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One of the last of the Boys of Summer, and a familiar voice and face to Expos fans in their early days, has passed on.


Duke Snider arrived in Brooklyn in 1947, a 20 year old outfielder from Los Angeles. He spent two years going back and forth between the big club and the Dodgers AAA teams in St. Paul and Montreal before seizing hold of the centre field job in 1949. He gave the Dodgers four very good years in his first four full seasons - he hit .298/.363/.507, averaging 26 HRs and 98 RBIs, while playing a fine centre field. And then he got really, really good. Over his next five years, Snider hit at least 40 homers each year, hitting .311/.407/.618. He was a great, great player during those years, great enough to be part of the conversation over who was the greatest New York centre fielder - Willie, Mickey, or the Duke. Anytime you can be part of that conversation and not get hooted out of the room.... you're some kind of ballplayer.


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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mick Doherty - Sunday, February 27 2011 @ 10:22 PM EST (#230908) #

Wow, Mags, I was just writing up the same story -- came to post it and saw you beat me to it. Here's what I wrote:

So long, Duke
Edwin "Duke" Snider was the third-best centerfielder in the five boroughs of New York City in the 1950s.

Still,there's no doubt  the 400-homer, sweet-swinging, wonderfully-gloved Brooklyn Dodger, the third mentioned in the chorus of that great tune, "Talkin' Baseball," ("Willie, Mickey and the Duke") was an easy and obvious Hall of Fame selection

The .295 career hitter didn't have Willie Mays' glove, or Mickey Mantle's multiple championship rings, but there isn't a team in baseball right now that wouldn't love to have Duke in center and hitting third.

Canadian baseball fans may remember Duke more recently as a television announcer for the Montreal Expos; he'd also played in that city in his pre-Dodger days with the Mondtreal Royals.

Read more abour the passing of the Duke, a true loss for all of baseball, here on ESPN Los Angeles.

Magpie - Sunday, February 27 2011 @ 10:42 PM EST (#230909) #
As is well known, Snider had the great good fortune of being the only left-handed hitter on a team that was an offensive powerhouse, but very much a right-handed powerhouse. The other NL teams simply refused to throw a LH starter against the Dodgers of Robinson, Campanella, Hodges, and Furillo. The Braves used to have Warren Spahn skip his turn when the Brooklyns were on the schedule. Warren Spahn! And so Snider had fewer than 1000 ABs against southpaws in his long career, roughly 12% of his career plate appearances. Ted Kluszewki, in a much shorter career, had almost 50% more ABs against southpaws than Snider - Eddie Mathews had more than twice as many, to name a couple of LH sluggers from the NL of those days...
John Northey - Monday, February 28 2011 @ 11:22 AM EST (#230919) #
After the way the radio stations were saying Snider was the last of the position players from the 1955 'Boys of Summer' it made me think about who will be the last ever player from ...

The 1950's NY teams that dominated baseball
The various teams that moved (especially who will be the last living Expo in about 60-70 years)
From various decades

Checking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_living_Major_League_Baseball_players you can see who the oldest guys are.

11 guys are left from the 1930's, with another 49 from the 40's (at least) who are still kicking. Emilio Navarro is the oldest pro-ballplayer - he spent his whole career in the Negro Leagues and is currently 105 years old (!)
Magpie - Monday, February 28 2011 @ 11:46 AM EST (#230924) #
Snider was also one of the greatest World Series performers ever - he twice hit four HRs in a series, and his 11 career Series homers is more than anyone except Mantle, Ruth, and Berra. The lists of career leaders for WS batting often consist of a bunch of Yankees and Duke Snider (just as the lists for pitchers name a bunch of Yankees, Bob Gibson, and Christy Mathewson.)
Dewey - Monday, February 28 2011 @ 12:07 PM EST (#230926) #
The thing I remember about Snider is his lack of flashiness.  I mean that as a high compliment.  He almost never drew attention to himself.  Slam!  Ballís over the fence;  and Duke, head down, is trotting quickly back to the dugout.  One of the those players that just quietly beat the crap out of you.  No styliní, no fingers thrust at the heavens.  A fine, fine player.  And by all accounts a good man.


Dewey - Tuesday, March 01 2011 @ 11:22 AM EST (#230953) #
My previous post exemplifies the risks of sentiment and nostalgia.  Of course, Duke didnít do styliní.  Nobody of his generation did.  It was BTV (before television).  Styliní came along about 20 years after Snider came to the Show,  in the early 1970ís,  with the generation that had never known a world without television.  Ricky Henderson was an early exemplar.  (And reading the obits, it seems that Duke wasnít all that nice a fellow either:  his tax-evasion activities and other matters make me wince with embarrassment.)  I have to be a bit slower on the ďsendĒ button.  Sorry.
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, March 01 2011 @ 01:12 PM EST (#230960) #

Dewey, don't apologize for childhood memories -- they're always through rose-colored lenses. I could fiind out athat Tom Seaver committed multiple homicide while playing illegally-acquired Napster files and he'd still be Tom Terrific to me! Always!

P.S. our legal department demands that I include the ollowing disclaimer:
To our knowledge, Mr. Seaver has never been involved in illegal file-sharing OR murder. The illustrative example above is mere fiction.

Mike Green - Tuesday, March 01 2011 @ 01:34 PM EST (#230961) #
Say it aint so, Mick.
92-93 - Tuesday, March 01 2011 @ 04:11 PM EST (#230964) #
My great uncle Herman Levy was a clubhouse attendant for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and he always spoke fondly of The Duke. If this 6 year old hadn't decided to play catch with it, The Duke's signature would still be visible on a ball signed by the 1955 World Series Champion Brooklyn Dodgers.
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, March 01 2011 @ 04:28 PM EST (#230966) #

Michael,

The quote is "Say it ain't so, JOE." Mick, of course, followed Joe in CF for the great Yankees teams  of the '50s...

J

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