The Duke of Flatbush

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Born in Compton, California, Edwin Donald Snider, who became known to baseball fans as “the Duke,” started his quest to become a major league player by learning the game on the sandlots of Southern California. Through hard work, Duke Snider made it all the way to the top of his chosen profession. He broke into the Brooklyn Dodgers organization by playing for one of their farm teams. Management was impressed with his skills, and, in 1947, he made his debut as a Brooklyn Dodger. Snider recalls the thrill of stepping onto the legendary playing field of Ebbets Field.

The year 1947 was also important to baseball and the Dodgers for another reason: Jackie Robinson became the first black to play in the major leagues. Snider reveals how tough it was on Robinson and how a lesser individual would probably not have made it through the first season. The Brooklyn Dodgers were blessed with a number of remarkable players during Snider’s career--players who are still remembered today: Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges, Carl Furillo, Carl Erskine, and many others. The Dodgers always seemed to have the top players; when it came time for the World Series, however, they always ran into the New York Yankees and came up short until the 1955 season, when the Dodgers won their first championship. Because of these and other recollections, THE DUKE OF FLATBUSH becomes not only Snider’s story but the Dodgers’ as well. There was a lot of heartbreak in being a Dodger player or fan; but there was also much excitement and fantastic baseball.

THE DUKE OF FLATBUSH recalls baseball when it was played in the sunshine, on real grass, by bigger-than-life individuals. A wonderful selection of photographs enhances Snider’s memoir. This is a book for all baseball fans.