Hicksville Native a Rising Star on Long Island Ducks

Kraig Binick at bat during a recent game for the Long Island Ducks (courtesy of LI Ducks)
Kraig Binick at bat during a recent game for the Long Island Ducks (courtesy of LI Ducks)

Every young ballplayer’s dream is to play professional baseball. For Long Island’s own Kraig Binick, this dream has become a reality—and in his own backyard.

Binick, 26, has starred for the Long Island Ducks this season and leads the Atlantic League with a .409 batting average. The outfielder has been the team’s spark plug, highlighted by his streak of reaching base safely in 24 straight games.

More so than his torrid start, it’s the proximity to his home that has meant the most to Binick.

“I know what baseball means to Long Island,” said Binick. “Even when I go on the road, I represent where I was born and raised. Just to play on the field in front of my friends, family and people from Long Island, it just pumps you up.”

Born in Hicksville, Binick played baseball and football at Chaminade High School in Mineola before earning a baseball scholarship to NYIT in Westbury.  Under head coach Bob Hirschfield, Binick learned not only the many intricacies of baseball but also valuable life lessons that he practices today.

Hirschfield preached that baseball is a game of failure, but he claimed the best players have a short-term memory in preparing for their next at-bat.

“It’s not about the success,” said Binick. “It’s about how you pick yourself up after failure.”

Once Binick understood these lessons, he was ready for the next level. The Baltimore Orioles selected him in the 27th round of the 2007 MLB Draft. After four years in the minor leagues, Binick is back home but still playing professionally.

He attributes his fast start to his hard work in the batting cage but also to the influence of the Ducks coaching staff and long-time Ducks infielder Ray Navarette. Binick has confided in Ducks manager Kevin Baez and bench coach Buddy Harrelson, both of whom have a plethora of Major League experience.

“Everywhere you turn at the ball park you can get useful information,” said Binick. “It’s a different experience than anywhere else.”

With just over a month of the season complete, the Ducks (20-12) are currently in first place in the Liberty Division, and Binick has been a major contributor to the team’s success. Still, the speedy outfielder is more concerned with seeing the team play the best baseball possible.

Over the next few months, Binick’s goal is to “just win a championship and play as hard as I can. May the ball roll where it goes.”