On the eve of the week that the regular season starts, the Dodgers Way top ten Dodgers of all time list is now at number four. Coming in at number four is Duke Snider.
Long before Chase Utley, the first Dodger player nicknamed the “silver fox”, was Duke Snider. Duke is also a nickname as Edwin Donald Snider was his legal name. The other famous nickname for Duke Snider is the “Duke of Flatbush”. Duke played eighteen big league season with sixteen of those seasons coming with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. His final two seasons were spent with the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants.
Duke is arguably the best Dodgers hitter of all time and he is the franchise leader in home runs (389) and RBI’s (1,271). Snider was an eight-time National League all-star and two-time World Series champion as he was part of the Dodgers championship teams in 1955 and 1959.
Duke Snider also is the only player in MLB history to hit at least four home runs in two different World Series. He had a knack for coming up big when the game’s lights shone brightest, as he hit eleven home runs and had 26 RBI’s in thirty-six World Series games. As an additional trivia fact, the last home run in Ebbet’s field was hit by the Duke of Flatbush.
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Duke Snider’s stats would be impressive in any era of baseball but the most impressive feat is that he hit over forty home runs for five straight seasons from 1953-1957. Even in today’s game where the baseball is different and hitters are hitting more home runs, it would still be an impressive feat to hit forty or more home runs for five consecutive seasons. The fact that that Duke did this back in the 50’s is even more shocking.
In 1956 Duke Snider set the Dodgers franchise record with 43 home runs and he set the franchise RBI record in 1955 with a whopping 136 RBI’s. While both records have since been broken, Snider still holds the record for home runs in Dodgers franchise history. Duke Snider was elected to the baseball hall of fame in 1980. When it comes to Dodger hitters, Duke Snider is the king of them all.
Once Snider retired from baseball he spent many years as a TV broadcaster for the Padres (1969-1971) and Expos (1973-1986). Duke Snider also appeared in several movies throughout his career so he was an interesting man. Unfortunately, Duke is no longer with us as he passed away in 2011 due to an undisclosed illness.
In my high school playing days, I had the honor of playing a game at Fallbrook high school and their field is named Duke Snider Field. That was pretty cool and something I will always remember. As far as his legacy goes, Duke Snider is not only one of, if not the greatest Dodger hitter of all-time, but he was a very good centerfielder. While he wasn’t quite Willie Mays, Snider wasn’t too far behind Mays in terms of the best all-around centerfielders in MLB history.