Gil Hodges and the Hall of Fame

“I can’t understand why Gil Hodges isn’t in the Hall of Fame.”

Dodger broadcaster Vin Scully doesn’t stand on a soapbox when discussing the merits of longtime Brooklyn Dodgers first baseman who later won a World Series as manager of the 1969 New York “Miracle” Mets. He doesn’t cite Hodges’ 370 career home runs, which by 1962 ranked second all-time for right-handed hitters behind Jimmie Foxx. The case of Hodges and the Hall of Fame is an example of “out of sight, out of mind.” Hodges passed away on April 2, 1972, two days shy of his 48th birthday. His death due to a massive heart attack occurred at the end of a round of golf with his Mets coaching staff in spring training.

For election to the Hall of Fame, a candidate must receive at least 75 percent of the ballots cast that particular year. The panel during Hodges’ candidacy from 1969-83. A player could remain on the ballot for 15 years. Anyone receiving less than five percent was removed from the following year’s ballot. The voting in Hodges’ era was exclusively conducted by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

From 1970-83, every player who finished ahead of Hodges in the balloting eventually was elected to the Hall of Fame. Those elected to the Hall from 1970-83 were: Lou Boudreau, Sandy Koufax, Yogi Berra, Early Wynn, Warren Spahn, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Ralph Kiner, Robin Roberts, Bob Lemon, Ernie Banks, Eddie Mathews, Willie Mays, Al Kaline, Duke Snider, Bob Gibson, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Juan Marichal. Johnny Mize and Enos Slaughter, who finished behind Hodges in the 1970 and 1971 HOF elections when Hodges was still alive, were lated added to Cooperstown by the Veteran’s Committee.

At the time of his of his death, Hodges had appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot four times – 1969 (14th place, 24.1 percent); 1970 (third, 48.3); 1971 (fourth, 50.0), and 1972 (fifth, 40.7). He gained 17 percent in 1973, but finished fourth behind Spahn (83.2), Ford (67.1) and Kiner (61.8).

Although Hodges was always among the leaders in votes received, his percentage never came close to the required 75 percent. He twice hit 60.1 percent when finishing third in 1976 and third in 1981. His biggest percentage during his final year of eligibility (63.4) in 1983 produced only a seventh-place finish behind Brooks Robinson (92.0), Marichal (83.7), Harmon Killebrew (71.9), Luis Aparacio (67.4), Hoyt Wilhelm (65.0) and Don Drysdale (64.7).

Hodges and Snider were teammates on Dodger pennant-winning seasons in 1949, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956 and 1959. Hodges’ final year as a player was 1963; Snider’s was 1964. Players must be retired at least five years before appearing on a HOF ballot, so Hodges was one year ahead of Snider. From 1970-76, Hodges finished ahead of Snider in the balloting. The 1973 results for Hodges (57.4 percent) and Snider (21.2) changed dramatically by 1978, the first year Snider (67.0) finished ahead of Hodges (59.6). Snider’s 86.5 percent was enough for election in 1980, while Hodges (59.7) finished fourth behind Kaline (88.3), Snider, and Drysdale (53.9).

If there is a hurdle for the Hodges’ cause, it might be voters might believe there is “enough” representation from the fabled Boys of Summer era from Ebbets Field – Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Duke Snider, owner Walter O’Malley, broadcasters Red Barber and Vin Scully. And the passage of time means dwindling numbers of those voters who actually saw Hodges as a player or a manager. But Hodges remains a worthy candidate, and his uniform No. 14 was retired by the Mets in 1973.

5 Comments

It’s sad that he hasn’t gotten in, and sad that he probably won’t because he isn’t here to make his presence felt–and that those who knew him are dying off. He probably suffers from the Tony Perez Syndrome: Perez didn’t have the numbers of other great Reds like Rose, Bench, and Morgan, but their success would have been impossible without him. Without Hodges’s bat and glove, the Brooklyn Dodgers couldn’t have won as many as they did, and without his leadership, the Miracle Mets would have been much less miraculous.

The best thing would be and I’ve wanted this for a long time is to have the Dodgers retire Hodges’ number 14 at the stadium. The Dodgers have this ‘rule’ that a player must be in the MLB Hall of Fame for their number to be retired. With the exception of Jim Gilliam, all the other retired numbers are of MLB Hall of Famers. I think the Dodgers should exempt this self-imposed rule and retire number 14 since Hodges was their first baseman for 15 seasons and helped them win 2 World Series.

Please take a moment and look at these stats for these 2 retired players and answer the question

The following 2 players both played a total of 18 seasons,… the 11 consecutive seasons taken for the stats, are the same exact years for each player,… and both players werre team mates on the same team

question === are they both in the Hall of Fame,.. one of them , or neither of them?
and why

keep in my that the left hand batter would naturally have the higher batting average by virtue of mnore right handed pitching

11 consecutive seasons in the meat of an 18 year career – left handed batter

23 hr,,,, 92 rbi,, 100 runs,,, 292 avg
31 hr,,,, 107 rbi, 109 runs,,, 321 avg
29 hr,,,, 101 rbi,, 96 runs, ,,,277 avg
21 hr,,, 92 rbi,,,,,80 runs,,, 303 avg
42 hr,,,,,126 rbi,,,132 runs,, 336 avg
40 hr,,,, 130 rbi,,,120 runs,,, 341 avg
42 hr, ,,, 136 rbi,,,126 runs, 309 avg
43 hr,,,,, 101 rbi,,112 runs,,,,292 avg
40 hr,,,,,,,,92 rbi,,,,91 runs,,,,,274 avg
15 hr,,,,,, 58 rbi,…45 runs,…,312 avg
23 hr, ,,,,,,88 rbi, 59 runs,,,, 308 avg

=11 seasons, 349 hr, 1123 rbi, 1070 runs, 306 avg

11 consecutive seasons in the meat of an 18 year career- right handed bnatter
23 hr,,,, 115 rbi,,,,, 94 runs;;;,,,285 avg
32 hr,,,,,113 rbi,,,,98 runs,,;;;,,283 avg
40 hr,,,,,103 rbi,,,,118 runs,;;;,,268 avg
32 hr,,,,,102 rbi,,,,,87 runs,,;;,,254 avg
31 hr,,,,,122 rbi,,,,,101 runs,;, 302 avg
42 hr,,,,,130 rbi,,,,,,106 runs,,;304 avg
27 hr,,,,,102 rbi,,,, ,75 runs,,;;,289 avg
32 hr,,,, ,87 rbi,,,;;;;,,86 runs,,,,265 avg
27 hr,,,,,,98 rbi,,,,;;,94 runs,,,,299 avg
22 hr,,,,,,64 rbi,,,,;;,,68 runs,,,,259 avg
25 hr,,,,,,80 rbi,,,,,;;,,57 runs,,,276 avg

= 11 seasons, 333 homers, 1116 rbi, 984 runs, 281 avg —

The leftey is duke snider, the righty is gil hodges

also keep in mind, that gil batted behind duke nearly all the time,…… which is what makes what hodges did even more impressive— looking at the box scores from baseballreference.com

Very nice Mark. And JG. good and valid comments.
-Emma

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