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Duke Snider: 1926-2011

Feb 27, 2011, 3:31 PM EDT

Dave Van Horne, Duke Snider

“The Silver Fox” has passed away.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980 as a Dodger, the aptly nicknamed Duke Snider was an eight-time All-Star and also finished with MVP votes in eight different major league seasons.

He came up with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and moved with the team out to Los Angeles in 1958, spending five years out west before moving on to the Mets in 1963. He retired in 1965 after playing out his final season with the San Francisco Giants.

Snider went on to broadcast games for the Montreal Expos from 1973-1986 and made for a memorable pairing with Dave Van Horne.

In everything he did, Duke was well-liked.

He tallied 2,116 hits, 407 home runs and 1,333 RBI against a .295/.380/.540 career slash line. His number 4 will never be worn by another Dodger — it was retired along with his Hall of Fame induction.

  1. aronmantoo - Feb 27, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    I started following baseball in the early 50’s growing up on Long Island NY. The “Duke” was my boyhood idol, RIP “Duke” A truely great player and deservedly HOFamer

  2. Old Gator - Feb 27, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Aww, no. He was just a shadow of himself, really, when I saw him play with the Mutts in 1963, and who knows how he felt about the shambles around him in those twilight years of his career. Hard to believe now, but of that nonpareil trio of Mickey, Willie and The Duke, only Willie now remains.

    RIP Duke. You were one of the great ones.

  3. cur68 - Feb 27, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    When I started following baseball in the early 80’s, he was the guy I listened to. I had no idea who he was as a ball player. To me has the voice of the ‘Spos. It’s like they’ve left all over again. So long, man.

    • dodger88 - Feb 27, 2011 at 4:25 PM

      Much too young to have seen him play, I too came to know Duke Snider as the Expos’ colour commentator. My earliest baseball memories can be linked to his and Dave Van Horn’s voices. RIP and thanks for the memories Duke (and thanks Drew for the picture).

      • missthemexpos - Feb 27, 2011 at 5:51 PM

        Having followed the Expos, I may be biased, but I still think that the combination of Duke and Dave in the broadcast booth, and the easy listening banter they displayed, match up against any other pair that I have seen since.

  4. henryd3rd - Feb 27, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Another one of “The Boys of Summer” passes on. I can remember watching my family celebrate that 1955 team wining the final game of the World Series with tears in my eyes. I was a Yankee fan; but that was a great team. My father and mother were ecstatic and I was heart broken. Time has healed that wound; but the joy it brought the rest of my family said it all. I believe it was the Duke who caught the final out?

  5. cleareye1 - Feb 27, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    As a kid only Gil Hodges was more admired by me than Snider. I still remember the day while driving my Studebaker they announced the Dodgers were coming to my hometown of LA. The Duke was a beloved icon for the Dodgers, maybe only surpassed by Vin Scully, then Sandy Koufax.

  6. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Feb 27, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    I saw Duke play when he was in this prime. In ’56 or ’57 I saw him hit and break the big Longines clock in right center at Busch Stadium (the renamed Sportsman Park) in St. Louis. It was about 390′ away and 50′ up in the air. They fixed the clock the next day and Duke broke it again that night!

    A great HOFer. New Yorkers had it great in the ’50s when Duke was the “least” of three CFers in the city!

  7. rapmusicmademedoit - Feb 27, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    RIP in peace you old son of a bitch.

    • henryd3rd - Feb 27, 2011 at 5:51 PM

      Got to be a Giant fan

  8. teresamasters - Feb 27, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    My childhood friend Lee Tanen and I as teenagers were in the Bleacher line for the World Series at Ebbets Field, oh so many years ago. We stuck out in the 99.9% males in line. We were served coffee and donuts by The Red Cross and interviewed by every media present, Newspaper and NewsReel.
    I was posed on a railing inside Ebbets Field and interviewed, :Duke Snider hit a home run, Duke Snider struck out, etc. That all appeared in the newsreels appearing before Movies in theaters across the USA.
    I was posed eating a donut. My father came home with the afternoon edition of the New York Post. He was furious. I had cut school and snuck out of the house at 2 AM to get to Ebbets Field. I was punished at high school for playing hooky.
    I personally knew Duke, Pee Wee, Billy Cox, Pete Reiser, Sandy Koufax and all the team from the mid 40’s to 1951 when I originally moved to Los Angeles. In 1991 I moved to Oceanside and often hoped to come across Duke during trips into Fallbrook. Sadly never did, but have incredible memories and signed baseballs.
    RIP my old friend, you were truly a gentle man.
    Terrie

    • henryd3rd - Feb 27, 2011 at 5:59 PM

      My father was heartbroken when that team moved to LA. I asked him why not root for my Yankees with me and his look said it all. He looked like someone who had just eaten tainted food. The man never stepped inside Yankee Stadium. He hated the Yankees and loathed me for my support of the Yankees. Later in his life he threw his support behind the Mets; but it was never like the Dodgers. When I informed him that O’Malley died I could have sworn I saw a smile on his face

  9. baseballstars - Feb 27, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    I had a (well loved) uncle pass away in December, and Duke was his favorite player. I only hope they’re playing baseball on the other side. RIP Duke.

  10. andrew8404 - Feb 27, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    I had the great honor of meeting Duke Snider on a few occasions due to being friends with his grandson. He was always kind to everyone around him and never got bothered when people asked him for photos or autographs. He was a great man leaving a great family behind.

  11. prometheus63 - Feb 27, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    This is a very sad day for baseball. As a kid in the 50s in New York I had the priviledge of seeing Mickey, Willie and Duke play ball. When I played Little League I always wanted to emulate ‘The Duke’ and one of my biggest thrills was to meet and talk to him at a baseball card show some years ago, he was a real class guy and a true gentleman in every way. They just don’t make them like that anymore. Duke was a true hero of the diamond from the Golden Age of baseball, and he will be truely missed.
    Rest in Peace Duke …. and hit one more into the bleachers for me.

  12. frank348 - Feb 27, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    Well said by all of the above.

    Rest in Peace #4.

    Many thanks for 1955.

  13. jschaiman704 - Feb 27, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    When baseball was a sport not a business, when players set examples for kids to admire, when players stayed with teams for a career, when money was not the ultimate goal but the home town team and world series were, when the boys of summer were exciting. The Duke, Mantle, Robinson, Hodges, Williams and others all have gone. We miss them all and what baseball used to be.

  14. brooklynboy1942 - Feb 27, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    Born in Brooklyn I admit to being prejudiced in deciding who was the best center fielder between
    Willie, Mickey and “The Duke” but from 1950 to 1960 Duke hit more home runs than both of them.
    Duke’s relationship with the press was strained but he was my boyhood idol and the best of the “Boys
    Of Summer” Duke was a gracious man both on and off the field . I had the honor of meeting him twice and was impressed by his easy going manner and lack of pretention. Rest in peace Duke, we have lost
    a giant in the game of baseball.

  15. dormied9027 - Feb 28, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    The Duke was one of the best! Read Roger Kahn’s book “Boys of Summer” to get to know him! I’ve been a big Dodger fan since I was just a kid and just after their move to LA. Collected many autographs from Dodger players, but never got one of Duke’s…. sad, as his would have been one of the easiest to get too! Rest in Peace, Duke… you’ll forever be in our memories!

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