The Duke Died… They’re All Gone

Today is my wife’s birthday. We had a nice breakfast, I went to the store and bought her some roses, and we’re heading over to my daughter’s house for an oyster roast in the back yard.


I checked on-line to see how the Mets games were going and I noticed a post on Twitter. Duke Snider had passed.

David Rubin linked to me the story from the NYDN and it said that all the starters of the famous “Boys Of Summer” era have now passed. All of them.

Duke was my brother’s favorite Bum. Mine was Gil Hodges. New York was split in thirds in those days, with Dodger, Giant, and Yankees fans. Yes, there was Orlando Cepeda and Moose Skowron, but I had the pleasure of rooting for the best first baseman in New York. My brother had it much rougher, going up against Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.

I went to as many Dodger games as I could in those days, but 1955-1957 were a period in which I was 8-10 years old. My mother had already died, and my father was working three jobs, so my brother I would take the A train on Liberty Avenue on Saturdays on days we weren’t working.

However, most of my Dodger games were played alone, with a Pensie Pinky against the front stoop on my Ozone Park home. I would play both teams (always the dreaded Yankees) for all nine innings, and when Hodges came up, the ball seemed to magically hit the sweet spot on the edge of the third step. Snider did well, and the Bums always won at 106-14 95th Avenue.

Gilliam, Reese, Snider, Hodges, Campy, Furillo, Roseboro, Amoros…

They can’t all be gone. I just went there last year and saw Johnny Podres pitch a complete game…


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