He was only a Met for a year, but Duke Snider, who died Sunday at age 84, was a towering figure in New York baseball. Often overlooked as the third best of the “Willie, Mickey and the Duke” triumvirate, Snider could hold his own with those other two greats.
Snider hit 40 home runs in five consecutive years — neither Willie nor the Mick did that. In fact, the only other players to do it in more consecutive years were Babe Ruth (seven), and Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez (six), the latter two with a little alleged help from PEDs.
In his prime (roughly 1949-1959), Snider was an All-Star for seven consecutive years, and although he never won an MVP, he finished in the top 10 six times.
The Dodgers sold Snider to the Mets in 1963 when he was 36 years old. He batted just .243 with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs. But he made the All Star team that year — the best of a bad bunch of Mets.
He played one more season with the Giants, finishing with 407 home runs, which was good enough to be in the top 10 all time when he retired. Inexplicably, it took him eleven years to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
Snider will of course be remembered as a Dodger — arguably the best hitter in the team’s history — but his one year in a Mets uniform should not be forgotten.