He was every sandlot player's fantasy: < good looks, grace, poetry and
A duke. To his teammates, however, the Lord of Flatbush was a petulant,
bull-headed, sometimes defiant superstar who always did it his way. This
episode will show the love-hate relationship Duke Snider had with Brooklyn,
as well as his frequent bouts with diffidence that prompted the New York
Daily News headline: "All Sure Snider Has It -- All Except Snider."
Pete Rozelle and Gene Mauch recall the charismatic young Duke Snider who
played ball in Compton, California. Duke recounts the time Dodger scout
Downey showed up on his doorstep with a typewriter in hand. "We're going
sign you." The 17-year-old went to Bear Mountain, the Dodgers' wartime
training camp, and immediately became known as a problem child when he
at the rigid discipline and concerted training program favored by Branch
The irrepressible Duke talks with warmth and humor about his experiences
the minor leagues and in the Navy during the war. Back in the States, he
finds himself on the playing field with men he had idolized since boyhood
Joe DiMaggio, Dixie Walker, and Pete Reiser, whose bouts with the
wall put him out of commission and brought Duke to the position in which he
vied for prominence with Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. In his last
interview before his death, Mantle talks about the rivalry.
The funny stories told by Duke are equalled by the anecdotes told by his
former teammates. Also seen is an old Ovaltine commercial featuring Duke,
kitschy example of the marriage of commercialism and hero worship that has
culminated in the Shaq Attack beneath the Golden Arches.
While New York talked about who was the best centerfielder, California was
talking about luring two of those centerfielders to the west coast. Los
Angeles City Councilwoman Roz Wyman tells of her dream of bringing the
Dodgers to her home town. The viewer will also learn how fear of
and some help from a young senator named Richard Nixon, scotched a housing
program in Chavez Ravine, leaving the land clear for the dream that Wyman
shared with mayor Norris Poulson.
Duke tells about playing the last game in Ebbets Field and about the
animosity he encountered when he was misquoted by a reporter who wrote that
Duke was glad the team was leaving. "I was born in Los Angeles," says
"but I was born and raised baseball-wise in Brooklyn."
Duke is still making news. He speaks frankly about his troubles with the
IRS, his regret that he may have disillusioned his fans, and his eagerness
show that their regard was not misplaced. He pays tribute to his wife and
the sheer pleasure of living: "Pee Wee and I are the only two living
of the starting eight in the '55 Brooklyn Dodger lineup. How much longer we
got I don't know, but we're gonna have a whale of a time between now and