Feb. 10, 1964 - Everything will get ironed out eventually, according to both parties, but right now Duke Snider is more than a little bit peeved about the 1964 contract offered him by the New York Mets. “I expected a cut, but not that big,” Snider said in a telephone interview from his Fallbrook, Calif., bowling alley yesterday. “It wasn’t the full 25% [maximum permitted], but it was close.” Duke’s 1963 salary, after he was acquired for $40,000 from the Dodgers, was estimated at $35,000. Evidently the Mets have asked to take a slice in pay of about $8,000.
“I didn’t sign the contract because I thought they were being a little unreasonable,” the 37-year-old outfielder said today. “I think I helped the Mets last year, and not only on the field. There were things like attendance and promotions, and I spoke at a lot of banquets and affairs and tried my best to build up the Mets. I believe I can help the Mets this season or I wouldn’t come back. All I have asked is that they be reasonable. I told [Mets personnel director] Johnny Murphy I never had contract troubles with the Dodgers, and sometimes I think I could’ve held out for more money with the Dodgers and got it. But I don’t like to do things like that.”
“And I’m not going to be a holdout with the Mets either,” Duke continued. “I’m going to report to camp on or before March 2 whether I’m signed or not. I’m leaving California about five days before spring training opens and I’ll drive to St. Pete. I’m ready. All I’m asking is a few thousand more than they offered. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable, and I don’t believe that a few thousand more is going to bankrupt anybody.”
Snider played and pinch-hit in 129 games for the Mets last season. He was at bat 354 times and had 80 hits for a .243 average. His extra-base clouts totaled 25, of which 14 were homers. He knocked in 45 runs and scored 44.
But it’s the other tangibles that Duke thinks he should be paid for too. Like the fact that, with him in the lineup, the Mets drew a whopping opening day crowd last year, and the fact that 28,000 customers showed up for Duke Snider night in the middle of September.
Contacted at St. Pete, Murphy admitted that Duke had rejected the first contract offered him. “We’ve exchanged letters,” Murphy said. “The negotiations were interrupted because we’re trying to get the rookie camp going right now. I’ll be in contact with Snider tomorrow or the next day, and I’m sure our differences can be worked out.”