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Repentant Dodger Hall of Famer Avoids Jail

December 2, 1995

NEW YORK (AP) _ Returning to the borough that made him famous, former Brooklyn Dodgers hero Duke Snider was sentenced by one of his fans for tax evasion.

The baseball Hall of Famer apologized Friday as he was sentenced in federal court in Brooklyn to two years probation and a $5,000 fine, but not jail.

``I take full responsibilities for my actions,″ Snider said. ``I also hope that my fans, especially those in Brooklyn, can accept my apology.″

Snider, 69, pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to commit tax fraud. He admitted not reporting about $97,400 in cash from autograph-signings and appearances at card shows and memorabilia sales between 1984 and 1993.

``Because of who you are, you have been publicly disgraced and humiliated,″ said Judge Edward Korman, ``and it’s taken place here in Brooklyn where you were idolized by a generation ... of which I was one.″

Snider could have been sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay $250,000 in fines. He has paid nearly $30,000 in back taxes, but still owes the Internal Revenue Service $25,000 to $27,000 in interest and penalties.

Al Hirschberg, 60, a retired banker from Brooklyn, supported his hero.

``We all make mistakes. He’ll be paying for this down the line. We believe it, but we don’t want to believe it,″ Hirschberg said.

Snider’s sentencing took place a few miles from the former Ebbets Field, where he once patrolled center field. With Mickey Mantle of the Yankees and Willie Mays of the Giants, Snider completed a triumvirate of slugging center fielders that symbolized New York’s glory days in baseball.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980.

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