Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sending Off The Duke

Edwin Donald Snider, the Duke of Flatbush, passed away at 80 something earlier this week and there have already been a number of little tributes and remembrances and looks back at his career and his numbers (in this stat driven age that's how it works).  I've been waiting to mention the Duke's passing until Joe P. had a chance to write something about it because Joe P. is a phenomenal writer on all subjects, and probably the greatest writer of remembrances and farewells in the business today, if not ever (particularly when he remembers someone he knew personally, it always gets a little dusty when you read those pieces even if you've never heard of the subject before).  Well Joe P. didn't know the Duke personally, but he still does a nice job and you should take a couple of moments to read his send off...

Nobody in the papers I saw stood up for Duke Snider. Nothing was ever easy with Duke Snider, except for the easy swing and the easy grace and the easy name. Few baseball player have ever been called Duke. Only one was The Duke.
For my part, I'm way too young to know anything firsthand about there being three teams in NYC, let alone three of the greatest center fielders of all time playing for those teams at the same time. But my dad and my grandpa know a little bit about that, and when I was little we read a lot of books about baseball in the 40's and 50's in NYC.  These things tend to go generationally so while my dad had been a Yankees fan and sided with Mantle I of course wanted to pull for the Dodgers, partly because they were my grandpa's team and partly because of the stories of Duke Snider, who always seemed like an underdog to me but who always came through when it mattered as well.

Anyway, so long Duke.  If you haven't read The Boys of Summer, make sure you do.

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