Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dodgers Great Duke Snider, 84 | Baseball Digest

Dodgers Great Duke Snider, 84 | Baseball Digest

In New York’s glory days of baseball, when there were three teams in town, fans argued over who had the greater centerfielder. The Giants’ Willie Mays, the Yankees’ Mickey Mantle, or the Dodgers’ Edwin “Duke” Snider. It even inspired the baseball song, “Willie, Mickey, and the Duke”. Mays is the sole surviving member of the trio after Snider passed away early Sunday at age 84.

Snider played 16 seasons with the Dodgers, beginning in Brooklyn in 1947, and followed the team out west to Los Angeles. He came back to New York for one season with the Mets in 1963 before finishing up his career with the San Francisco Giants in 1964. Snider was beloved by fans of “Dem Bums” and was part of the 1955 squad that finally beat the Yankees in the World Series.

Mantle thought Snider would one day break Babe Ruth’s single season home run record. But the Dodgers great told Milton Richman back in 1957 that he felt no one would ever pass the Bambino. Click here to read all about it.

He was a .295 lifetime hitter with 407 home runs, 1,333 RBI, and 2,116 hits. He was an eight time All-Star and won two World Series rings (1959 Dodgers). He’s the only player to hit four or more home runs in two different World Series (1952, 1955), and yes, he was smooth as silk in centerfield. Snider wore #4 every season, but his final one due to the number being retired for the Giants’ Mel Ott.

Post playing, Snider served 13 years as a broadcaster for the Montreal Expos. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the BBWAA in 1980. The "Duke of Flatbush" is survived by Beverly, his wife of 63 years, and their four children.

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