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Duke Snider, Dodger great, dies at 84

Snider Duke Snider, one of the Brooklyn Dodgers' Boys of Summer and one of three outstanding New York center fielders in the 1950s, died Sunday. He was 84.

Snider died at the Valle Vista Convalescent Hospital in Escondido, the Dodgers announced. No cause was given.

Here is a look at how dominant Snider was during his career with the Dodgers. From the Los Angeles Times' obituary by former staff writer Mike Kupper:

The Duke of Flatbush, a smooth-fielding outfielder and, thanks to his prowess as a home run hitter, a fan favorite in Ebbets Field, was a Dodger, both in Brooklyn and his native Los Angeles, for 16 of his 18 years in the major leagues. A Hall of Fame member, the eight-time All-Star helped the Dodgers to six National League championships, and Brooklyn's only World Series title, in his first 11 seasons, providing Dodger power from the left side of the plate.

Snider hit 40 or more homers in five consecutive seasons and during the 1950s led all major leaguers in home runs, 326; runs batted in, 1,031; runs scored, 970; and slugging percentage, .569. He finished his career with a lifetime batting average of .295 and 407 home runs, 389 of them as a Dodger, still the team record. He is the only player to have twice hit four homers in the World Series, matching his 1952 feat in '55, the year the Dodgers won the Series and he was named major league player of the year by Sporting News.

He hit the last home run in Ebbets Field and had the first hit in Dodger Stadium, a single on opening day in 1962, and was part of the 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers team that beat the Chicago White Sox in the World Series.

The complete obituary can be found here.

 -- Keith Thursby

 Photo: Duke Snider in 1952. Credit: Associated Press

 
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RIP Duke of Flatbush

From this Giants fan, let me say thanks, Duke. You were one of the greats who helped make baseball better for all fans.

I defer to OldBrooklynFan.

I remember listening to Duke Snider and Dave van Horne broadcasting the Montreal Expos' games for many seasons. He was highly knowledgeable, informative and entertaining. My condolences to his family and all Brooklyn Dodgers fans.

Duke Snider, Sandy Koufax, Don Demeter, Maury Wills, Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella, Don Drysdale, Larry Sherry and so many other Dodgers that gave the game it's heart and soul, we thank you and honor you for all those Saturday afternoons around the radio listening to Vin Scully and most of all to Walter and Peter Omalley who gave LA the classy number one Dodgers, the best of the best. Duke, you will never be forgotten.

I treasure the memories of my all-time favorite baseball player, Duke Snider. #4. He played baseball the way the game should be played. He patrolled center field from the infield to the warning track back to the wall and up the wall. Duke made some marvelous plays out there. He could swing the bat as if an artist was drawing a picture of a hitter swinging for a home run. Steady, smooth and right on! And the Duke could run the bases in addition to grazing out on the green grass of center fields of big league ballparks. RIP Duke Snider. #4 forever. We miss you.


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