Duke Snider dies at 84
by Daniel Bush
Mar 01, 2011 | 1961 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Duke Snider, the homerun-slugging centerfielder who led the Brooklyn Dodgers to their only World Series title in 1955, two years before the team was shipped off to Los Angeles, died February 27 in California. He was 84.

Snider’s family said he died of natural causes.

A half-century before Brooklyn became cool, the iconic Hall of Famer was the borough’s answer to Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, great centerfielders for New York’s other ball clubs, the Giants and Yankees.

Over a nine-year stretch from 1949 to 1957, the Duke of Flatbush was as good as anyone, hitting 40 or more home runs five consecutive seasons - then a National League record - while patrolling the outfield grass with grace at Ebbets Field.

Edwin Snider was born in Los Angeles on September 19, 1926. He made it to the majors in 1947. By 1953, he had emerged as the star on a talented Dodgers team anchored by Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Pee Wee Reese.

It was the golden age of baseball in New York, a period when the Dodgers, Yankees or Giants appeared in the World Series each year. The Yankees won almost every season, but Brooklyn will always have 1955.

Snider hit the last home run at Ebbets Field in September of 1957, then left with the team for Los Angeles, where he played for five more seasons before finishing out his career with the Mets and San Francisco Giants.

In 18 seasons he hit 407 home runs with 1,333 runs batted in and a lifetime batting average of .295. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

Snider is survived by his wife, Beverly, and four children. Also, by the memories of older Brooklynites who rooted for Dem Bums with unequaled fervor.

His fans were rewarded by Snider during a speech he gave at the Polo Grounds in 1963, when he returned to New York as a Met. “The Mets are wonderful,” Snider said, “but you can’t take the Dodger out of Brooklyn.”
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