Sunday, February 27, 2011

Duke Snider Dies: A Great Baseball Player Who Made a Wrong Choice (2/27/11)

The late 1940s and the 1950s were great times for baseball-- at least New York baseball. My brother, my cousin and I were New York baseball fans, although we lived in a small town in South Carolina. "Our" teams were the Giants, the Yankees and the Dodgers, respectively. (I was the youngest of the three, so got the last choice; but, as it turns out the best choice.)

The New York Times reports that the legenday Duke Snider, centerfielder for the Dodgers, has died. This is from the NYT article:
In the 1950’s, the Golden Age of New York baseball, the World Series almost always meant red, white and blue bunting at Ebbets Field, Yankee Stadium or the Polo Grounds. October afternoons provided a national showcase for baseball’s premier center fielders — Snider of the Dodgers, Mickey Mantle of the Yankees and Willie Mays of the Giants.

More relevant to this blog is this part of the article:

Snider returned to Brooklyn on a sad note on July 20, 1995, when he appeared in federal court, a couple of miles from where Ebbets Field once stood, as a criminal defendant.

Snider and another Hall of Famer, the former Giant first baseman Willie McCovey, pleaded guilty to tax fraud for failing to report thousands of dollars earned by signing autographs and participating in sports memorabilia shows. “We have choices to make in our lives,” Snider said. “I made the wrong choice.”

The following Dec. 1, he was sentenced to two years’ probation and fined $5,000.
 A very sad day indeed.

The Wikipedia article on Duke Snider is here.

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