The Duke Of Flatbush: The Story Of Duke Snider

Bleacher Report Senior Writer IMarch 14, 2017

Duke Snider is one of the best Dodgers ever to play the game. He played for the Brooklyn/LA Dodgers from 1947 to 1962. He played center field and is one of the best power hitters in baseball history.

Edwin Donald Snider was born on Sept. 19, 1926 in Los Angeles. Snider was a two-sport athlete, playing football and baseball, which he ended up pretty good at (just thought I'd put it out there).

He attended Compton High School from 1940 to 1943. As a baseball player, he was spotted by a Branch Rickey scout and was immediately signed to a minor league contract.

He played for the Montreal Royals in 1944, but had just two at bats. In 1945, he was drafted and 1946 would be his first season in professional baseball. He played for Fort Worth that year and in 1947 played for St. Paul. He played quite well there and after starting 1948 for Montreal and tearing it up, he was called up to the Dodgers for good.

Snider never made a lot of money in the bigs: "My high salary was 46,000 dollars and a Cadillac."

In 1949, he made that step up. He hit 23 home runs, drove in 92 and had a .292 batting clip.

Snider had an amazing 1950 season, hitting .321 with 30 one home runs and 107 runs knocked in. The next year, Snider saw his average dip 40 four points.

"I told (Walter) O'Malley I wanted a trade. I couldn't take the pressure anymore." Snider, being the mentally tough guy he was, adapted.

He hit .303 with 21 homers the next year and got management back on his side. The mid 50's were his glory days.

He hit 40 or more home runs in five consecutive seasons (1953-57) and averaged 42 home runs, 124 RBI, 123 runs and a .320 batting average between 1953-1956.

He dipped dramatically from 1958 to 1964. In 1958, he had 15 home runs and just 58 RBI, but still hit.312 on the season. When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, his aging became evident. In his remaining years with the Dodgers, his career high in homers was just 23. His career low in Brooklyn was 21.

In 1963, Duke played for the Mets. He struggled and wasn't the slugger he was expected to be. He had 14 home runs, 45 RBI and a .243 batting average.

On Opening Day of 1964, the Giants picked him up. He was obviously washed up. He had four home runs, 17 RBI and an anemic .210 batting average.

31 years later in 1995, two Hall of Famers: Snider and Willie McCovey pleaded guilty to tax fraud. Snider failed to report income from sports memorabilia sales and sports card shows.

In 1980, Snider was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He finished his career with 407 home runs, 1,333 RBI and a .295 batting clip. Since Johnny Podres died in January, Snider is the only living Dodger who was on the field for the 1955 World Series.

What I think is funny is how much of a joke he thinks baseball is today. He is sick of the millionaires in baseball. He said, "Man, if I made a million dollars, I'd come at six in the morning, sweep the stands, wash the uniforms, clean out the office, manage the team and play the games."

What do you say to that, Manny?