In his 35th appearance on the ballot, Gil Hodges finally received baseball’s highest honor when he was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. It is a long overdue honor for the man who managed the Mets to their first World Series championship in 1969. Steve Cohen released a statement on behalf of the organization, as did members of Hodges’ family, teammates, and players he managed.
Hodges received 12 of 16 votes (75%) from the Golden Days Era committee, which was the minimum needed to make it into Cooperstown. He will be enshrined as part of the Class of 2022 alongside Minnie Miñoso, Jim Kaat, and Tony Oliva, who were voted in by the Golden Era committee, as well as Bud Fowler and Buck O’Neil, who were voted in by the Early Baseball Era Committee. The results of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s votes will be revealed in January.
Hodges spent the majority of his playing career with the Dodgers, debuting for the Brooklyn club in 1943 before spending the next two years serving in the military. He returned to action and 1946 and, over the course of the next 11 years, made eight National League All Star teams and finished top-10 in MVP voting twice. The first baseman won three consecutive Gold Gloves from 1957-1959.
After moving with the club to Los Angeles in 1958 and playing four years out west, he returned to New York as an original member of the Mets, finishing off his playing career with New York’s expansion squad and appearing in 65 games for the club in 1962 and 1963. After the team traded him to the Washington Senators in May of 1963, he announced his retirement to serve as his new club’s manager, a position he held through the end of the 1967 season.
He was hired to manage the Mets in 1968 and led the club to the first title in franchise history one year later, when the Miracle Mets shocked the baseball world by posting a 100-62 record and stunning the Orioles in five games in the Fall Classic. He managed the Mets for two more seasons and compiled a 339-309 record as their manager, before his untimely death in April of 1972 of a heart attack. The franchise retired his number 14 on June 9, 1973, making him just the second Met to earn the honor, joining Casey Stengel.