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Shortened fence for Duke Snider

Shortened fence for Duke Snider

April 1959: The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Duke Snider poses for a portrait next to the shortened outfield fence at the Coliseum.

While playing in Brooklyn, Snider hit at least 40 home runs a year over five seasons (1953-57). But when the Dodgers moved to the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1958, age, aching knee and a 440-foot power alley in right-center field limited Snider to six homers at home and 15 overall.

For the start of the 1959 season, writer Frank Finch reported in the April 14, 1959 Los Angeles Times:

Probably as much attention will be directed to the park’s new outfield “look” as to the athletes themselves. The controversial left-field screen remains unchanged, but Walter O’Malley mercifully reduced the distances in center and right fields to give southpaw swingers a fighting chance.

Straightaway center has been shortened by 5 feet to 420, the power alley in right center which all but busted Duke Snider’s heart last season has been shortened from 440 to 375, and the uninviting 390 measurement in right now is only 333….

Despite being platooned in center field with Don Demeter, Snider responded by hitting 23 homers — 13 at the Coliseum — during the 1959 season.

This photo by staff photographer Art Rogers was published in the April 15, 1959 Los Angeles Times.

For more on Snider, check out his Feb. 28, 2011 Los Angeles Times obituary Duke Snider dies at 84; Dodger Hall of Famer.

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