As news about the passing of Duke Snider made its way around various media outlets, two things really stuck with me. The first was an excerpt taken from a statement released by Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully:
“Although it’s ironic to say it, we have lost a giant.”
Well said, Mr. Scully, well said.
The second thing was Snider’s batting line from his HOF career – .295/.380/.540/.919 with 407 hr and 1333 rbi.
A recent blog piece I wrote contained a very similar batting line, and I suspected I knew why. The “Similarity Scores” section at Baseball-Reference.com confirmed my suspicion. The 2nd most similar player to Duke Snider according to B-R is Jim Edmonds. Nice.
Edmonds had a career line of .284/.376/.527/.903 with 393 hr and 1199 rbi.
I’m not saying that it’s a good idea to compare the two players.
Snider totaled 67.5 WAR in 18 seasons (8237 plate appearances). Edmonds was good for 68.3 WAR in 17 seasons (7980 plate appearances).
Don’t look at this as ammunition to be used to help argue in favor of Edmonds’ HOF case. Instead, use Jimmy Ballgame’s career to better appreciate Duke Snider‘s career. Many of you who read this blog never had the pleasure of seeing Duke play (neither did I), so just imagine what kind of player he had to be to better Jimmy’s numbers against pitchers prior to the mound being lowered (which was done in 1969). From what I understand, he wasn’t quite the defender in CF that Edmonds was, so just imagine what kind of producer he was at the plate to be mentioned in the same breath as Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Henry Aaron.
Yeah, Snider’s 1953 season was so “redonculous” (completely not a word) that I don’t have an appropriate adjective for it. It was practically “Pujolsian”.
Simply put, I appreciate the numbers, respect the man, celebrate the life, and honor the baseball memories.