Monday, January 21, 2019

Only Name on My Hall of Fame Ballot: Gil Hodges

From the desks of: 
FINGERPRINTS OF DEM BUMS  and  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET


THE QUIET MAN


According to baseballhall.org, the BBWAA Rules for Election, Article Five reads:

Voting shall be based upon player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

Based on their own criteria, it is unfathomable to me how Gil Hodges is continually denied enshrinement into baseball's Hall of Fame.  The highest percentage of votes he ever received by the BBWAA was 63.4% in 1983, his final year on the writer's ballot.  However, the former Veterans Committee in my opinion was far more negligent in their refusal to pass him through than writers whom perhaps did not cover his playing career (and yes, I'm being kind about it).

My own personal criteria for election into Baseball's Hall of Fame includes being among the dominant players at both their respective position and the game as a whole for at least a ten year portion of a player's career.

By all accounts, Gil Hodges qualifies as a Hall of Famer.  I'm not breaking new ground.  His record reads as such:  Baseball-Reference.com

There are 25 first baseman enshrined at Cooperstown; Hodges ranks 11th among them with 370 home runs.  For twelve seasons spanning 1948-1959, Hodges led all first basemen in home runs, RBI, extra-base hits, and OPS.  For the decade of the 1950s, he ranked second overall in the National League in home runs and RBI.  From 1949 through 1959, Hodges slashed .280/.367/.507, while averaging 30 home runs and 101 RBI per season.  He exceeded 20 home runs in eleven consecutive seasons; hit at least 30 home runs six times, and hit forty or more home runs twice.  He exceeded 100 RBI in seven straight seasons.  Upon his retirement, Gil Hodges ranked 11th on the all-time home run list, and third among right-hand batters.  Moreover, he helped the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers win seven National League pennants, and two World Series championships.  And it was Gil who triumphantly delivered Brooklyn's only two runs in Game Seven of the 1955 World Series against the Yankees.  Starting with 1957, he won baseball's first three newly minted Golden Glove Awards for defensive excellence at first base.

His career with the Dodgers which began in 1943 ended after the 1961 season.  In 1962 Gil returned to the city which still adored him unconditionally.  He played 54 games for the expansion New York Metropolitan baseball club, then retired in 1963 after just 11 games.  Five years later he would become their manager.  In his second season, the New York Mets would become World Series champions.
  • His four year record managing the Mets: 339-309 (.523)


Gil suffered a heart attack shortly before start of the 1972 season, and on April, 2, passed away at 47-years of age.  He rests peacefully at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn.

The Hall of Fame's Golden Era Committee reconvenes in 2020.  When they do, this epic injustice must finally be corrected.

Hall of Fame, now..!



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