Gil Hodges Biography: The Forgotten Hero?
Gil Hodges was one of baseball's top players during his era. This biography covers how he led the New York Mets to a World Series and why he's not in the Hall of Fame.
He was one of the most consistent players in baseball history. His career statistics stack up fairly well against some of the great Hall of Famers. But Gil Hodges hasn't caught the fancy of those who vote on baseball's ultimate honor.
Hodges began his career in 1943 and came to the major leagues for good with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. His playing career ended in 1957 and included several trips to the World Series including one championship in 1955. Signed as a catcher, Hodges moved to first base in 1948 where he was one of the National League's top defensive players. At bat, he slugged at least 20 homers in 11 straight years and collected at least 100 runs batted in from 1949 through 1955. He finished with over 1900 hits, a .273 lifetime batting average and 370 home runs.
After managing the Washington Sensators from 1963-67, Hodges took over the New York Mets in '68 and a year later, led the once-hapless "Amazin' Mets" into the World Series, where they stunned the powerful Baltimore Orioles. It remains one of the sport's most improbable triumphs.
Hodges grew up in Petersburg, Indiana and commanded great respect for his honesty and values. Respected greatly by colleagues as a player and manager, Hodges is credited with leading his teams to success with hard work and a positive outlook.
Hodges wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association during his eligibility and now must wait for the honor from the Hall's Veterans Committee. Many fans and contemporaries feel Hodges' accomplishments merit recognition. In 1999, many mounted a campaign to elect Hodges once and for all,but again, he fell short of the necessary vote total. Some feel his career statistics aren't strong enough to make him a top choice. Others say Hodges overall qualities make him a natural.