Where are the writers from Los Angeles, Brooklyn and New York? Writers need to begin the campaign to get more votes for Gil Hodges in the Fall of 2021 from the Veteran’ Committee. To get elected into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee, a player must earn a total of 12 out of 16 votes. In 2012, Gil Hodges earned 9 votes. 3 shy of the needed votes to be elected. 12 of 16 is exactly 75%.
Hodges was not just once a hero, nor twice a hero, but three times a hero. Similar to the 2020 Dodgers, who had been in a drought since 88, Brooklyn had an even greater drought, having never won a World Series and then finally succeeding in bringing home a title to Brooklyn in 1955. In 1955, Gil Hodges helped his team attain that elusive title and brought that World Series trophy to an organization that had never won one before. Hodges and the rest of the 55 Dodgers became heroes in Brooklyn. He became a hero once again in 1969 with the Miracle Mets as a Manager. The Dodgers had been known as the Bums from Brooklyn as they kept disappointing their fans and the Mets came out of nowhere to surprise the world. That is why they were called the Miracle Mets. Finally, his third heroic act had nothing to do with baseball. It had to do with putting his life on the line to fight for his country as a United States Marine Corp Sergeant in World War 2. Gil Hodges made his Major League debut with the Dodgers at third base in 1943. He got 3 at bats and that was it. Later that year, Hodges joined the United States Marine Corp. He earned a bronze medal after serving from 1943-1946. He joined boot camp in San Diego, CA in 1943 and was Honorably Discharged in 1946. In 1944, he served in the Marianas Operation/ Battle of Tinian, also in the ‘45 Ryukyus Campaign, and in 1945 also fought in the Battle of Okinawa. He sacrificed 3 years of his life to fight for his country in World War 2. This is why I say, third time a hero. This was a true Veteran and the Veteran’s Committee needs to take a closer look at Gil Hodges’ career.
If he was being judged with today’s standards, his numbers would not be enough to get him in but granted that he is being voted on by the Veterans, a case can actually be made for the legendary first baseman. So here, I will set the ball in motion in hopes to trigger an early domino effect in which Dodger and Met writers can expand on this topic and write about a Dodger/ Met Legend who needs no introduction and who has gotten really close to being inducted before. In 2012, he fell short and was scheduled to be on the Veteran’s ballot in 2020 during the Winter meetings but due to the COVID 19 restrictions this voting was pushed back to the Winter of 2021. So let’s hope the media buzz surrounding the Dodgers, brings Gil Hodges’ name to the forefront…again.
Let us take a quick look at the era of the 50’s. In that decade, there was only one player that hit more home runs and more RBIs than Gil Hodges. That player was the one known as “the Duke of Flatbush”, Duke Snider, his long time teammate. Duke hit 326 Home Runs and collected 1031 RBIs. Gil Hodges hit 310 Home Runs with 1001 RBIs in that decade. You can’t talk about baseball in the 50’s without talking about this 1-2 punch. One from this pair was already elected into the Hall of Fame. Duke Snyder was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1980 by the Sports Writers. Now it’s time for the Veteran’s Committee to vote Hodges in.
What about his numbers? Gil Hodges finished his career with a WAR of 43.9. He made it to the All Star Game 8 times in his career and he won the Gold Glove award the first 3 years it was introduced in a time when only one award was given per position per league. He was also considered for the MVP award on 9 occasions. He was consistent throughout his career. He hit 370 HRs in his career with 1274 RBI’s. He fell just shy of the 2000 hits mark but I repeat, he and Duke owned the 50’s and without Hodges, the Dodgers do not win that first title in Brooklyn, nor the second one in 1959 when the Dodgers had moved to Los Angeles. He was also a key member of that team.
Many of his teammates, managers and even some executives from that legendary Brooklyn Dodgers team have already made it to the Hall of Fame: Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Arky Vaughn, Joe Medwick, Branch Rickey, Walter O’Malley, Sandy Koufax, Billy Herman, Leo Derocher, Walter Alston and Don Drysdale. You can make the case for a few players that were similar to Hodges such as Peewee Reese. Reese was not a power hitter so he needed the big boys behind him to push him in. Reese hit just over 100 home runs and he had just under 200 more hits than Hodges. Peewee was able to play effectively a little bit longer but many career stats Gil Hodges surpassed or was comparable to. Hodges career average was .273 and Peewee’s was .269. Hodges OBP was .359 and Peewee’s was .366. The Same goes for Duke Snider. He had a higher WAR number at 66. But his stats are just barely higher than Hodges. Snider 409 HR’s, Hodges hit 370 HR’s. Snider’s RBI’s 1333, Hodges’ 1274. Snider’s hits, 2116, Hodges, 1921. Billy Herman was a second baseman but when stacked up against Hodges, certain numbers were far superior for Hodges. Herman and Reese were selected by the Veteran’s committee. Herman only hit 47 home runs, 839 RBI’s, with an OBP of .367 and hit 2345 hits. These base hitting Brooklyn Dodgers, needed big boys behind them to score runs. That was Duke and Gil. It is time the Veterans put Gil Hodges into the Hall Of Fame.
If that was not enough, Gil Hodges had one last Epic Oorah in the baseball world, that none of his fellow teammates got a chance to experience. In fact the only other Brooklyn Dodger who was able to win a championship as a player and manager was Leo Durocher who won a title as a player with the Yankees and Cardinals, and later won a title as a manager with the New York Giants. Durocher was voted into the Hall of Fame as a manager but Durocher was nowhere near the player Gil Hodges was, and Hodges was not the manager Durocher was but for one year in 1969, Gil Hodges led the Miracle Mets to their first championship in history with a team that was not expected to get to the World Series, much less win it. But yes, his name is forever etched in history for leading Tom Seaver, a young Nolan Ryan and the rest of the Miracle Mets to a World Series victory. WIth that said, he should be in the Hall Of Fame, but not as a manager, more so as a player because the 50’s were all about Duke Snider, and Gil Hodges. Vote him in, folks. Let’s get Vin Scully’s homie into the Hall Of Fame. I guarantee that Vin Scully will not miss that induction ceremony, God willing, as they were very good friends.