Subway is collaborating with FOXSports.com on a “Boys in the Hall” photo and video series that features interviews with Hall of Fame legends and photo galleries of current players who are Cooperstown hopefuls. When they asked LBS to write a feature on Hall of Famer Duke Snider, we were thrilled. “The Duke of Flatbush” was the most consistent slugger on the Dodgers during the 1950s and helped lead them to six World Series appearances and two championships. Snider is often overlooked by fans because he never won an MVP, and because the team’s move to a new stadium in Los Angeles stunted his statistics. But he was impressive enough to earn election to the Hall of Fame in 1980.
Snider was born Edwin Donald Snider and was nicknamed “Duke” as a young boy. He grew up in Los Angeles and was an exceptional athlete, enjoying success in football and basketball in addition to baseball. He signed with the Dodgers out of high school in 1943 and played minor league ball until being called up briefly as a 20-year-old in 1947. He played a half-season in the bigs with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948, and by 1949, he was a full-time major leaguer at age 22.
The Duke hit 23 home runs and drove in 92 runs in his first full season playing center field for the Dodgers. He tied Gil Hodges for the team lead in home runs, and he was a key contributor in a stacked offense that helped the team win the National League and reach the World Series. The Dodgers lost to the Yankees in the World Series that season, something that happened four times during Duke’s career.