Yes, John Wayne was knows as the “Duke,” but I’m not writing about that Duke, nor am I writing about Ellington. Since I grew up as a Dodger fan, you know which Duke I’m talking about – Snider.
He passed away on February 27th. He was a marvel in center field for “Dem Bums” and was one of the trio of New York legends who roamed center field in the early ‘50s – Duke, The Mick, and the Say Hey Kid (Snider, Mantle, Mays). Players were well known in their cities and quite often lived near the stadiums where they played. Night games were a rarity and travelling cross country meant going to Chicago. Baseball was a different sport in those days. Yet in today’s world of mega stadiums and free agency, the bases are still 90’ apart and the mound is still 60’6” away.
Two days prior to the Duke’s passing another legend passed away in Dallas – John Brodnax. He was the founder of Brodnax Printing Company – and was a truly unique printer. As Mike Campbell, now the owner of Brodnax Printing, said, “John was a true artist. He created works of art with his equipment.” John was well known for his creativity and the ability to cater to the whims of creatives at whatever cost. If you wanted extremely excellent quality printing in those days, there were only a handful of companies who could do it – and John’s was one of them.
Print has changed over the years as well – but it’s still a unique craft. We just have different tools, but the end game is still the same. Take ideas and raw material and convert them into a form of communication that is tangible and can not be reproduced on an electronic screen. Yes, John and the Duke may not have liked the way things changed over the years — but they would still understand how the game was played. Rest in peace gents.