The news of Duke Snider’s passing popped up on Sunday. I had already written my post for Monday and wanted some time to think about what the loss means to fans and the hobby. As many of you know if you read this blog, the Duke was a great through the mail signer and almost never turned down an autograph request.
He was a member of the famed Boys of Summer and his name was synonymous with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He along with Mantle, Mays, Maris and Williams, ushered in the golden age of baseball. A time from the early 50s to the mid 60s when baseball was king and when many of the legendary stars we reminisce about were giants among men.
Snider retired in 1964 after 18 seasons, boasting a career statline of 0.295/407/1333. He was an eight time All Star and a six time top 10 MVP finisher. It took 11 years to get into the Hall but finally did so in 1980. He was a two time World Series winner and a mainstay in the mind of hobbyists from his playing days until his passing.
One by one the legends are passing and as each one goes, so does a little bit of baseball lore. The status of legend has been passed on to the likes of Jeter and Pujols, but one has to wonder will they be as pleasant in retirement as their predecessors? Mantle and Mays were always willing to pose for pictures and sign a few autographs. Which is something today’s former stars are not doing.
Folks like George Brett, Barry Bonds, Randy Johnson and others are very elusive when it comes to fan interaction. They say it’s a different world now then back then, that fans are making money off their signatures. Of course they have been making money off of fans for years. No, the group of legends from the Golden Age of baseball were a unique bunch. They are also part of a dying breed, the player who didn’t mind interacting with fans.
Goodbye Duke Snider, the fans will miss you terribly.