Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021
Today, amidst the first baseball lockout since 1990, the Veterans’ committee voted to induct the late great Brooklyn Dodger first baseman Gil Hodges into Baseball Hall of Fame. Many baseball-knowledgeable fans, including Vin Scully, think this day would never come, and it is long overdue.
Hodges was a Marine during World War II, interrupting his Dodger career, and earned the Bronze Star as an anti-aircraft gunner during battles of Tinian and Okinawa. His military time decreased his baseball statistics, and this fact delayed his Hall of Fame induction.
As a member of The Boys of Summer, Hodges was often overshadowed by his famous teammates, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson, Duke Snider, and Roy Campanella, but without the contributions of Gold Glove first baseman Hodges, the legendary team would not have achieved what they did. While he came up as a catcher and could play third base, he primarily played first base. At the time of his retirement, he was the National League in assists and doubles.
Offensively, Hodges was an excellent hitter. His batting average of .279 with 370 home runs and 1,274 RBI. Just behind Duke Snider, Hodges is second home runs for the Dodger organization. He finished his 20-year playing career with the newly formed New York Mets.
After his playing career, Hodges managed both the Washington Senators and the Mets, including the 1969 Amazin’ Mets. Hodges died from a heart attack in April 1973. Hodges’ widow Joan is still alive, and she must be thrilled her husband finally getting the recognition he has deserved.