Adieu, Duke

For anyone who spent a warm summer evening in Montreal sitting out on the porch, sipping a cold one and listening to Dave Van Horne and Duke Snider call an Expos game, this is a sad day.

The Duke of Flatbush – one of three great centrefielders New York baseball fans were privileged to watch in the 1950s – was 84.

During my one season of covering the Expos, for the Montreal Star in 1979, Duke would tirelessly tease me about how badly I dressed.

It was always a great pleasure – and an education – to hear him talk, off-air, about baseball.

• A plaque for Jackie Robinson’s Montreal house

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24 Comments

  1. Shiloh says:

    Duke had a stock expression: When Van Horne would comment it was hot, he would reply, “It is that, Dave.” If Van Horne said that Rodney Scott was fast, Duke would reply, “He is that, Dave.”

    Donald Edwin Snider, the Duke of Flatbush – centrefielder for the beloved Bums. One of three awesome centrefielders playing at the same time in the same city – Mickey, Willie and the Duke. I had a baseball card once with the Duke as a Brooklyn Dodger – and Roger Maris as a Kansas City Athletic. It was a lifetime ago.

    RIP Duke.

  2. ths says:

    Spring in Montreal. First rays of sun, warmth, beautiful women coming out of hiding and Dave and Duke on the radio. Late at night in bed my whole world revolved around the Expos winning the big one.

    What memories. One of the all time greats of Montreal. We lost more than a baseball team and a baseball player. We lost our heart and soul somewhere along the way. I dont think we’ll ever get that amazing cultural peak back again but I’m glad I had a sniff of it growing up. I probably would give my Saku Koivu autographed Habs jersey to go back in time and have a sniff of the Duke Montreal Royals era must have been a magical time in the city.

  3. NoTinFoilCups says:

    Very sad to hear. I never got to see him play but no doubt he carried himself with the same class as he did during his broadcasting career.

    I lived and died with the Expos during those years, it wasn’t the same after he left. Then the sad demise of the franchise. Now I couldn’t name a half dozen MLB players if my life depended on it.

  4. RS says:

    Dave and Duke, that conjurs up childhood memories of growing up in eastern ontario. Summer time, the radio on, the Expos always coming so close. Dave and Duke were wonderful announcers

    I quit following baseball when the powers that be kiled our expos. It’s not out of spite, there just isn’t anything there for me anymore.

  5. smiler2729 says:

    I used to walk from TMR to Jarry Park for doubleheaders with my radio. Sitting in Jonesville, I’d listen to Dave, Duke and Russ Taylor make the game come alive… man, I miss the Expos.

  6. Tighthead says:

    Exact same for this EO boy  – when the Expos bit it, I just grew apart from baseball, a sport which I played and loved.

    One thing I liked about the early 80s was that the Expos were a national team – by 1986 or so the Jays had a much greater profile nationally. 

  7. doug19 says:

    For Hab fans only! well maybe leaf fans too!

    The Sweater!

    http://www.nfb.ca/film/sweater

  8. shootdapuck says:

    A classy man the well spoken Duke Snider.

    My father was a pasionate Royals fan and was in Delormier to see Jackie Robinson play his first game in 1946.

    He used to go on and on about Duke, Roy Campanella, Tommy Lasorda and Walter Alston during broadcasts of the Expos games when Duke did the colour with Dave Van Horne.

    Duke, a shining example of what pro athletes were then and a contrast to what most have become today.

     

     

    “I only like to watch and takes notes” JM

  9. Shurobert says:

    If Dave was baseball’s Danny Gallivan, Duke was the counterpart of Dick Irvin. I never saw Duke as a Montreal Royal but I know he hit a ton of balls over the “Knit to Fit” in Right field.

    As a Dodger, he was tough on my Giants. As an Expo coach and broadcaster, he called it as it was and as it should have been.

    He was always classy and he left a legasy.

  10. BeachHabFan says:

    sad to hear, lots of great memories from those sky’s-the-limit summers in the 80′s. Suddenly have a hankering for some Orange Maison.

  11. Ronin says:

    Was a passionate Expos fan….Duke was part of that. Its a shame baseball is gone from Montreal and a greater shame that one of its best ambassadors is now also gone.

    Salut.

  12. Cape Breton says:

    Great tribute to the Duke pal, and your parents. I never saw a game at the Big O or Parc Jarry but watched them religously on TV from both stadiums back in the day and listened on the radio, too. Duke and Dave are  a big part of my memories and youth as well.

  13. Exit716 says:

    In 1979, my mother died suddenly of a stroke. I had never really been close to my father, but he was thrust into the role of being a single parent to a 15 year old at the age of 54. We had a common bond and that was baseball and the Expos. I was fortunate to experience some of the greatest Expos moments at Olympic Stadium and listening on the radio and watching on TV with my father. Duke was a big part of that. I feel like part of my youth has left me today. Thanks Duke and Dave. You’ll always live on in my memories.

  14. Caper says:

    Agree with you 100% and would add Steinbrenner in the company of Selig. They wanted baseball out of Montreal. The Duke and to this day Dave Van Horne were the best.

  15. Exit716 says:

    Dave and Duke turned me into a passionate Expos fan. Bud Selig killed baseball for me. Rest In Peace, Mr. Snider.

  16. Habnofear says:

    Another  great athlete and Gentleman gone …R.I.P. Duke.

  17. Cape Breton says:

    Indeed, THE DUKE was an excellant color man. He certanly knew his stuff and he educated a lot of us Canadians on the game. He and Van horne were a great duo. I recall the 70′s and 80′s when the Expos were bad and than they were good. But it didn’t matter how the team was performing because those guys made every telecact very interesting. GOD BLESS THE DUKE.

  18. Cape Breton says:

    Nothing on the Montreal Gazette website that the Duke is gone. It’s in Toronto Globe and Mail. though

  19. Tighthead says:

    I miss being an Expos fan, and a baseball fan.  Born in 1971, listened to lots of Duke and Dave out of Ottawa on CKBY.  They were gentlemen broadcasters.

     

  20. arcosenate says:

    Tough watching everything about the Expos fade away like this, thanks for the memories Duke.

  21. HabFab says:

    Loved the Duke and Dave!!

    And for those that never experienced watching a baseball game from the bleachers at Jerry Park…my sincere condolences!!

  22. Chuck says:

    Sad news… he and Van Horne were easily one of the greatest duos to call the game. And as we know from having to endure sub-par broadcasts, the transition from player to broadcaster isn’t easy.

    He was one of the good ones, and will be missed.

  23. Cape Breton says:

    Right on fellow Caper, the big brass wanted out of Montreal, too bad. And then they keep the likes of Florida and their 2000 fans per game in the league, eh.

    Rest in peace Duke. 


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