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02/27/11 6:15 PM EST

Zimmer remembers friend and teammate Snider

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Don Zimmer took a moment to remember Duke Snider shortly after the Rays' 10-3 loss to the Pirates on Sunday, after the Hall of Fame outfielder died early Sunday at the age of 84.

Snider and Zimmer were part of the "Boys of Summer" Dodgers during the team's heyday in Brooklyn.

"I knew he's been very sick, and the last couple of weeks I knew he was really bad," Zimmer said. "... He's been very sick the last couple of months."

When asked about Snider as a player, Zimmer quickly said, "Willie, Mickey and the Duke, they were all great players in one town."

"Duke never got the credit of being the outfielder that Mays and Mantle were," Zimmer said. "First of all, Ebbets Field was a small ballpark. But Duke was a great outfielder. He was a great player. What can I say, I played with him five years. ... What can I say, this guy was a great center fielder and a great hitter."

Zimmer got a twinkle in his eye remembering his friend.

"I had a lot of good times with him," said Zimmer, allowing a chuckle. "[Johnny] Podres and I and Duke, we spent many hours a night over a beer or something."

Zimmer has always enjoyed horses, and Snider knew his way around a racing form as well.

"Duke liked the horses, like I did; I think it was the last three or four years I saw him out at Del Mar," Zimmer said.

"... He was a great guy. They're all passing away. ... There's not many of us left. I'm still standing, but I don't know for how long."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.