Duke Snider

Edwin Donald "Duke" Snider (September 19, 1926 – February 27, 2011), nicknamed "The Silver Fox" and "The Duke of Flatbush", was an American professional baseball player. Usually assigned to center field, he spent most of his Major League Baseball (MLB) career playing for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers (1947–1962), later playing one season each for the New York Mets (1963) and San Francisco Giants (1964).

Snider was named to the National League (NL) All-Star roster eight times and was the NL Most Valuable Player (MVP) runner-up in 1955. In his 16 out of 18 seasons with the Dodgers, he helped lead the Dodgers to six World Series, with victories in 1955 and 1959. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980.

Snider was also an avocado grower. He, along with a partner, had a 60 acre avocado farm south of Los Angeles.[1]

Duke Snider
Duke Snider 1953
Snider in 1953
Center fielder
Born: September 19, 1926
Los Angeles, California
Died: February 27, 2011 (aged 84)
Escondido, California
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 17, 1947, for the Brooklyn Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
October 3, 1964, for the San Francisco Giants
MLB statistics
Batting average.295
Hits2,116
Home runs407
Runs batted in1,333
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction1980
Vote86.49% (eleventh ballot)

Early life

Born in Los Angeles, Snider was nicknamed "Duke" by his father at age 5.[2] Growing up in Southern California, Snider was a gifted all-around athlete, playing basketball, football, and baseball at Compton High School, class of 1944. He was a strong-armed quarterback, who reportedly could throw the football 70 yards.

Minor leagues

Spotted by one of Branch Rickey's scouts in the early 1940s, he was signed to a baseball contract out of high school in 1943.[2] He played briefly for the Montreal Royals of the International League in 1944 (batting twice) and for the Newport News Dodgers in the Piedmont League in the same year. After serving in the U.S. Navy in 1945 and part of 1946, he came back to play for the Fort Worth Cats that year, and also for St. Paul in 1947.

Major leagues

Snider earned a tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers during their spring training in 1947. He got to bat in the opening game on April 17 and hit a single. He played in 39 more games that season and became a friend of Jackie Robinson before he was sent to the St. Paul team in early July. Snider returned to the Dodgers at the end of the season in time for the World Series against the New York Yankees. Snider (after spring training with the Dodgers) started the 1948 season with Montreal, and after hitting well in that league with a .327 batting average, he was called up to Brooklyn in August and played in 53 games. In 1949, Snider became a regular major leaguer hitting 23 home runs with 92 runs batted in, helping the Dodgers into the World Series. Snider also saw his average climb from .244 to .292. A more mature Snider became the "trigger man" in a power-laden lineup which boasted players Joe Black, Roy Campanella, Billy Cox, Carl Erskine, Carl Furillo, Gil Hodges, Clem Labine, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, and Preacher Roe. Often compared with two other New York center fielders, fellow Baseball Hall of Famers, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, he was the reigning "Duke" of Flatbush.

In 1950, he hit .321. When his average slipped to .277 in 1951 (a season when the Dodgers lost a 13‑game August lead and finished second to the Giants after Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World"), Snider was roundly criticized in the newspapers. Snider recalls, "I went to Walter O'Malley and told him I couldn't take the pressure", and, "I told him I'd just as soon be traded. I told him I figured I could do the Dodgers no good." The trade did not happen.[3]

Duke Snider 1954
Snider in 1954

Usually batting third in the lineup, Snider established impressive offensive numbers. He hit 40 or more home runs in five consecutive seasons (1953–1957), and between 1953 and 1956 he averaged 42 home runs, 124 RBI, 123 runs, and a .320 batting average. He led the National League (NL) in runs scored, home runs, and RBI in separate seasons. 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 last. The Dodgers won the World Series in 1955 and in 1959.

Snider's career numbers declined 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. However, he had one last hurrah in 1959 as he helped the Dodgers win their first World Series in Los Angeles. Duke rebounded that year to hit .308 with 23 home runs and 88 RBI in 370 at bats while sharing fielding duties in right and center fields with Don Demeter and rookie Ron Fairly. 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 Snider and third-base coach Leo Durocher who reportedly pleaded with manager Walter Alston to bring in future Hall of Fame pitcher (and Cy Young Award winner that year) Don Drysdale in the ninth inning of the third and deciding playoff game. Instead, Alston brought in Stan Williams to relieve a tiring Eddie Roebuck. A 4–2 lead turned into a 6–4 loss as the Giants rallied to win the pennant. Snider was subsequently sold to the New York Mets. It is said that Drysdale, his roommate, broke down and cried when he got the news of Snider's departure.

When Snider joined the Mets, he discovered that his familiar number 4 was being worn by Charlie Neal, who refused to give it up. Snider wore number 11 during the first half of the season, then switched back to 4 after Neal was traded. He proved to be a sentimental favorite among former Dodger fans who now rooted for the Mets. On April 16, 1963, Snider recorded his 2,000th hit, doing so at Crosley Field against the Cincinnati Reds on a single off Jim Maloney in the 2nd inning. [4] On June 14, he recorded his 400th home run, once again against the Reds, doing so in the first inning off Bob Purkey. [5] He was named to the All-Star Game in Cleveland, his eighth and final selection. He entered the game as a pinch hitter for Tommy Davis in the top of the ninth inning. Facing Dick Radatz, he struck out looking. [6] For the season with the Mets, he appeared in 129 games while batting a slashline of .243/.345/.401, with fourteen home runs, 45 RBIs, 45 walks, and 56 strikeouts. After one season, Snider asked to be traded to a contending team.

Snider was sold to the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day in 1964. Knowing that he had no chance of wearing number 4, which had been worn by Mel Ott and retired by the Giants, Snider took number 28. In 91 games played with the Giants, he batted a line of .210/.302/.323 while having four home runs and 17 RBIs. He had no triples for the first and only time in his career. He had 40 strikeouts and 22 walks. He appeared in three different positions for the Giants, playing 26 games in right field and 18 in left field for a combined total of 288.2 innings. He made 44 putouts, two assists with one error for a .979 fielding percentage. He retired at the end of that season.

He finished his major league career with a lifetime .295 batting average, 2,116 hits, 1,259 runs, 407 home runs, and 1,333 RBI. Defensively, he posted a .985 fielding percentage.

1955 MVP balloting controversy

Snider finished second to teammate Roy Campanella in the 1955 Most Valuable Player (MVP) balloting conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He trailed Campanella by just five points, 226–221, with each man receiving eight first-place votes. A widely believed story, summarized in an article by columnist Tracy Ringolsby,[7] holds that a hospitalized writer from Philadelphia had turned in a ballot with Campanella listed as his first-place and fifth-place vote. It was assumed that the writer had meant to write Snider's name into one of those slots. Unable to get a clarification from the ill writer, the BBWAA considered disallowing the ballot but decided to accept it, counting the first-place vote for Campanella and counting the fifth-place vote as though it were left blank. Had the ballot been disallowed, the vote would have been won by Snider 221–212. Had Snider gotten that now-blank fifth-place vote, the final vote would have favored Snider 227–226.

Sportswriter Joe Posnanski, however, has suggested that this story is not entirely true.[8] Posnanski writes that there was a writer who did leave Snider off his ballot and write in Campanella's name twice, but it was in first and sixth positions, not first and fifth. Had Snider received the sixth place vote, the final tally would have created a tie, not a win for Snider. Additionally, the position was not discarded—everyone lower on the ballot was moved up a spot, and pitcher Jack Meyer was inserted at the bottom with a 10th place vote.

Snider did win the Sporting News National League Player of the Year Award for 1955, and the Sid Mercer Award, emblematic of his selection by the New York branch of the BBWAA as the National League's best player of 1955.[9]

Player statistics

1955 Games PA AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO OBP SLG BA Fld%
Campanella
Snider
123
148
522
653
446
538
81
126
142
166
20
34
1
6
32
42
107
136
2
9
56
104
41
87
.395
.418
.583
.628
.318
.309
.992
.989

Later life

Robert Young Duke Snider Father Knows Best 1956
Snider with Robert Young in Father Knows Best, 1956

References

  1. ^ What's My Line? (2014-01-27), What's My Line? - From Los Angeles (no regular panelists): Duke Snider; Bob Cummings (Jan 12, 1958), retrieved 2019-04-01
  2. ^ a b Jackson, Tony. Hall of Famer Duke Snider, 84, dies. ESPN.com. 2011-02-11.
  3. ^ Stump, Al. "Duke Snider's Story". Sport Magazine Article. SPORT magazine. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2011.
  4. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CIN/CIN196304160.shtml
  5. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CIN/CIN196306140.shtml
  6. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/allstar/1963-allstar-game.shtml
  7. ^ Fox Sports. "Ringolsby: Don't forget the Duke". FOX Sports.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-03-05. Retrieved 2011-03-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ The Duke of Flatbush by Duke Snider and Bill Gilbert
  10. ^ "The Rifleman – The Retired Gun, Episode 17, Season 1". Archived from the original on 2012-03-02.
  11. ^ Lupica, Mike (1995). "The Duke muffs an easy one". The Sporting News.
  12. ^ Sexton, Joe (July 21, 1995). "Tax Fraud: Two Baseball Legends Say It's So". The New York Times.
  13. ^ "100 Greatest Baseball Players by The Sporting News : A Legendary List by Baseball Almanac".
  14. ^ Goldstein, Richard; Weber, Bruce (February 27, 2011). "Duke Snider, a Prince of New York's Golden Age of Baseball, Dies at 84". The New York Times.
  15. ^ "Snider, Duke". Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
1948 Brooklyn Dodgers season

Leo Durocher returned as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers to start the 1948 season but was fired in mid-season. He was replaced first by team coach Ray Blades and then by Burt Shotton, who had managed the team to the 1947 pennant. The Dodgers finished third in the National League after this tumultuous season.

The 1948 Dodgers were very much a work in progress, beginning to coalesce into the classic "Boys of Summer" teams of the 1950s. Gil Hodges was in the opening day lineup, but as a catcher. He would only be shifted to first base after the emergence of Roy Campanella. Jackie Robinson started the season at second base—Eddie Stanky had been traded just before the start of the season to make room for Robinson at his natural position; he had played first base during his 1947 rookie season. Pee Wee Reese was the only "Boys of summer" regular to already be ensconced at his position, shortstop. Billy Cox had been acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates during the offseason, but as one of nine players who would see time at third for the team that year, he only played 70 games at the position. Carl Furillo was already a regular, but in center field. Duke Snider was brought up to the team in mid-season, and it was not until 1949 that Furillo moved to right field and Snider became the regular center fielder.

Preacher Roe and Ralph Branca were in the starting rotation, but Carl Erskine only appeared in a handful of games, and Don Newcombe would not join the staff until the following year.

1950 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1950 Brooklyn Dodgers struggled for much of the season, but still wound up pushing the Philadelphia Phillies to the last day of the season before falling two games short. Following the season, Branch Rickey was replaced as majority owner/team president by Walter O'Malley, who promptly fired manager Burt Shotton and replaced him with Chuck Dressen. Buzzie Bavasi was also hired as the team's first independent General Manager.

Vin Scully joined the Dodgers' radio and television crew as a play-by-play announcer in 1950; in 2016, Scully entered his 67th consecutive season with the club, the longest such tenure in the history of sports broadcasting, that season was the first wherein his voice, as well as of Red Barber's, was broadcast on television station WOR-TV, making the Dodgers the last New York City MLB team to introduce regular television broadcasts, 11 years following the first broadcasts of 1939.

1951 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers led the National League for much of the season, holding a 13-game lead as late as August. However, a late season swoon and a hot streak by the New York Giants led to a classic three-game playoff series. Bobby Thomson's dramatic ninth-inning home run off Dodger reliever Ralph Branca in the final game won the pennant for the Giants and was immortalized as the Shot Heard 'Round the World.

1952 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers rebounded from the heartbreaking ending of 1951 to win the National League pennant by four games over the New York Giants. However, they dropped the World Series in seven games to the New York Yankees. Led by Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, and Duke Snider, the high-powered Brooklyn offense scored the most runs in the majors.

1953 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers repeated as National League champions by posting a 105–49 record, as of 2017, it is the best winning percentage in team history. However, the Dodgers again failed to win the World Series, losing in six games to the New York Yankees.

1954 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1954 Brooklyn Dodgers season was the first season for new manager Walter Alston, who replaced Chuck Dressen, who had been fired during a contract dispute. Alston led the team to a 92–62 record, finishing five games behind the league champion New York Giants.

In addition to Alston, the 1954 Dodgers had two other future Hall of Fame managers on their roster in pitcher Tommy Lasorda and outfielder Dick Williams. First baseman Gil Hodges and reserve infielder Don Zimmer would also go on to successful managerial careers.

1955 Brooklyn Dodgers season

In 1955, the Brooklyn Dodgers finally fulfilled the promise of many previous Dodger teams. Although the club had won several pennants in the past, and had won as many as 105 games in 1953, it had never won a World Series. This team finished 13.5 games ahead in the National League pennant race, leading the league in both runs scored and fewest runs allowed. In the 1955 World Series, they finally beat their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees. It was the Dodgers first and only World Series championship won while located in Brooklyn.

1955 World Series

The 1955 World Series matched the Brooklyn Dodgers against the New York Yankees, with the Dodgers winning the Series in seven games to capture their first championship in franchise history. It would be the only Series the Dodgers won while based in Brooklyn, as the team relocated to Los Angeles after the 1957 season. This was the fifth time in nine years that the Yankees and the Dodgers met in the World Series, with the Yankees having won in 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953; the Yankees would also win in the 1956 rematch.

This Series also marked the end of a long period of invulnerability for the Yankees in World Series. It was the Yankees' first loss in a World Series since 1942 and only their second since 1926. While the Yankees were 15–2 in Series appearances during that time, they would lose again in 1957, 1960, 1963, and 1964, for a record of 4–5 in World Series over the next decade.

1957 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1957 Brooklyn Dodgers season was overshadowed by Walter O'Malley's threat to move the Dodgers out of Brooklyn if the city did not build him a new stadium in that borough. When the best the mayor could promise was a stadium in Queens, O'Malley made good on his threats and moved the team to Los Angeles after the season ended. The Dodgers final game at Ebbets Field was on September 24 as they finished their 68th and last NL season, and their 75th overall, in Brooklyn in third place with an 84–70 record, eleven games behind the NL and World Series Champion Milwaukee Braves.

1958 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The Los Angeles Dodgers took the field before 78,672 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on April 18, 1958, to usher in the beginning of the team's new life in Los Angeles. It was a rough season, as the Dodgers finished 21 games in back of the pennant-winning Milwaukee Braves in the National League standings, but it was the beginning of the second phase for the team. Vin Scully and company moved to KTTV (television) and KMPC (radio) from that year onward, and the Dodgers became one of the first teams that commenced Spanish language radio broadcasts for Latinos, with KWKW as the first station to offer a Spanish-language service.

1959 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers finished in a first-place tie with the Milwaukee Braves, with each club going 86–68. The Dodgers won the pennant as they swept the Braves in a best-of-three playoff series. They went on to defeat the Chicago White Sox in the 1959 World Series in just their second season since leaving Brooklyn. The Dodgers led all 16 Major League Baseball clubs in home attendance, drawing 2,071,045 fans to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

1961 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1961 Los Angeles Dodgers finished in second place in the National League with a record of 89–65, four games behind the Cincinnati Reds. 1961 was the fourth season for the Dodgers in Los Angeles. It was also the Dodgers final season of playing their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, since they moved to their new stadium the following season.

1963 New York Mets season

The 1963 New York Mets season was the second regular season for the Mets. They went 51–111 and finished 10th in the NL, 48 games behind the World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. They were managed by Casey Stengel. They played their home games at the Polo Grounds, the second and final season there for the Mets before moving to Shea Stadium the following season.

1980 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1980 followed the system in place since 1978.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected Al Kaline and Duke Snider.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.

It selected Chuck Klein and Tom Yawkey.

Dave Van Horne

Dave Van Horne (born August 25, 1939 in Easton, Pennsylvania) is a Major League Baseball announcer.

Van Horne has been the lead play-by-play announcer for the Miami Marlins Radio Network since 2001; prior to that, he spent 32 years of his broadcasting career with the Montreal Expos, 14 of those years partnered with Hall of Famer Duke Snider.

List of Los Angeles Dodgers seasons

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the second most successful franchise in the National League and the third-most successful and second-most wealthy in Major League Baseball after the New York Yankees. The franchise was formerly based in Brooklyn and known originally as the "Grays" or "Trolley Dodgers" after the trams which supporters had to avoid to enter games. Later it became known successively as the "Bridegrooms", "Superbas", "Dodgers" and "Robins"; the present "Dodgers" was firmly established in 1932.

The franchise has won the World Series six times and lost a further 13, and like the Yankees and Cardinals have never lost 100 games in a season since World War I, with their worst record since then being in 1992 with 63 wins and their best records ever being in 1953 with 105 wins and both 1942 and 2017 with 104. Their most successful period, between 1947 and 1966 with ten World Series appearances and only two seasons with 71 or more losses (one of them the year they moved to Los Angeles after a dispute over stadium funding), was famous for the Dodgers becoming the first Major League Baseball team to incorporate African American players, led by Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella.

List of Los Angeles Dodgers team records

This is a list of team records for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

Operation Snow White

Operation Snow White was a criminal conspiracy by the Church of Scientology during the 1970s to purge unfavorable records about Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. This project included a series of infiltrations into and thefts from 136 government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates, as well as private organizations critical of Scientology, carried out by Church members in more than 30 countries. It was one of the largest infiltrations of the United States government in history, with up to 5,000 covert agents. This operation also exposed the Scientology plot 'Operation Freakout', because Operation Snow White was the case that initiated the U.S. government's investigation of the Church.Under this program, Scientology operatives committed infiltration, wiretapping, and theft of documents in government offices, most notably those of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Eleven highly placed Church executives, including Mary Sue Hubbard (wife of founder L. Ron Hubbard and second-in-command of the organization), pleaded guilty and were convicted in federal court of obstructing justice, burglary of government offices, and theft of documents and government property. The case was United States v. Mary Sue Hubbard et al., 493 F.Supp. 209 (D.D.C. 1979).

St. Paul Saints (1901–60)

The St. Paul Saints were a baseball team who represented St. Paul, Minnesota in the Western League from 1894 to 1899 and the American Association from 1902 to 1960. They originated as the Sioux City franchise in the Western League which reorganized itself in November, 1893, with Ban Johnson as President. Johnson, a Cincinnati-based reporter, had been recommended by his friend Charles Comiskey, former major league star with the St. Louis Browns in the 1880s, who was then managing the Cincinnati Reds. After the 1894 season, when Comiskey's contract with the Reds was up, he decided to take his chances at ownership. He bought the Sioux City team and transferred it to St. Paul, where it enjoyed some success over the next 5 seasons. The 1920, 1922, and 1923 Saints were recognized as being among the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time.In 1900 the Western League changed its name to the American League. It was still officially a minor league, a part of the National Agreement and an underling of the National League. The NL actually gave permission to the AL to put a team in Chicago, and on March 21, 1900, Comiskey moved his St. Paul club to the South Side, where they became the Chicago White Sox. In 1901, the AL declared itself a major league. In 1902, cast-aside Minneapolis joined St. Paul and other Midwestern cities to form a new minor league, the American Association.

Roy Campanella, Leo Durocher, Lefty Gomez and Duke Snider were among some future major leaguers who played for the Saints. Hall of Fame inductees who managed the St. Paul Saints were Walter Alston in 1948 and 1949, and Charles Comiskey from 1895 to 1899.

After decades of independence, the Saints became a farm club affiliate of the Chicago White Sox (1936–1942), the Brooklyn Dodgers (1944–1957), and the Los Angeles Dodgers (1958–1960). Their Minnesota rivals, the Minneapolis Millers, were during different periods the top minor league affiliate of the New York Giants and the Boston Red Sox.

The Saints played the first two years at the Dale and Aurora Grounds in St. Paul. The Saints also played from 1903 to 1909 at a downtown ballpark located on Robert Street between 12th and 13th Streets, and at the original Lexington Park at Lexington and University Avenue until 1913 when a fire damaged the structure. A new ballpark with a seating capacity of 10,000 was constructed in 1914 at University and Dunlap, which served as the home of the Saints through 1956. The Saints played their final four seasons at Midway Stadium, a modern ballpark located at 1000 North Snelling Avenue with a seating capacity of more than 13,000.

The two rival Twin Cities ball clubs played heated "streetcar double-headers" on holidays, playing one game in each city. Over the years 1902-60, the Saints compiled a 4719-4435 record, second only in winning percentage to the Millers' .524. The Saints won nine league pennants, and won the Little World Series championship in 1924, topping the Baltimore Orioles in ten games.

When the Minnesota Twins came to the Twin Cities in 1961, the Saints became the Omaha Dodgers.

A newer version of the team began play in 1993 and currently plays in the new American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.

Numerous famous baseball players, managers and coaches have appeared for the St. Paul Saints as players at some point in their careers. These players include:

Sandy Amoros (1951)

Ginger Beaumont (1911)

Joe Black (1951)

Ralph Branca (1945-1946)

Ben Chapman (1929)

Pat Collins (1925)

Roy Campanella (1948)

Chuck Dressen (1921-1924)

Leo Durocher (1927)

Lefty Gomez (1930)

Bubbles Hargrave (1918-1920, 1929)

Miller Huggins (1901-1903)

Mark Koenig (1921-1922, 1924-1925)

Clem Labine (1949-1952)

Gene Mauch (1946)

Chief Meyers (1908)

Cy Morgan (1906)

Johnny Murphy (1930-1931)

Duke Snider (1947)

Dick Williams (1954)

Don Zimmer (1953)

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