finished the year with the Mets, playing in 47 games and hitting .235.
Carmel spent 1964 with the AAA Buffalo Bisons, where he had a batting average of .271 and hit 35 homers and was chosen for the All-Star team. On November 30th, the New York Yankees drafted him from the Mets in the 1964 Rule V Draft. Duke got into 6 games for the Yankees in 1965 with no results and ended his four-year major league career at this point, having played in 124 games, with 227 at-bats, and 48 base hits for a .211 career average.
Duke spent the rest of his career in AAA ball, ending his pro baseball career after 13 years of play in 1967. His minor league stat sheet shows that he appeared in 1,366 games with 4,285 at bats and 1,050 base hits, including 198 home runs and a career batting average of .245.
With his name he might have been a natural for having a candy bar named after himself. But he probably would have had a better chance had he put up numbers in the majors like the .324 batting average, 29 homers and 121 RBIs he had in 1957 when he led the Billings Mustangs to the Pioneer League pennant, or the 35 home runs he hit for Buffalo in 1964.
After baseball, Duke became a salesman for a liquor distributor and made his home in Coram, New Jersey.