What a strapping young lad.
Featured above are several childhood photos of Dodger Hall of Famer Duke Snider that are currently available for sale through MEARS Auction. Check it out here.
In one of the pics Snider is shown in his Naval uniform. After spending his first season as a Dodger farmhand at the age of 17, Duke joined the military. He served for 19 months. Per an biography at Baseball in Wartime:
"They checked us just enough to make sure we were warm and upright," he explained in his autobiography The Duke of Flatbush, "and a guy handed me some papers I didn't want to know about and screamed 'NAVY!' in my face at the top of his lungs. I was headed for he high seas. I wondered why they took me if they thought I was deaf."Duke never found himself in combat during his service with the Navy.
Snider served as a fireman, third class on the submarine tender USS Sperry at Guam. Snider used to win bets against other sailors and servicemen by throwing a baseball the length of submarines that arrived at Guam, that's about 300 feet. "I'd throw the ball the length of their sub, my crewmates would win $300 or so, and I'd pick up my guarantee - $50," he recalls
“We played lots of baseball and basketball on Guam. Pee Wee Reese was stationed there, too, but I never bumped into him.” Snider moonlighted for the 2nd Marine Division team while on Guam as well as playing for the USS Sperry team.
In between playing baseball, Snider's main duty on the USS Sperry was dishwashing detail. "There was a porthole behind the sink and any time we came across a chipped glass or dish that wouldn't come clean in less than a second we fired the sucker into the Pacific Ocean."
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