Baseball is one of the oldest sports in the world, and over the years, we’ve been blessed with many incredible moments, and the World Series 2022 promises to add more moments to the sands of time. As we await the biggest game in baseball, we want to look at one of the most popular MLB players of all time, Gil Hodges.
After many years of entertaining on the diamond, Hodges finally gets his recognition, becoming part of the hall of fame class in 2022. Undoubtedly, it is a well-deserved recognition, and we believe he had done enough to get it. So, as we position ourselves for more exciting events in the league, let’s look at the story of Gil Hodges.
Born in Princeton, Indiana, in 1924, Gil Hodges was one of the sons of a coal miner named Charles. After his family moved when he was seven, his career as an athlete started, and he was a star at Petersburg High School, which earned him a combined seven varsity letters to play baseball, football, track, and basketball.
He briefly competed in baseball, basketball, and even football, but eventually, he signed as a third baseman in 1943 for the Brooklyn Dodgers. However, he only played for a year before he was drafted into the US Marine Corps for the Second World War. Hodges served throughout the remainder of the war.
After World War II was over, Hodges completed coursework at Oakland City University, and he played basketball for the Mighty Oaks, and they had a good season. After that, he returned to the Los Angeles/Brooklyn Dodgers franchise to play baseball, launching his professional career in the MLB.
In 1946, Gil Hodges was discharged from the Marines, and after that, he returned to the Dodgers organization to play as a catcher. He batted .278 in 129 games as the team won the championship. At the time, his team included Chuck Connors, first baseman and a future television and film star.
The same year Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, Hodges was called to play for Brooklyn. He spent time playing as a catcher before Leo Durocher moved him to first base, and as a rookie, he was already dropping impressive numbers for the team. Hodges batted .249 with 70 runs and 11 home runs.
Hodges went on to play for the Dodgers for a long time, and he eventually became a fan favorite that he was probably one of the few that was never booed at Ebbets Field. Even during his struggle, the fans were still behind him and showed their support for the star. Undoubtedly, he was a professional throughout his playing days.
Accolades and Legacy
Throughout his career, Hodges batted 0.273 with a slugging 0.487 percentage while getting 1,921 hits with 1105 runs, 295 doubles, 1,274 runs batted in, 63 stolen bases, and 370 home runs in 2,071 games. He is only second to Charlie Grimm in NL history with his 1,614 career doubles before Chris Chambliss passed him in 1984.
In 1969, Hodges got the highest civilian honor in New York City, the Bronze Medallion. In April 1978, the Marine Parkway Bridge that connects the Marine Park, Brooklyn, to Rockaway, Queens renamed the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge. It was to celebrate his life for what would have been his 54th birthday after he died in 1972.
After his active playing years, Hodges took on managerial roles and got incredible accolades. He was accomplished and remained among the best in the sport’s history. In 1973, the Mets honored him by retiring his uniform number 14; in 2022, the Dodgers did the same to honor the legend.
Hall of Fame Recognition
Over the years, Hodges has had different nominations and considerations for the hall of fame, but in most cases, he had fallen short of the 75% threshold to get an election into the hall of fame. The first time was in 1969, before his death, but he only got 24.1% of the ballot cast. After that, he got 63.4% in the 1983 voting period.
Because of his sporting achievement, he continued to enjoy nominations for the hall of fame. Eventually, in the Golden Era ballot for the Hall of Fame consideration, Hodges got 12 of the 16 votes. Finally, he was formally inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame in July 2022.