Duke Snider, Original Padres Color Commentator, Dies at 84

Hall of Fame center fielder and longtime Fallbrook resident Duke Snider died this past Sunday in Escondido at age 84. I’m not seeing this mentioned anywhere, but it’s worth noting that Snider was one of the Padres original color commentators in 1969.

The San Diego Union isn’t digitized going that far back, and I haven’t had a chance to sift through microfilm at Central Library, so I’ll have to quote myself. This is from the Ducksnorts 2009 Baseball Annual and was sourced from said microfilm:

The broadcast team was in place: Jerry Gross, formerly with the Cardinals; Frank Sims, formerly with the Phillies; and former Dodgers star Duke Snider, making his debut as a color commentator would call the action. Snider also would serve as a scout for the Padres (he actually recommended that the Padres pick [outfieler Cito] Gaston in the expansion draft).

It’s curious (and unfortunate) that none of the local stories I’ve seen mention Snider’s connection with the Padres. Then again, they all seem to be running Ben Walker’s Associated Press piece, which wouldn’t necessarily include such information. Still, it’d be nice…

My condolences go out to the family and friends of Snider. May he rest in peace.

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Other voices…

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2 Responses »

  1. And Snider’s old pal, Johnny Podres, pitched some for the Padres that year.

  2. Bill James pointed out that Warren Spahn almost never pitched against the Dodgers in what were Sinder’s prime years, because that right-handed lineup ate him alive. I looked it up once and it was quite amazing — over a four-year period Spahn made something like three starts against Brooklyn, IN AN EIGHT-TEAM LEAGUE. Robin Roberts was making 7-8 starts a year against them. Imagine how it helped the Duke to almost never have to face the winningest pitcher of his time. And, of course, Spahn wasn’t the only lefty to be held out against the Dodgers.

    Snider was also a terrific fielder but when Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle are playing across town, nobody noticed it.

    As for Ebbets Field, the right-field porch was indeed short but there was a little matter of a 40-something foot fence there, too, which meant that high fly balls were homers and crushed liners were doubles. Mantle surely would have hit a lot more HRs from the right side, but most pitchers are righties and when Mantle batted lefty in Yankee Stadium the fence was just as close as it was at Ebbets Field, and it was three feet high, not forty plus.