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Duke Snider

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Number retired 6 July 1980
Duke Snider
Position Center Field
MLB Seasons 18
(11-Brooklyn, 5-LAD, 1-NYM, 1-SFG)
Teams Dodgers
Mets
Giants
Debut 17 April 1947 (Dodgers)
Final Game 3 Oct. 1964
(3 Oct. 1962 as a Dodger, NL Playoff game SF-6 LA-4)
Total Games 2,143 batting
(1,918 fielding)
NL Pennants 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1959 (Dodgers)
World Series Teams 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1959 (Dodgers)
Allstar Teams 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956 (Dodgers);
1963 (Mets)
Awards The Sporting News Major League (& NL) Player of the Year (1955)
MLB RBI Leader (1955 - 136)
MLB Home Run Leader (1956 - 43)
National Baseball Hall of Fame
(3 August 1980)
Nickname
"The Duke of Flatbush"
"The Silver Fox"

Edwin Donald "Duke" Snider ( September 19, 1926 - February 27, 2011), nicknamed "The Silver Fox", was a former Major League baseball center fielder and left-handed batter who played with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers (1947–62), New York Mets (1963) and San Francisco Giants (1964). Growing up in Southern California, Duke was a gifted all around athlete and strong armed quarterback in high school who could reportedly throw the football 60 yards on the fly. Spotted by one of Branch Rickey's birddog scouts in the early 1940s, he was signed to a baseball contract out of high school. He played briefly for Montreal in the International League in 1944 (batting twice) and for the Newport News in the Piedmont League in the same year. Serving in the military in 1945, he came back to play for Fort Worth in 1946 and for St Paul in 1947. He played well and earned a shot with the Big Club (Brooklyn) later that year. He started the next season (1948) with Montreal and after tearing up that league with a .327 batting average, he was called up to Brooklyn during mid season for good.

In 1949 he came into his own, hitting 23 home runs accompanied with 92 runs batted in, also helping the Dodgers break into the World Series. Snider also saw his average rise from .244 to a respectable .292.

File:Duke snider 57Topps170.jpg
Baseball Hof
Duke Snider
is a member of
the Baseball
Hall of Fame

From 1947 to 1956, Brooklyn ruled the National League. They benefited greatly from a large network of minor league teams created by Branch Rickey in the early 40's. It is here when the system called the "Dodger Way" of teaching fundamentals took root. From that large network of teams, a number of young talented players began to blossom at the same time: Snider, Hodges, Erskine, Ralph Branca, Clem Labine, Furillo, Campanella, Don Newcombe, Joe Black and Jim Gilliam.

By 1949, Snider, as he matured, became the triggerman in a powerladen line-up which boasted the likes of Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges and Carl Furillo. Often compared favorably with 2 other NY center fielders, Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, he was the reigning "Dook" of Flatbush. Usually batting third in the line-up, Snider earned his sobriquet by putting up some tremendous offensive numbers on the board: He hit 40 or more home runs in five consecutive seasons (1953–57) and averaged 42 home runs, 124 RBI's, 123 runs and a .320 batting average between 1953-1956. He led the league in runs scored, home runs and RBI's in separate seasons. He became the 3rd player (following Babe Ruth and Ralph Kiner) to have at least 5 consecutive 40-home run seasons. Nobody joined the list until Ken Griffey, Jr. in 2000. He appeared in six post-seasons with the Dodgers (1949, 1952–53, 1955–56, 1959), facing the New York Yankees in the first five and the Chicago White Sox in the final. The Dodgers won the World Series in 1955 and 1959.

Snider's career numbers took a dip when the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958. Coupled with an aching knee and a 440 foot right field fence at the cavernous Coliseum, Snider hit only 15 home runs in 1958 as he entered the "decline" phase of his career. Injuries and age would eventually play a role in reducing Snider to part-time status by 1961. In 1962, when the Dodgers led the NL for most of the season only to find themselves tied with the hated Giants at the season's end, it was he and 3d base coach Leo Durocher who reportedly pleaded with Manager Walter Alston to bring Hall of Famer pitcher (and Cy Young award winner that year) Don Drysdale into the 9th inning of the 3rd and deciding play-off game. Instead, Alston brought in Stan Williams in relief of a tiring Eddie Roebuck. A 4-2 lead turned into a 6-4 loss as the Giants rallied to win the pennant. For his trouble, Snider was sold to the Mets. It is said that his roommate, Don Drysdale, broke down and cried when he got the news of Snider's departure. He proved to be a sentimental favorite among former Dodger fans who now rooted for the Mets, but after one season, he asked to be dealt to a contending team.

Snider was then sold to the Giants on Opening Day in 1964. He retired at the end of the that season. In 18-year career, he batted .295 with 407 home runs and 1333 RBI in 2143 games. Snider went on to become a popular and respected play-by-play announcer for the Montreal Expos from 1973 to 1986.

Duke Snider was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with Al Kaline, in 1980.

Duke Snider died of an undisclosed illness on February 27, 2011 in Escondido, California.

AccomplishmentsEdit

  • 8-time All-Star (1950–56, 1963)
  • 6-time Top 10 MVP
    • 1950: 9th
    • 1952: 8th
    • 1953: 3rd
    • 1954: 4th
    • 1955: 2nd
    • 1956: 10th
  • .540 Slugging Percentage (37th all-time)
  • .919 OPS (50th all-time)
  • 3,865 Total Bases (87th all-time)
  • 407 Home Runs (41st all-time)
  • 1,333 RBI (77th all-time)
  • 1,481 Runs Created (74th all-time)
  • 850 Extra-Base Hits (65th all-time)
  • 17.6 At Bats per Home Run (59th all-time)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers Career Leader in Home Runs (389), RBI (1,271), Strikeouts (1,123) and Extra-Base Hits (814)
  • Hold Los Angeles Dodgers Single-Season record for most Intentional Walks (26 in 1956)
  • Only player to hit four home runs (or more) in two different WS (1952, 1955) (1st NL player with 4 homers in one World Series(.
  • Hall of Fame (1980)
  • In 1999, he ranked number 84 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

TransactionsEdit

  • 1944: Signed as an amateur free agent by the Brooklyn Dodgers
  • 1 April 1963: Purchased by New York Mets from Los Angeles Dodgers
  • 14 April 1964: Purchased by San Francisco Giants from New York Mets
  • 6 October 1964: Released by San Francisco Giants

See alsoEdit

External links Edit

Preceded by:
Ted Kluszewski
National League RBI Champion
1955
Succeeded by:
Stan Musial
Preceded by:
Willie Mays
National League Home Run Champion
1956
Succeeded by:
Hank Aaron

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