Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Duke Of Flatbush

The sport to which I owe so much has undergone profound changes, but it's still baseball. Kids still imitate their heroes on playgrounds. Fans still ruin expensive suits going after foul balls that cost $5. Hitting streaks still make the network news and hot dogs still taste better at the ballpark than at home.  -  D. Snider
My father's favorite baseball player, Duke Snider, died on Sunday at the age of 84.  He was the last surviving regular of the legendary Brooklyn Dodger teams of the 1950s.  He played center field at a time when the other two New York center fielders were Mickey Mantle for the Yankees and Willie Mays for the Giants.  It is often remarked that Snider wasn't as great a player as Mantle or Mays, but who was?  Snider was known for his clutch hitting and brilliant defensive skills.  He starred on six pennant winning teams, was an 8-time All Star, and hit at least 40 homers in five consecutive seasons (1953-1957).  He hit four home runs in two different World Series (1952 and 1955), the only player ever to do so.  The "Duke of Flatbush" played for 18 years and compiled 2,116 hits, 407 home runs, 1,333 RBIs and had a career batting average of .295 (hitting over .300 seven times).  I must point out that Snider hit his 400th home run as a member of the 1963 Mets.  He was inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1980.

[Related posts:  Living Legends]


Post a Comment