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Duke in his Domain

Posted By Alex Belth On March 3, 2011 @ 11:29 am In Arts and Culture,Baseball,Bronx Banter,Games We Play,Links: Sportswriting,Magazine Writers,Obituaries,Roger Angell,Sportswriting | Comments Disabled

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Here’s Roger Angell on Duke Snider [2]:

I still feel that I owe him. I saw him play plenty of times, but carry only a fragmented memory of him in action: rounded shoulders, and that thick face tilting while the finish of his big, left-side stroke starts him up the baseline, his gaze fixed on the rising (and often departing) ball. A first-class center fielder, who eagerly closed the angle on line drives. Great arm. Good guy, terrific smile. Hall of Famer. Something smug in me used to relish him, even while I rooted against him. Growing up in Manhattan, I was a Giants fan first of all, a huge Yankees booster in the other league, and caught the Dodgers pretty much only when they played at the Polo Grounds. Which is to say a Willie Mays fan first and always; an awestruck admirer of Mickey Mantle when he succeeded Joe DiMaggio in center for the Yankees, in 1952, and aware of Snider, of course, over there in Ebbets Field: the third-best, or—since he overlapped Joe D.’s tenure by three seasons—maybe the fourth-best fabulous center-field slugger in town but a guaranteed superstar as well. If Snider was great, how much better did that make my guys? I met the Duke once or twice, long after he’d left the game—he was gone before I started writing about baseball—and wanted to apologize for patronizing him in my fan’s heart. He didn’t mind; he was a self-punisher, not a self-aggrandizer, and I don’t think he worried about status.

And click below for and excellent profile on Snider by Dick Young from “Inside Sports.”

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URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://bronxbanter.arneson.name/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/duke_snider.jpg

[2] Roger Angell on Duke Snider: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sportingscene/2011/02/duke-snider.html#ixzz1FTPAC5Zp

[3] 2500_001: http://bronxbanter.arneson.name/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/2500_001.pdf

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