Hodges snubbed again!

Brooklyn Daily

Gil’s been snubbed again — this time by his own friends!

Members of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s new “Golden Era Committee” — many of whom played with Gil Hodges — refused to send the famed Brooklyn Dodger to Cooperstown on Monday, choosing former Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo for the coveted spot instead.

Nine of the 16 committee members wanted to put Hodges in the hall, three short of the number necessary for enshrinement — another slap in the face to a beloved Brooklyn baseball star who has a street, a bridge and a school named after him in the borough.

Hodges has been repeatedly denied entrance into the Hall of Fame, but his widow Joan Hodges, who still lives on Bedford Avenue, on a stretch known as Gil Hodges Way that is also home to PS 193 — the Gil Hodges School — and longtime fans have never given up hope that his name will be inside its hallowed halls one day.

“I will never stop [hoping], not as long as I live,” Joan Hodges told this paper in 2008, the last time her husband was refused entry. “If there was anyone who represented the national past time of the United States, in every way possible, it was Gil.”

The debate over whether or not Hodges deserves the game’s highest honor has raged for decades.

A lifetime .273 hitter, Hodges amassed 1,274 RBIs, 1,921 hits and 370 home runs over his 18-year career.

He joined the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Boys of Summer in 1947 — the same year teammate Jackie Robinson ushered in the “golden era” of baseball by breaking the game’s color barrier. One of the top first basemen of his era, Hodges had over 100 runs batted in every season from 1949 to 1955, and collected more RBIs during the 1950s than any other player in the National League.

The eight-time All Star helped lead Brooklyn to six pennants and one World Series title, and won another championship in Los Angeles before hanging up his baseball glove in 1963 with more home runs than any right handed hitter in league history. He became eligible for the Hall of Fame in 1968 — five years after he retired from playing.

Hodges left the field, but he never quit baseball: he went on to manage the Washington Senators and the New York Mets, leading the Amazin’s to a “miracle” World Series title in 1969.

Born in Indiana, Hodges was a former Marine who earned a commendation for courage under fire and a Bronze Star after fighting in Tinian and Okinawa during World War II. He died of a heart attack in 1972, two days shy of his 48th birthday.

Under the museum’s complex new rules — which replaced the simpler Veterans Committee system — the elite panel comprised of Major League greats Tommy Lasorda, Hank Aaron, Al Kaline and Ralph Kiner — votes on a ballot of eligible players, managers, umpires and executives from the time period every three years.

Santo, this year’s selection for the hall, compiled a .277 lifetime batting average with 342 home runs and 1,331 RBIs over a 15-year career from 1960–1974 with the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox.

Hodges finished third, behind Santo and pitching ace Jim Kaat — though his career numbers are nearly identical to Santo’s and other Hall of Fame players like Tony Perez.

Lasorda said Hodges could still make the grade in 2014, the next time the Hall of Fame will consider players of his generation.

“He was a great, great player,” Lasorda said at the news conference announcing the results. “We just hope that next [time we] can get him in.”

Updated 10 pm, Dec. 5 to clarify information about Hodges’s retirement as a ballplayer.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

Reader Feedback

jim d from east meadow ny says:
who is on this veterens committee?
Dec. 5, 2011, 3:09 pm
Mike from Bushwick says:
Unless I'm missing some crucial detail, you wrote:

"He died of a heart attack in 1972, two days shy of his 48th birthday.

[...]

Hodges became eligible for the Hall of Fame five years after he retired."

Hodges was still managing for the Mets when he died, quite suddenly, so I don't believe he had a chance to "retire," unless "retire" is a new euphemism for "died of a heart attack after a few rounds of golf."
Dec. 5, 2011, 3:13 pm
Jeff Peterson from LA/Orange County/Kona,HI says:
In the mid-50s, I would get to stay home from school to watch the annual meeting of the Dodgers and the Yankees in the World Series. For whatever reason, I adopted Gil Hodges as my favorite player. This was probably due to the fact that my favorite position to play was first base and that I was right-handed and Gil was simply the best right-handed first baseman in the game at the time and may have been one of the best ever, at that time. Imagine my excitement when the Dodgers moved to LA! When the Dodgers won the NL pennant in '59, I managed to talk my father and grandfather into buying a set of tickets for the three games in Los Angeles. My brother and I got to go to the second of the three games. It was my 12th birthday. We were in left field, about 15-20 rows up, behind the "Chinese screen." Gil hit a homerun that landed a few rows in front of us and the Dodgers won the game and, ultimately, the Series over the White Sox. Gil was the bat in the middle of that potent lineup the Dodgers fielded in the early and mid-50s with Snider, Furillo, Campanella, Robinson, Reese, etc. He was one of the best fielders to ever play first base. Moving on and taking the Mets to the World Series in '69 should have cemented his place in the Hall of Fame. It's way past time to honor his contributions and achievements.
Dec. 5, 2011, 3:21 pm
Jeff Peterson from LA/Orange County/Kona,HI says:
In the mid-50s, I would get to stay home from school to watch the annual meeting of the Dodgers and the Yankees in the World Series. For whatever reason, I adopted Gil Hodges as my favorite player. This was probably due to the fact that my favorite position to play was first base and that I was right-handed and Gil was simply the best right-handed first baseman in the game at the time and may have been one of the best ever, at that time. Imagine my excitement when the Dodgers moved to LA! When the Dodgers won the NL pennant in '59, I managed to talk my father and grandfather into buying a set of tickets for the three games in Los Angeles. My brother and I got to go to the second of the three games. It was my 12th birthday. We were in left field, about 15-20 rows up, behind the "Chinese screen." Gil hit a homerun that landed a few rows in front of us and the Dodgers won the game and, ultimately, the Series over the White Sox. Gil was the bat in the middle of that potent lineup the Dodgers fielded in the early and mid-50s with Snider, Furillo, Campanella, Robinson, Reese, etc. He was one of the best fielders to ever play first base. Moving on and taking the Mets to the World Series in '69 should have cemented his place in the Hall of Fame. It's way past time to honor his contributions and achievements.
Dec. 5, 2011, 3:22 pm
Larry Oomens from chicago says:
I grew up in the 70's and 80's so sadly I never got to see Mr. Hodges play at all. I have seen some clips and movies of him and the other players from the Brooklyn team and those clips just wow me.
I began reading about Mr. Hodges when I was in grade school and soon exhausted my library and had to move on to other sources(long before the internet!!) I enjoyed reading about his tenacity and his love for the game. He always seemed to give back to the community and was a fan favorite in Brooklyn.
I played first base growing up and tried to mimic his style of playing.
I hope in two years Mr. Hodges does get elected to the Hall and I want to be there when he does. Best wishes to the Santo family for his induction and I hope to say the same to the Hodges family in 2014!
Dec. 5, 2011, 3:44 pm
Doug from Huntigton says:
What is it about Gil Hodges that they refuse to put him in? Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto and Ron Santo? Hodges was the #4 hitter on the legendary Brooklyn Dodgers. The Hall has put almost everyone of that era in...what is the problem?
Dec. 5, 2011, 6:17 pm
Frank Cifarelli from Hackensack, NJ says:
Although I am happy for the Santo Family and for the fans of Ron Santo, I am very sad that Gil Hodges again did not make the Baseball Hall of Fame again. I really don't understand it. Gil Hodges is the only person ever to have gotten more than 60% of the vote in a BBWWA election in a particular year, who is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame. It should be the role of the Veterans Committee to put the players in who showed strong support among the baseball writers, but who did not get the required 75%. I feel sad for Joan Hodges and for all of the Brooklyn Dodger fans, who deserver better. To me, the Baseball Hall of Fame is not complete as long as Gil is not in.
Dec. 5, 2011, 11:54 pm
Michael Shea from Brooklyn says:
Do you know that Gil Hodges at one time was the National League's all-time right-handed career home run leader until some guy named Willie Mays came along and surpassed Gil?
Dec. 6, 2011, 12:29 am
Nick Mig from lloyd harbor says:
Not only was Gil Hodges a great ball player, he was a great manager. 1969 Mets enough said!
Dec. 6, 2011, 12:49 am
hal davis from toledo says:
the hall will remain a joke until gil roams its hallways
Jan. 21, 2012, 12:43 pm

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