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Monday, February 28, 2011

Duke Snider died at 84.

From a previous post:TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2009

Classic contrast showing the absurdity of the non-uniform playing areas.

Duke Snider: 224 home, 183 away; 55% at home; that includes 18 playing for Mets and Giants and FIVE seasons in LA. Snider's home/away splits for five consecutive 40 homer seasons in Ebbets Field Brooklyn, Duke's claim to fame:
1953: 23 home, 19 away: 42 homers
1954: 23 home, 17 away: 40 homers
1955: 23 home, 19 away: 42 homers
1956: 25 home, 18 away: 43 homers
1957: 23 home, 17 away: 40 homers

Duke Snider in his three best seasons had OPS+ (On Base Plus Slugging adjusted for year and park):

1953 NL  165 (3rd) MVP 3 behind teammate Roy Campanella, Eddie Mathews (47 HR)
1954 NL  171 (3rd) MVP 4 behind Willie Mays (led NL BA .345; Giants won pennant), Ted Kluszewski (49 HR), Johnny Antonelli (Giant 21-7)
1955 NL  169 (3rd) MVP 2 behind teammate Roy Campanella

In 1956 Snider led NL:
HR 43
BB 99
OBP .399
SLG .598
OPS .997
OPS + 155
IBB 26
MVP 10 behind Don Newcombe (Brooklyn), Sal Maglie, Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn, Jim Gilliam (Brooklyn), Roy McMillan, Frank Robinson, Pee Wee Reese (Brooklyn), Stan Musial.  Three Brooklyn teammates finished ahead of Snider.  Go figure.  Snider's BA was .292 and that probably cost him in the MVP voting but maybe the writers were angry at Duke.  This vote is absurd.  From the NY Times obit:

But a year after the tirade against the fans, Snider was chided by some sportswriters as being ungrateful for his good fortune when he collaborated with Kahn for a May 1956 article in Collier’s titled “I Play Baseball for Money — Not Fun.”

Snider's HR splits home/road and v. righty/lefty pitchers detract from his big home run seasons and overall career stats.  See the data.

During his five consecutive 40 HR seasons Snider hit these HR against lefty pitchers: 3, 2, 3, 1, 0.  1957: 40 homers, all against righty pitchers, probably a record.  For perspective, all 1957 Dodgers against lefties: 294 AB / 8 HR = 36.75 AB per HR.  The entire Dodger team hit only 8 homers against lefty pitchers.  Snider was very well protected in a heavily right handed hitting lineup, which faced few lefties.

In 1957 Hall of Fame southpaw Warren Spahn won the MLB Cy Young award.  He faced the Dodgers only once: Sunday, August 4, 1957 1:32PM, County Stadium.  Spahn relieved in the ninth and faced two batters: Don Zimmer and Jim Gilliam, retiring both; Spahn was credited with a save.

Here are Snider's HR totals for those five seasons:

HR 207
home HR 117
home AB 1,368
home AB/HR 11.692
road HR 90
road AB 1,394
road AB/HR 15.488
Dif road-home 3.796
righty HR 198
righy AB 2,468
righty AB/HR 12.464
lefty HR 9
lefty AB 294
lefty AB/HR 32.666
Dif left-right 20.202
Pct HR v righties 95.65%
Pct AB v righties 89.36%; Percent of all Dodger AB v righties: 89.42%; amazingly close.

Both Snider individually and all Dodgers faced less than 11% lefty pitchers.  Contrast that with MLB lefty pitchers percent of plate Appearances (PA):

1953 30.19%
1954 28.03%
1955 28.73%
1956 26.67%
1957 22.87%

Some of these numbers are astonishing.  The NY Times obit emphasized:

he hit 40 or more home runs in five consecutive seasons, something neither Mays nor Mantle ever achieved, and a feat matched by only two other National Leaguers: Ralph Kiner and Barry Bonds.

The perspective above is therefore in order.

1 comment:

Ken said...

From Eric:

Duke Snider : hurt by the LA Coliseum?

Not really. At the Coliseum, 1 hr every 16.5 at bats
At Ebbets bandbox, 1 hr every 14.5 at bats.

Not much difference.

.999 ops at the Coliseum, one of his highest at any park

Just wanted to make the point that Snider wasn't really hurt by the Coliseum, he just got old real fast.

He hit 38 hrs in 629 at bats there, that's not too shabby.