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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Duke Snider: Brooklyn v. LA

See previous post and supporting data.

Part of what happened to Snider playing in LA 1958 through 1961 was that he was much less protected as a left handed batter than he had been during his days in Brooklyn.  Neither Jackie Robinson nor Roy Campanella, both Hall of Famers, played in LA at all.

Percentages against right handed pitchers 1953-1957 v. 1958-1961:

Snider's at bats (AB):
Brooklyn 89.36%
LA 95.43%

Snider's HR:
Brooklyn 95.65%
LA 97.06%

Dodgers at bats (AB):
Brooklyn 89.42%
LA 79.60%

Pct against righties:

   Dodger AB  MLB Pct PA
1953 84.33% 69.81%
1954 87.32% 71.97%
1955 91.99% 71.27%
1956 89.23% 73.33%
1957 94.39% 77.13%
Ave          89.42%    72.70%

   Dodger AB  MLB Pct PA
1958 85.89% 76.08%
1959 81.22% 76.81%
1960 77.86% 73.79%
1961 74.06% 71.62%
Ave         79.60% 74.58%

The Dodgers dropped almost ten percent in LA, while MLB increased almost two percent.  The gap closed between the Dodgers and MLB:

Brooklyn 89.42 - 72.70 = 16.72
LA 79.60 - 74.58 = 5.02

The Duke had lost his mojo, not just to failing knees but to the change in venue and loss of two Hall of Fame right handed batters (Robinson and Campanella), who while they may not have always batted behind Snider in the batting order, they, along with borderline Hall of Famer Gil Hodges and Carl Furillo (regular only in 1958), helped to intimidate opposing managers into using right handed pitchers far more often than against other teams.

The LA Coliseum had been designed for football and was used by the Dodgers during Snider's seasons in LA.  It had a very short left filed and a very long right field, which had a negative impact on Snider's ability to hit home runs.

Snider's HR ratio (AB/HR) home v. road:

Brooklyn 1953-1957:
home: 11.69
road: 15.49
difference: 3.80

home: 16.55
road: 17.87
difference: 1.31

Snider was a whopping minus 10.9 in 1958 but was plus at home in 1959, 1960 and 1961. Snider's home run hitting ratio was down both at home and on the road during his LA seasons.

home: 16.55 - 11.69 = 4.86
road: 17.87 - 15.49 = 2.38

The LA Coliseum hurt Snider but not as much as some had thought.

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