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Hall of Famer Duke Snider dies at 84
Snider died at the Valle Vista Convalescent Hospital in Escondido, Calif., said the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, which announced the death on behalf of the family.
The family said he died of natural causes.
“The Duke of Flatbush” hit .295 with 407 career home runs, played in the World Series six times and won two titles. But the eight-time All-Star was defined by much more than his stats — he was, after all, part of the love affair between the borough of Brooklyn and “Dem Bums” who lived in the local neighborhoods.
Ebbets Field was filled with stars such as Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella and Gil Hodges during that 1955 championship season. Yet it is Snider’s name that refrains in the ballpark favorite “Talkin’ Baseball.”
Snider wore No. 4 in Dodger blue and was often regarded as the third-best center fielder in New York — behind Willie Mays of the Giants and Mickey Mantle of the Yankees — during what many fans considered the city’s golden era of baseball.
“The newspapers compared Willie, Mickey and I, and that was their thing,” Snider said several years ago. “As a team, we competed with the Giants, and we faced the Yankees in the World Series. So we had a rivalry as a team, that was it. It was an honor to be compared to them, they were both great players.”
“He’s just a first-class guy, that’s all,” McCovey told The Associated Press. “A great power hitter and center fielder.”
Snider hit at least 40 home runs in five straight seasons and led the NL in total bases three times. He never won an MVP award, although a voting error may have cost him the prize in 1955. He lost to Campanella by a very narrow margin — it later turned out an ill voter left Snider off the ballot, supposedly by mistake.
By Emily Miller
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