Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Lordy! My heart hasn’t been yanked around like this since I found out Luornu Durgo and The Dees Triplets were not three and the same!
Most people like to point to Gil Hodges’ career average of .273 when trying to explain why he has yet to be elected to the Hall of Fame. They note that he never won an MVP award, and that he never led the league in home runs. Here’s another fact: At the time of Gil Hodges’ retirement after the 1963 season, there were 21 players in Major League Baseball history who had hit 300 home runs over the course of their career. Of those 21 players, all except Gil Hodges are in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Of those 21 players, only Gil Hodges is viewed as one of, if not the best fielding first baseman in the history of the game. Of those 21 players, only Gil Hodges managed the Mets to the 1969 World Series title, guiding a team that had never before had a winning season to the most unfathomable Championship anyone has ever seen. Gil Hodges passed away prematurely in 1972, and the drum has been beating since then for him to be enshrined in the Hall. It hasn’t happened.
Now, I don’t want to turn the Hall of Fame into the Hall of Very Good. If I didn’t think Hodges was deserving, I wouldn’t be writing this piece. Ron Santo was recently elected, and I’d say Hodges is more deserving. Phil Rizzuto seems to be a stretch, yet he’s in. Bill Mazeroski had a .299 career On Base Percentage. .299! He hit 138 career homers compared to Hodges’ 370. Mazeroski is in because of his incredible defense at second base, and because of one (enormous) home run he hit to win the 1960 World Series. Mazeroski had his series winning homer, and Hodges drove in the only two runs in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series as the Dodgers won their only Championship in Brooklyn. Mazeroski was a 7 time All-Star, while Hodges was an 8 time All-Star. If the Hall of Fame rewarded Mazeroski because of his defense alone plus one shining moment, how can they not reward Hodges when his defense at first base was as incredible as Mazeroski’s was at second base? How can they not reward Hodges after taking into account his offensive statistics to go along with his defensive prowess? How is it humanly possible to take into account those two aforementioned things, add Hodges’ Managerial legacy to the picture, yet still keep the man out? It defies logic.
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