Duke Snider, the Hall of Fame center fielder renowned for his home run drives and superb defensive play in the Brooklyn Dodgers' glory years, died Sunday in Escondido, Calif. He was 84.
His death was announced by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In the 1950s, the golden age of New York baseball, the World Series almost always meant red, white and blue bunting at Ebbets Field, Yankee Stadium or the Polo Grounds. October afternoons provided a national showcase for baseball's premier center fielders — Snider of the Dodgers, Mickey Mantle of the Yankees and Willie Mays of the Giants.
"They used to run a box in the New York papers comparing me to Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays," Snider recalled on the eve of his 1980 induction into the Hall of Fame. "It was a great time for baseball."
Snider starred at the plate and in the field on teams that won five National League pennants — and finished second on the final day twice — in his nine full years with Brooklyn. He also hit the last home run at Ebbets Field before the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles after the 1957 season.