Duke Snider, elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980 following an 18-year major league career in which he hit 407 home runs, passed away on Sunday morning from natural causes at the Valle Vista Convalescent Hospital in Escondido, Calif. He was 84.
Born September 19, 1926 in Los Angeles, Snider made his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Once he assumed duties as the club's every day center fielder, Snider totaled 20 home runs in nine straight seasons, from 1949-1957, hitting a league-best 43 in 1956, and finishing as the National League Most Valuable Player runner-up in 1955, helping to lead the Dodgers to their only World Series victory.
A graceful fielder with a picture-perfect swing, Snider anchored six pennant-winning teams and clouted 11 World Series home runs, including four in 1952 and 1955, while driving in 26 runs in the Fall Classic. An eight-time All-Star, Snider led the league in runs scored in three straight seasons, 1953-55.
Snider's Dodgers tenure spanned 11 seasons in Brooklyn (1947-1957), followed by five seasons in Los Angeles (1958-1962) following the team's move West for the 1958 campaign. Snider played one season each with the Mets (1963) and Giants (1964).
He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers' Association of America on his 11th ballot in 1980.