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The Duke

March 7, 2011
by

Not John Wayne, Duke Snider.

The great, arguably greatest, Brooklyn Dodger passed on recently.

Here’s a snippet from the Guardian obit. Let’s see what the Brits know about the national pastime:

In the 1950s, New York’s three teams dominated America’s national pastime, baseball. The teams’ dynamism was symbolised by their centrefielders’ speed and flair. The Yankees had Mickey Mantle and the Giants had the “Say Hey Kid”, Willie Mays. Brooklyn’s Dodgers boasted the “Duke of Flatbush”, Duke Snider, who has died aged 84.

That the Dodgers, perennial losers known even to their fans as “Dem Bums”, were part of this mix was down in good part to Snider, who joined the team in 1947. Over the next 10 years, the Dodgers won six National League pennants, and, in 1955, their first World Series championship, beating the Yankees, champions of that year’s American League. The Duke hit four home runs in the seven-game series; he remains the only player to hit four home runs in two different World Series.

The Dodgers’ move to Los Angeles after the 1957 season broke the hearts of Brooklyn’s fans, and shifted baseball’s balance of power away from New York. Snider hit the team’s final home run in Brooklyn. The move sorely affected his career. Brooklyn’s cosy Ebbets Field had a short right field perfectly suited to a left-handed batter like Snider, who stood to the right of home plate and “pulled” the ball to his right.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 8, 2011 3:32 am

    Imagining some Brit saying the “Say Hey Kid” in the snootiest possible English accent amuses me.

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