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Dodger Fans Assail Snider for Joining Giants

May 9, 1964 - The Duke stood in front of his locker opening letters. A glance at his face showed they didn’t contain dividend checks. He was frowning.

This was out of character for Edwin Donald Snider because normally he’s smiling and congenial.

“Poison pen letters?” a reporter asked.

He handed one over. It was a sample from a new barrage of mail since that ninth inning homer against the Dodgers in Los Angeles that turned the first series between these antagonists in the Giants’ favor. The letter read: “You big bum! You must feel like Benedict Arnold, you blackguard. How could you do that to your ex-teammates?”

The editorial content of the others was similar. One was a collection of letters and newspaper clippings pasted on a two-foot-square sheet of paper.

“If you had any gumption or heart, you would have quit like Jackie Robinson did before going over to the enemy camp. Have you no loyalty?”

These indictments don’t make much sense to Snider.

“If I could afford to quit, I probably wouldn’t have played this season — or the year before when the Dodgers sold me to the Mets,” he said. “But I can’t afford such luxury. Loyalty goes so far, but when children have to eat and be sent to college, it’s pretty hard to join the army of the unemployed. If I did retire, what would I do for money? My avocado ranch just got in the black the last two years, and the bowling alley is breaking even. I felt badly when I went to the Mets. But even after 16 years, and some of them were pretty good, I didn’t feel that the Dodgers were disloyal to me.”

“How did I feel about beating the Dodgers?” Duke continued. “Fine. I helped the club paying my salary. And the home run was a little sweeter because we have to beat the Dodgers to win the pennant. There was no bitterness or thought of revenge.”

Asked if he were looking forward to the resumption of warfare with the Dodgers — this was on Thursday — he replied: “I’m looking forward to today — and worry about tomorrow when it gets here. The prime objective is to win each day. I’ve been in three playoffs for the pennant, and I know that one game can mean a championship.”

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