Farewell, Duke Snider

The Dodgers lost one of the greatest players in their history today, as Hall of Famer Edwin "Duke" Snider passed away at his convalescent hospital in Escondido, California. Snider was 84. The Duke played for the Dodgers from 1947-1962, appearing in six World Series, including the franchise's first two championships in 1955 and 1959. The seven-time All-Star and Los Angeles native still holds franchise records for home runs (389) and RBI (1,271).

Snider was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1980, and had his No. 4 retired by the Dodgers that same year. "I was a Duke's teammate and looked up to him with respect. Duke was not only a great player but he was a great person too," said Tommy Lasorda. "He loved his family and loved the Dodgers. He was the true Dodger and represented the Dodgers to the highest degree of class, dignity and character. He was my teammate and friend and I will really miss him"

I will always associate Snider with the great Dodgers' rivalry with the Giants. Snider used to say he hated Halloween because the colors of that holiday -- orange and black -- were Giant colors. However, Snider's last season in 1964 was with the Giants, but this was in the days before free agency, when players didn't have much say as to where they played.

I never had the pleasure of watching Snider play; my recollection of him is only through old videos. He was one of the Boys of Summer, always proud to be a part of the Dodgers' first (and second) teams that were "World's Champions," as Snider said on those videos of my youth. Now, like his Hall of Fame teammates Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese, Duke is gone too.

As usual, Vin Scully summed it up best about the Duke:

He was an extremely gifted talent and his defensive abilities were often overlooked because of playing in a small ballpark, Ebbets Field. When he had a chance to run and move defensively, 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. Although it’s ironic to say it, we have lost a giant. He’s joining a great Dodger team that has moved on and I extend my sympathies to his entire family, especially to Bev.

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