“Above it all, he was a fan favorite for his style of play, personality, accessibility, and fondness for playing stickball with kids in the streets of Brooklyn,” Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said.
Snider was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980 on his 11th try. He was a broadcaster for the Montreal Expos for several seasons _ he played in the city as a minor leaguer in the Brooklyn farm system _ and later was an announcer with the Dodgers.
“He had the grace and the abilities of DiMaggio and Mays and, of course, he was a World Series hero that will forever be remembered in the borough of Brooklyn,” Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully said. “Although it’s ironic to say it, we have lost a giant.”
In 1995, Snider pleaded guilty to federal tax charges and was sentenced to two years’ probation and fined $5,000. He admitted not reporting more than $97,000 in cash from autograph signings, card shows and memorabilia sales.
Snider was sentenced at the Brooklyn federal courthouse, a few miles from where he had starred. The judge said Snider had been “publicly disgraced and humiliated … here in Brooklyn, where you were idolized by a generation … of which I was one.”
Snider apologized. He said he began making autograph appearances because he had little in savings and had made several bad business decisions. The judge said Snider paid nearly $30,000 in back taxes and noted he had diabetes, hypertension and other illnesses.
A native Californian, Snider became part of Brooklyn’s fabric during his playing days.
“I was born in Los Angeles,” he once said. “Baseballwise, I was born in Brooklyn. We lived with Brooklyn. We died with Brooklyn.”
The Duke, however, had some early problems with the boisterous Brooklyn fans.
Once, in the early 1950s, he was quoted as calling them the worst in the game. He came to the park after the quote was published and was greeted with a chorus of boos. But he enjoyed one of his better nights, and silenced the fans for good.
“The fans were something.” Snider said. “They were so close to you. You got to know them, some of them by name.”
During his playing career, Snider became an avocado farmer and lived many years in Fallbrook, Calif.
He is survived by his wife, Beverly, whom he married in 1947.
Funeral arrangements were pending.
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