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Duke Snider Is a San Francisco Giant

Apr. 14, 1964 - In the strangest development since Leo Durocher was made manager at the Polo Grounds, Duke Snider (pictured with Ron Hunt) left the New York baseball scene for the second and probably the last time in his 17-year career today when the Mets sold him outright to the San Francisco Giants. The team announced the sale of the outfielder just before it came to Philadelphia to open the 1964 season against the Phillies.

Snider left at once for the West Coast, where he was born and raised and now lives, and where he played five seasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers after 11 years as a slugging star in Brooklyn. The 37-year-old Snider lives in Fallbrook, Calif., where he has farming and business interests. He has always wanted to end his major league career in California.

The deal gives the Giants a powerful left-handed pinch hitter and part-time player behind Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, and Harvey Kuenn in their annual pennant fights with the Dodgers.

Snider received word of his transfer shortly before noon today when he gathered with the rest of the Mets at the Traveler Motel in expectation of taking off for the opener in Philly. Instead, he was handed a plane ticket to San Francisco. One of the first things he did was phone Horace Stoneham, Giant president.

“I think you are just what we need,” Duke quoted Stoneham as saying, and Snider replied: “I hope so.”

He informed Stoneham he will be in Giant uniform, ready to work at Candlestick Park tomorrow night, when the Giants tackle the Braves in their second game.

“I want to thank the fans of New York who always have been very kind to me, and it was a real experience playing for a great old guy like Casey Stengel,” said Duke in his farewell message. “But I’m happy about this. It’s such a good opportunity for me. It’s a chance to be with a top team, and that’s important when you only have a year or two left. It’s quite a switch, being a Giant. Just the sound of it is strange — but I think I’ll get used to it.”

Snider laughed at the thought of swinging for the big money against his old Dodger buddies, especially Don Drysdale, a particularly close friend.

Snider also telephoned his wife, Bev, in Fallbrook, 500 miles south of San Francisco.

“We’ve been traded to the Giants, I told Bev,” said Duke. “She let out a shriek that must have been heard up in San Francisco. I think she was more overjoyed than I was about the deal.”

“Maybe he’ll be more content on the coast and will help that club,” Casey Stengel said today. “But for us, you’ve got to ask: how many games can he play? Can you cut young pitchers to make room for him when he’d rather be nearer home, and then maybe he can play only part-time? What we need are young fellows who can play maybe eight or nine years.”

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