Dodger Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider passed away Sunday at the age of 84 at the Valle Vista Convalescent Hospital in Escondido.
Born Edwin Donald Snider in Los Angeles on Sept. 19, 1926, Snider was among the game’s most feared hitters during his 16 seasons with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers (1947–1962), playing on a pair of World Championship teams (1955 and 1959) and in six World Series overall.
The seven-time All-Star center fielder ranks as the franchise’s all-time leader in home runs (389) and runs batted in (1,271) and during the 1950s, he topped all Major Leaguers with 326 homers and 1,031 runs batted in (RBI). He slugged four home runs in both the 1952 and 1955 World Series.
Nicknamed “Duke” by his father at age 5, he was a standout in football, baseball and basketball at Compton High School before signing with the Dodgers at age 17 in 1943. He briefly played in the low minors before entering the Navy.
He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980, and his Dodger uniform No. 4 was retired that year in Oldtimers Day ceremonies that featured Snider entering the ballpark from beyond the center field fence, accompanied by Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays, two other great outfielders of Snider’s time.
Following his playing career, Snider returned to the Dodger organization as a minor league manager. He later joined the Montreal Expos as a broadcaster and batting coach.
“Duke was one of the truly legendary Dodgers who made his mark first in Brooklyn and then in his hometown, Los Angeles,” said Dodger Owner and Chairman Frank McCourt. “I had the pleasure of spending time with him on several occasions, and he was a truly wonderful man. I’m so glad that we were able to keep him as an active part of the Dodger family over the past several years.”
Dodger Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda said he admired Snider. “I was Duke’s teammate and looked up to him with respect,” Lasorda said. “Duke was not only a great player, but he was a great person too. 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.”