Former Dodger star Duke Snider died Sunday at a convalescent home in Escondido. He was 84. The “Duke of Flatbush” was a baseball superstar for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s – the equal of Mays and Mantle. Duke sparkled less in L.A. – but he had his moments.
The Dodgers’ move west was a homecoming for the L.A.-born and Compton-raised Snider. But the L.A> years were tough.
Duke had a bad knee and couldn’t hit lefties. The Coliseum’s right field fence was about 40 feet deeper than the one at Ebbets Field; some of Duke’s Brooklyn homers now would be L.A> outs. Snider was an All-Star seven times in Brooklyn – and not once in L.A.
But in three key games in 1959, Duke was king again. In September, his third inning homer in San Francisco got the Dodgers rolling to a win that jumped them over the Giants and into first place.
A few weeks later, his ninth inning single kept alive a rally that tied up a playoff game against Milwaukee. The Dodgers eventually won the game – and went to the World Series against the Chicago White Sox. World Series Game Six in Chicago: Snider blasts a two-run homer to give the Dodgers the lead.
They beat the Sox, 9-3, to win the World Series. Duke reigned in Los Angeles.