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Duke Snider Receives Pardon For Tax Evasion From President Obama

Forget about Chelsea Manning! In other pardon-related news (that I suppose several Dodger fans were keeping watch for) it was announced today that Hall of Famer Duke Snider, was granted a pardon from President Barak Obama.

The Duke of Flatbush was convicted of tax evasion in 1995, and sentenced to two years probation and a five thousand dollar fine. As part of a plea bargain, Snider admitted to hiding up to $100,000 of income he earned signing autographs and crisscrossing the country, making personal appearances in the red-hot sports memorabilia circuit. In addition to the fine, Snider paid more than fifty thousand dollars in back taxes and penalties.

In a written statement Snider submitted to the court, he expressed concern that “my conduct may have in some way tarnished the game” that had been “very good to me,” and “hope that my fans, especially those in Brooklyn, can accept my apology.”

Duke Snider had good reason to fret about his reputation. After decades of being a beloved Dodgers legend, Snider found himself before the judicial system, being branded as a federal-level cheat. At the time of his conviction, the L.A. Times ran an article referring to Snider as “The Duke of Greed”. However, I didn’t see things so black-and-white. While I’m not saying I endorse hiding income from the government, I am saying I can understand the man’s motivations.

Snider was one of “The Boys of Summer”. He was a legend among legends. But he played in an era the owners were the only rich men in the game. Back in his day, even some starters had to keep an offseason job just to make ends meet. Snider lived long enough to see even journeyman ballplayers being paid millions.

Duke Snider was in his 60’s when the sports memorabilia industry kicked into high gear, and his name was instant money. This was his chance to cash in big time, and he probably figured he was due. This was his payday, and what was the harm in not declaring a few thou here and there? What he didn’t figure on was Uncle Sam noticing the booming autographed ball business, and making sure the tax man got his cut.

Snider wasn’t alone in his legal troubles back then, and he wasn’t alone today either. A former San Francisco Giant, Willie McCovey, who was also snared in the federal government’s tax-evasion nets, was pardoned by the president as well. For once, Dodgers and Giants fans have something to cheer about on the same day.

The Duke of Tax Evasion has now returned to just being the Duke of Flatbush. It’s just too bad it had to finally happen five years after his death.



Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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Oscar Martinez
I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

59 thoughts on “Duke Snider Receives Pardon For Tax Evasion From President Obama

  1. Not really sure what the point of pardoning folks that have passed away is but ok.

    Does everyone realize that the Duke played 18 seasons and had a negative dWAR 14 times. Ended his career with a -6 dWAR.

    Yet in an article dated 1/11/80, this was stated about Duke Snider……..

    ‘Furthermore, he had great speed and was a spectacular outfielder whose wall-climbing catches were something to behold.’

    This beckons the question of how is dWar calculated for guys that played years ago? Is there tape of every game?

    Even Ty Cobb has a -10.8 dWar and his career began in 1905.

    1. Per Vinny Willie Mays is the best CF he ever saw, however the best catch he ever saw was made by the Duke. Playing in Ebbets Field Vinny said Snider was a caged eagle.

    2. I guess the pardon for people who have passed is for their families and their public record. But I agree, it rings a little hollow.

      I’m a little questioning of defensive stats because they are more subjective (obviously I’m talking about the ones beyond the stat-cast slate of distance covered and optimal route) but also because positioning has become so specialized and advanced these days. OF are moved around a lot more than they used to and I don’t know how the stats incorporate that.

      1. Sure, I get that but a pardon doesn’t wipe out the ‘admitted to crime.’ It doesn’t change the history books. Basically is a new beginning or a second chance. One would need to be alive to take advantage of a second chance.

  2. In comparison, Josh Reddick 2 months with the Dodgers made 4 errors and had a fielding percentage of .953, yet ended up with a positive dWar of .2 with the Dodgers. Go figure. Or is it pull a number out of your ass?

    1. Pretty sure it must be a “pull a number out of your ass” calculation then.

      Duke had good speed, a good arm and did make a lot of great catches. He was a good outfielder and I can’t imagine that he could be a liability, negative or below average fielder in any circumstance of MLB.

      1. Probably why his highest single season batting average is only .281 and that was done while playing for his next contract.

  3. Like I said, don’t trust the WAR business. Especially dWAR.

    If Snider played today he’d be making $20+mm and have plenty of off shore opportunities to hide his income. Tax evasion. Duke Snider. What a joke.

  4. Some kind of software change…
    Scott and Oscar, if you are still monitoring, how about you and the other writers post a notice in the comments whenever you put up a new post? No software changes needed, just when you post a new message, please go to the comments on the old one and post a notice so commenters will know to switch to the new thread… Nothing fancy, Jon Weisman at DodgerThoughts just entered “NPUT” (New Post Up Top) so some of us less bright ones wouldn’t sit and stare at a dead thread, wondering why nobody was posting anymore.

    1. Hi Wondering,
      I saw this comment when you requested it a couple of posts back. It’s a good idea, and I’ll try to remember your suggestion whenever I post.
      But I’ll be honest with you, there are times we writers are posting on the run and we just don’t remember to go back to a previous article so we can alert everyone there’s a new article. That certainly happened to me.
      We appreciate everyone’s suggestions to make LADR a better site. Looking forward to 2017 and Happy Birthday LA Dodger Report!!

  5. I’ve been reading several articles on WAR and have come to a conclusion that I may not ever fully understand it. Most of what is written about it is dated, some as early as 2008. I did find this which sums up where I find myself:–why-war-doesn-t-always-add-up-030133203.html

    Admittedly I haven’t read the book, and I admit that the neurons don’t fire as well as they usta did. I just have a gut feeling that something doesn’t add up. I could attempt to explain what it is I see, and what it is I feel (example: a game saving catch over the wall in the 9th isn’t valued any higher than catch on the warning track in the 5th, or a stolen base after the 7th that leads to a winning run isn’t valued any higher than a stolen base with a 4 run lead etc etc.. The examples are many) but I would likely just sound like Larry Bowa and I sure don’t want that to happen. I know what I know, and I also recognize what I don’t know. I don’t know why Kemp and his 35/100 has less WAR than a guy who throws 34 innings and I don’t know why people say a starting pitchers number of wins are not important and – neither is a batting average.

    1. Glad you are able to do the research. I just don’t have that type of time available.

      The more we analyze and ask ‘ourselves’ questions the more WAR doesn’t have a very sound basis for grading out players or comparing players from previous eras. For example, the total WAR listed for Duke Snider of 65 is a net of his oWar (71) and dWar (-6). As most everyone that watched him play throughout his career would not think that any minor leaguer could have performed better defensively than the Duke which is what a negative WAR would imply. IF Duke Snider’s dWAR was zero for his career he would have the highest WAR (71) of any Dodger in history.

      Maybe someone can explain how Pee Wee Reese’s oWar is 55 and his dWar is 25 but yet his total WAR is 66.

  6. A rainy day here in the desert, three or four more to follow. Maybe. Weathermen are like politicians, you can’t believe a thing they say. I like the rain, I miss those driving downpours we used to have in California. I’ve seen it rain so hard there I couldn’t see 50 feet in front of me, I’d have to get off the freeway and wait till it quit. The rains up here, what few we have, are gentle. I’ll listen to music and read all day after I make my weekly mail and grocery run. Anyone see the movie “Hard Rain”? Great movie.

    1. Wondering

      La La Land, is the movie you need to critique, especially being a big fan, of musicals!

      But I think it might not make the mark, but what do I know.

  7. I’m not anti-Tim Raines. He was a very good player and had a very good career. Just not sure he was HOF material. IMO, the Baseball HOF (actually most all of them) is becoming much diluted with marginal guys. The fact that he made it in on the last try kind of reinforces him being a very marginal guy.

    I still wonder how a player does not receive 75% of the vote at any time over the previous 9 years and then all of a sudden receive 86%. In fact on his 2nd ballot, Tim Raines was on less than 25% of the ballots. What did he do this past year that caused him to receive that much of a bump in the voting? Was money paid out? That seems to be the way to get things done these days. Just pay off folks.

    And btw, I also do not think Jeff Bagwell should be in the HOF either. For a first baseman, I do not feel his career numbers are good enough. 2,300 hits… that now the barometer for first basemen? Was only an All-Star 4 times. 4 times! Gold Glove winner 1 time! He hit 40% of his career homers in the last 5 seasons while playing in a band box.

    The only one that I would have voted in would have been Ivan Rodriguez. A great defensive catcher with 2,800+ hits. A 14 time All-Star. A 13 time Gold Glove award winner. A league MVP in 1999. That is a HOF career.

    1. There is more than one guy in there with questionable numbers. Bill Mazerowski comes to mind. Great fielder, not so much with the stick.

      1. Yeah, I agree with both of you guys. I can’t figure these Hall voters out!

        I remember in 1987 or so, when Tim Raines was a free agent. Our GM, I think Fred Claire, said “why would we sign Tim Raines when we already have Ken Landreaux?” Even back then, I was like “oh come on now!” That’s when I knew it’d be a bumpy ride being a Dodger fan the rest of my life!

    2. Chili

      I was listening a little about the Hall of Fame talk, and not everyone felt that Raines, was a hall of Famer.

      Some felt he was a really good player, for five or six years, and some thought after that, he was a decent player, but he tended not to play much more then 125 games in a season, or in that range, so they thought he was truly border line, so some felt like exactly like you do.

      Most of his change in votes, comes from people today, evaluating his career saber metrically.

      A former player made a good point to say, that the stats they look at today, were not emphasized back then, so some players, were not aiming for those type of saber metric numbers, that are big today.

      1. MJ,

        I’m curious, what/where do you hear baseball talk?

        And if you’re watching MLB TV, how horrible is Harold Reynolds? I think he’s the worst.

        1. Bluto

          Yes Reynolds can be bad, especially in a broadcast.

          I didn’t get the Dodgers that first year, after they went to TWC.

          And I would try to watch the MLB Channel, because they would look into games, in progress.

          And I got so tired of listening to Reynolds talking about himself, instead of looking into the games.

          I even watch Brian Kenney, and I do like him, but some there, don’t care about baseball, if it isn’t in the east coast.

  8. And I can’t get Gil Hodges in the Hall???
    Agree with you wholeheartedly Chili… Sometimes it’s OK just not to vote anyone in rather than the play they made on Raines…

    1. That is the problem when players are only evaluated by the saber metrics of today, even though they have numbers to compare players from previous history, to players today.

      Some of these saber metric numbers, are not always a good evaluation, and because of that, they don’t truly evaluate players correctly, all the time.

      Just like I have said about OPS.

      If I went by OPS on the team, which is how saber metrics rate offense, OPS has Joc as the second best hitter on the team, and OPS ranks Grandal, as the fourth best hitter, on the team.

      And I wouldn’t consider either of these players, as good hitters.

      Joc is better then Grandal, but he is not even close to the second best hitter on the team.

      Joc is still just learning to hit, and Grandal, is a feast or famine type of hitter, and Joc has times like that, in the season too.

      Grandal always has a really good July, but he doesn’t do much after that.

      But maybe he tires out, after a while, because catching is demanding position.

      And I am not saying all saber metric numbers, are not a good way to evaluate players.

      I am just saying, that these numbers, are not always an accurate way to evaluate all players.

      And from what I heard on the MLB Network, even Bill James, is not an advocate, for WAR.

      1. I look at it differently MJ. OPS doesn’t necessarily tell me how good a hitter a player is, it tells me how many total bases he accumulates with his at bats. That’s obviously important as it definitely lends itself the opportunity to score more runs. There are a few stats that will tell you how good a hitter a guy is that don’t include number of walks and slugging percentage. BA is one of course, but others are Batted Ball Stats – GB%, LD% FB%, BABIP, exit velocity, K%, etc.. My first good hitting instructor told me 7 out of 10 line drives are base hits. Back then not every player was 190 pounds or larger. Back then it was actually better to hit a top spin ground ball than it was to hit the ball in the air. Big guys make fly balls work for them, especially in the small parks we have today. The dimensions of my high school home field were larger than Dodger Stadium. Even the field on which I hit my last home run, Napa College, it was 346′ down the left field line. But I digress. The point is good hitters hit the ball hard more often than others. There are ways to measure that. OPS isn’t necessarily one of them.

        1. Badger

          There is really something, that needs to be done, with OPS.

          It is just the way that they value walks, and strike outs, that probably messes up OPS, with certain hitters.

          And a lot of people use OPS quite a bit, to value offense.

          But you are right, you do need to look at a few different values, because, no one value, is a true measure of a hitter.

          And I don’t care what sabers say about batting average, because that is actually, one of those values, that should be looked at.

          It is always better to hit for an average, then not hit for an average, because a hitter, is making a difference more often, if that hitter is getting a higher average of hits.

          1. I get the value of OPS. I don’t discount it. But guys who swing and miss as often as Squirrel and Joc make the old coach in me cringe. They have reasonably good eyes so they walk a lot, and they connect often enough to hit the ball well over 400′. I would just like to see a more intelligent 2 strike approach. I accept that I’m not gonna get it. They get paid millions to do what they do. They aren’t going to change.

    2. Most hero-worshippers live to be disappointed/let down by the one they idolize. For those of us who wisely chose Gil to try to emulate, that never posed a problem. Our challenge has always been failing to live up to the man’s standard, on or off the field.

      A few years ago, the Dodgers staged “Gil Hodges Night.” My bride surprised me with tickets. Gil’s son was there, representing his dad and family. I had hoped that Vinnie would make a surprise appearance, as he oft said that Number Fourteen was his all-time favorite Dodger — no such luck. But what really disappointed was the announcer saying that Gil served our Country as a sailor in the Navy. Like hell; he was a Marine. And that makes him my brother. He is not diminished by having been left out of Cooperstown; rather, the HOF is the lesser for his absence. Semper Fi, Mr. Hodges. I hope one day to guard the Streets of Heaven on your watch.

  9. I can’t understand why Pee Wee Reese is in the HOF and Jim Gilliam’s number has been not given out since he retired but Gil Hodges isn’t in the HOF and his number is worn by the Banana man.
    It doesn’t seem logical at all. Am I missing something??

    1. Richie

      The Dodgers retired Gilliam’s number, and he is the only players number, that the Dodgers have retired, that isn’t in the Hall of Fame.

      Other then Gilliam, the Dodgers have only retired players numbers, that are in the Hall of Fame.

      And that is how I think it should be.

      1. MJ:
        I know that. My question was WHY was #19 retired and not #14 also. How was Gilliam’s contribution larger to the Dodgers than Gil Hodges?
        Gil Hodges was not only loved but beloved by the fans. He was also respected by all that played with and against him.

        1. I wonder if it is because he played for and managed other teams. That’s not much of an excuse in my book but baseball people can be funny…

          1. yes I totally agree. Gil’s number should be retired, and he should absolutely be in the HOF. It is a travesty as his numbers are close to Tony Perez and Gil was the best 1st baseman of his era. The old timer’s committee has blown it.

        2. Question as to why could be answered by the fact that Gilliam played his entire career as a Dodger, came out of the coaching ranks, not once, but twice to help the Dodgers win pennants….65,66 and in the 65 series he was Brooks Robinson like at 3rd, stealing a few hits from the Twinkies. He then coached the team until his sudden death, and was loved by all the players. White and colored. The team dedicated the series that year to Jr. His number was retired for his total commitment to the organization. He was also a ROY and probably one of the better utility players the team ever had.

          1. Thanks Michael. Your reply was appreciated and made me feel a bit better, not much, but a bit.

          1. You missed a real treat there MJ. Hodges was a strapping big guy and very strong. He hit 25 homers the 1st year in LA. He hit RH and was a great glove guy. I saw him pick up Ray Jablonski, who was a player with St Louis during a brawl with the Cardinals at the Coliseum, and carry him to the sidelines. Jablonski was big too. About 6’2″ and 235. Gilliam was the perfect #2 hitter, and if you were to ask Maury Wills, he would say Jr. was a big reason he could steal all those bases because he was such a patient hitter. Jr.s 1959 topps card…Dodgers let Gil go in the draft and he became a Met. Duke Snider was traded to the Mets after the 1962 season…..

          2. MJ:
            Sorry you didn’t see the team of the late 40’s and 50’s play in person. It’s a personal experience that no one can relate to unless you were there. Read the book “Boys of Summer” and you can get some feeling as to the INTENSE feeling we as fans back then had for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
            I’m not saying the fans of the LA Dodgers don’t have strong feelings for the team but you would have to live in Brooklyn to understand the Dodgers were more than a baseball team. They were a “way of life” especially those of us who lived close to Ebbets Field.
            A lot of the players lived in the area and would sometimes join us when we were playing stickball in the streets or be invited to our homes for dinner.
            It truly was a special time in my life, a time, unfortunately will never happen again.
            Growing up, Gil Hodges was my hero and he’s still my favorite player all time.

          3. I saw Gilliam play a lot. Saw Hodges too and still cannot understand why he has been passed over twice by the veterans committee. He was respected by all his team mates, and won a world series as manager of the Miracle Mets. He died at 49 of a heart attack.

      1. Richie

        I could only imagine, it sounds like it was so much fun.

        And the fact that the Dodgers got there name, from the people in Brooklyn, tells everything.

        I have always wished us LA fans, showed a little more emotion, like the people do in NY, and in Boston.

        Vin has always done a really good job, of trying to let us know, just what baseball was like, back then.

    1. I remember an interview with Del Ennis, a Philadelphia outfielder, who said that he had to jump and stretch to touch a cleat mark left on the wall that Duke made when he “climbed” the wall to make a catch. I think that there was a picture of it in either Look or Life magazine.

    2. I remember an interview with Del Ennis, a Philadelphia outfielder, who said that he had to jump and stretch to touch a cleat mark left on the center field wall that Duke made when he “climbed” the wall to make a catch. I think that there was a picture of it in either Look or Life magazine.

      1. utley09 # 109980.47(47 of 108) Replied to: bcjello12/7/12 12:08 PM
        Unfortunately, as a teenager, I had to watch Mays and Snider come into Connie Mack Stadium and haunt the hometown boys more than I want to recall…

        I was in Connie Mack Stadium the day Duke made one of the greatest catches I ever saw..Richie often talked about it in his frequent talks with HK, and in columns he wrote.. My recollection is that the Phils trailed by 2 runs, bottom of 9th, 2 on 2 out..Willie Jones drove a ball that looked ticketed for the LC field bleachers,a real poke..Duke literally climbed the wall, planting his spike, and made a miraculous catch. It looked impossible, much speculation ensued whether Duke actually caught it, I believe Richie thought he trapped it against the wall, it was impossible to say with certainty..but the ump ruled a catch, thus he caught it..I still remember the whole Dodger team , headed by Reese , going out to greet the Duke as he collected himself..

  10. At opening day at Dodger Stadium in 1962 I was a 14 year old standing by the right field foul pole during batting practice. when a ball came right in front of me I opened the little gate that lets you out on the field and took a few steps to retrieve the ball. Duke Snider who was shagging balls in right field ran over to me and said “do you know that the Dodgers spent $50,000 on baseballs last year”. He took the ball away from me. I will never forget it. What a dick

    1. Wow Mr. Jazz, I am at a loss for words. Reminds me of the story my Uncle told me when he asked Dick Allen for his autograph and he told him to ask his parents for an autograph and that he was “no Dodger”. Makes m think of the Duke in a different light.

  11. Thanks Scott. Yeah, it is a crazy story. I’m still a big time Dodger fan and I also attended the very first game at the Coliseum in 1958. Still have ticket stubs for 1958 and 1962.Set behind the left field screen. I was 10. I brought my son up with the Dodgers. He’s now 25 years old. He hates Duke Snider

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