If you are a New York baseball fan over the age of 40, the name Gil Hodges holds a special place in your heart. At the very least you recall hearing about his storied playing and managerial career. You might remember him leading the Miracle Mets to the World Series. Perhaps you remember him playing for the inaugural edition of the Mets. And there’s a chance you remember him playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

By all accounts, Hodges was a special individual. If you go to his Baseball-Reference page, the sponsor has the following message:

“In memory of my father Seymour, who thought that Gil Hodges exemplified all that was good about Baseball.”

Hodges had a very fine playing career and seems by all accounts to have been an outstanding person, too. It’s a combination that has always led many people to conclude that he should be in the Hall of Fame. I’m sure it’s an argument I made myself in my younger days. But unfortunately it just doesn’t hold up to serious scrutiny.

The bulk of Hodges’ career came between the years of 1947-1961. If we examine the first baseman enshrined in Cooperstown in this post-World War II era, we find that Hodges simply doesn’t stack up. There are six players who played between 1945-1961 who were primarily first baseman and who were elected to the Hall of Fame. Here are their bWAR numbers:

Stan Musial – 127.8
Johnny Mize – 70.2
Willie McCovey – 65.8
Harmon Killebrew – 61.1
Hank Greenberg – 56.8
Orlando Cepeda – 46.8

Hodges finished his career with 44.6 bWAR.

Cepeda was elected by the Veteran’s Committee in 1999 and many feel that he is one of the poorer selections among those enshrined in Cooperstown. Meanwhile, Cepeda played in a tougher era for hitters and Hodges played in a more favorable ballpark. Here are the HR park factors for Ebbetts Field between 1948 and 1957

112, 127, 133, 120, 123, 104, 123, 122, 120 and 145

We see that during his time in Brooklyn, Hodges hit 172 HR at home and 126 on the road. That works out to 58% of his HR in this span being hit in Ebbetts Field. After the Dodgers left Brooklyn and for the remainder of his career, Hodges hit 38 HR in his home park and 34 in road parks.

When you adjust for ballpark and run environment, we have Cepeda with a 133 OPS+ in his career while Hodges checks in with a 119 OPS+.

Certainly, Hodges closes the gap somewhat with his defense. He won three Gold Glove Awards while no one ever raved about Cepeda’s talents with a glove in his hand. But as we see by bWAR, the difference was not enough to vault Hodges past Cepeda.

And then we have other things to consider. Cepeda won both the Rookie of the Year Award (1958) and the MVP (1967) while Hodges had no major post-season awards. Here are some other marks from B-R:

Black Ink Gray Ink HOF Monitor HOF Standards
Cepeda 14 196 126 37
Hodges 2 128 83 32

Black Ink – player led the league in a major category. Typical HOF player has an average of 27 points.
Gray Ink – player finished in top 10 in a major category. Typical HOF player has an average of 144
Monitor – HOF test which gives points for various accomplishments. Likely HOF will score 100
Standards – HOF test where an average HOF scores 50

Cepeda did better than Hodges in each of these categories. Not once did Hodges reach the level of an average or likely Hall of Famer. Quite simply, Hodges does not measure up to a player who many consider a “mistake” among those elected to the Hall.

On December 5th, the newest version of the Veteran’s Committee will meet and consider 10 candidates for the Hall of Fame and Hodges is one of those up for election. There are 16 members on the “Golden Era Committee” which considers players, managers, umpires and executives from the 1947-1972 period. The former year is when MLB integrated and the latter season is the last year before the AL introduced the designated hitter.

In order to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame, a person needs to be chosen on 75% (12) of the 16 ballots.

Here are the people on the Golden Era Committee:

Hank Aaron, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson, Don Sutton, Billy Williams; major league executives Paul Beeston (Blue Jays), Bill DeWitt (Cardinals), Roland Hemond (Diamondbacks), Gene Michael (Yankees) Al Rosen (retired); veteran media members Dick Kaegel, Jack O’Connell, Dave Van Dyck.

It would not be a surprise if the first eight members (all Hall of Famers) voted for Hodges. Rosen was a contemporary of Hodges and Michael has strong NY-area ties. If those 10 vote for Hodges, he needs to get just two of the remaining six votes to punch his ticket to Cooperstown.

As a Mets fan, I think it would be terrific if Hodges was voted into the Hall of Fame. As a baseball fan, I just don’t see it. The Hall is supposed to be the ultimate honor for a player and his family. But what happens if instead of being remembered as a great player – Hodges, like Cepeda, instead gets remembered as one of the “mistakes” of the Hall of Fame?

I would prefer to think of Hodges as the guy who guided the 1969 Mets to a 27-win improvement and a World Series victory. Others would prefer to remember his magical 1954 season, when he hit 42 HR and drove in 130. Is a plaque in a museum in upstate New York worth having fans consider your election as a “mistake” rather than remember you as a great player?

No doubt, the answer for a lot of people is yes.

All I know is that I no longer think of 1978 when someone mentions Jim Rice. Instead I think of how his election to Cooperstown is a “mistake.” Rice should be remembered for being one of the best in baseball for a three-year period. Instead, he’ll be remembered as the player that writers who are too lazy to look at anything beyond Triple Crown numbers made a last stand for and voted into the Hall despite all evidence to the contrary.

Sure, the Indians killed Custer and won the Battle of the Little Bighorn. And they never won any significant battle after that. Now it’s remembered as a mistake by General Custer and not anything great that the Indians did. Who wants to be remembered for the baseball equivalent of that?

Finally, there are 13 first basemen not in the Hall of Fame who have a greater bWAR than Hodges. That list includes Keith Hernandez, John Olerud and Mark Grace. Now, Grace hit fewer than half the HR that Hodges did but put up more valuable career numbers. And no one considers Grace Hall-worthy.

Hodges was a very good player on some very good teams and holds a magical spot in the hearts and minds of New York baseball fans. That’s a wonderful thing and a fitting memory. It pains me to say it but he does not deserve any additional honors. All of the people fired up about putting Hodges in the Hall of Fame would be better served by backing Hernandez, instead.

61 comments on “Examining Gil Hodges’ Hall of Fame case

  • Howard Megdal

    Hey Brian,

    Glad you wrote this piece, though I disagree strongly with your conclusion. Three things worth considering:
    1. You seem to penalize Hodges twice for his era- bWAR, which has him essentially equal to Cepeda, already takes park/era into account. Speaking of WAR, World War II also delayed the start of his career.
    2. You wrote that Hodges had three Gold Gloves- worth remembering that he won the first three ever awarded (began in 1957), and was the best-regarded defensive first baseman of his era for roughly a decade before that. In reality, his defensive case is far closer to a Keith Hernandez 11 GG) than, say, John Olerud (3 GG).
    3. You write of his managerial career seperately, but they are combined in determining a candidate’s HOF worthiness.

    Put another way, Hodges’ case is Cepeda offense plus Hernandez-level defense and a World Championship as a manager. I think he belongs.

    But as always, your work is stellar.

    • Brian Joura

      Thanks for reading and commenting Howard! I tried to IM you on FB but you weren’t around.

      As to your points – I’m quite willing to let the bWAR or even OPS+ make/break the case for Hodges. I was merely looking to expand on why with pointing out Hodges’ hitter-friendly ballpark. I didn’t mean to penalize him twice and I’ll try to be more careful about this in the future.

      The GG thing is definitely worth noting. However, his fielding is already being valued in his bWAR as he gets a +1.4 dWAR in his big year of 1954. That catapulted him to a career-high 6.2 bWAR. For the record Musial had a string where in 10 out of 11 seasons he put up a higher bWAR than that. Not that you have to be Stan Musial to get into the HOF but still…

      Hodges was 660-753 lifetime as a manager. What he did in 1969 is incredibly important in Mets history but I just don’t know how much credit that earns him in a HOF argument. I’m certainly okay with giving him a bonus point here but it’s just not enough to boost him into the Hall.

      How much credit should we give him for time missed due to WWII? Certainly nowhere near what Greenberg should get. Hodges spent 1946 in Newport News a Class B minor league. Now, this could have been for a couple of different reasons but the Dodgers had four affiliates (Montreal, St. Paul, Fort Worth and Mobile) higher than Class B. I think the burden of proof is on supporters to prove that his lost minor league time impacted his major league career. I’m quite willing to give war credit and can be convinced Hodges deserves a boost if someone makes the case.

      Hodges is well short on the playing career side of the standards for enshrinement. For me, 60 WAR is a good rule of thumb for a HOF argument. You better bring a lot to the table if you don’t clear that hurdle. Perhaps if Hodges had lived and guided the team to another season or two like 1969 – that combined with some sort of WWII boost would be enough. But that’s not what happened.

      He wouldn’t be the worst guy in the HOF but I hardly want that as our standard.

      • Howard Megdal

        I think all of these are good points, to be sure. Briefly, on the defense- as someone not sold on the accuracy of today’s defensive metrics, it is really hard for me to take the defensive stats of 60 years ago as relevant to the discussion. That puts us in a hard position- our only other way of evaluating is based on contemporary accounts. we don’t even have GG pre-1957. But I think we need to work from best available information here, and I’m not convinced defensive metrics are it for that long ago.
        The war credit issue is an odd one- yes, he played Class B ball in 1946. But by 1947, he was in the major leagues, and he’d even debuted earlier- back in 1943. It is hard to imagine he wouldn’t have been in Brooklyn earlier without the war. Who knows, perhaps he’d have stayed at catcher and made all this moot- his offense at that position is surely HOF-worthy.
        Like I said, I think your piece is terrific- we just ultimately land on different sides of this.

      • Greg Petrino

        I think Hodges was in the top 10 in home runs when he retired

        • Brian Joura

          When Harry Stovey retired, he led the majors in HR & SB and he’s not in the Hall of Fame.

      • Greg Smith

        Hi Brian,

        Please do me a favor and give me the definition of “bWAR” – I have looked every where and can only find the “formula”. But never do I find how you determine this mysterious unknown AAA replacement player who you throw into the mix. And, if this is about a real person, why doesn’t WAR change throughout history? I don’t get it!

        A similar mysterious figure is thrown into OPS+ representing the….stadium! How do you determine this one, and why doesn’t this figure change with the various changes of the game (mound height, strike zone, rule changes, war years, expansion years, etc.)?

        I’m sorry, but baseball is not a computer game, nor is it a math puzzle, and how you think you can nail a player down to a number is beyond me.

        Hope to hear from you!


        • Brian Joura

          Hi Greg,

          bWAR symbolizes the Baseball-Reference version of Wins Above Replacement. You can read about the calculation here:

          As for OPS+ the “+” indicates that it is a park and league adjusted figure. The benefits of this is that it allows you to compare Coors Field 1998 – a very high run-scoring park and environment to Dodger Stadium 1966 – a very low run-scoring park and environment..

          Vinny Castilla had a .319/.362/.589 line for the 1998 Rockies – which worked out to a 127 OPS+ because of park and league factors. Meanwhile, Jim Lefebvre had a .274/.333/.460 line for the 1966 Dodgers – but with park and league factors that worked out to a 126 OPS+. Even though Castilla had a .951 OPS, it was essentially equal to the .793 OPS that Lefebvre produced because of the extreme differences in run scoring – due both to park and league.

          Players are humans and we are not at the point where we can perfectly identify their contributions with just one number. But if you approach it with an open mind — I think you’ll be shocked about how close we are.

          • Greg Smith

            Hi Brian,

            Thanks for getting back so quick! I have read the piece about WAR but can’t find anything about OPS+. Could you please tell me where that is? I’m curious to know how you determine the stadium and league factors.

            As for WAR I am still left with the same questions: Who determines this hypothetical “replacement player”? As defined in the piece you sent me there are so many fudge factors, “smoothing” , “weighting”, etc. It’s admitted to being hypothetical and being “adjusted” ever so often to more “correctly” reflect reality. It was not easy to determine where they get their figures, being almost deliberately obtuse. Is this because it is so complex that the average baseball fan can’t possibly understand it and therefore must rely on “experts” to reveal the true value of the players he’s paying to watch? Are these the Sabermetritians? Could it be far more sinister, that these Sabermetritians, clearly frustrated statisticians, have found a good thing here, easily spinning bright lights before the masses and assuming the stature of the Great Oz of Baseball, bent on taking over the minds of the Baseball world? An evil plan, indeed!

            Seriously, I don’t see how you can live with all these hypothetical numbers. Is there a better justification for WAR? They even say there’s many ways to compute it! So why bother, if it’s that nebulous?!!!

            As for the OPS+, here’s part of my concern about “stadium factors” — Hodges and Snider played together in the same park for 14 years. One batted right and the other left. The left field line was 348 feet away. The right field line was 296 feet away. About 90% of the pitching they faced was right handed because of the Dodgers predominately right handed line-up. Hodges hit 80% of his homers off righties, and Snider hit 92% of his homers off righties. They both had problems with the curve ball on the outside corner, Snider more with lefties than Hodges with righties. So, considering all this, how do you put a “stadium factor” in theses guys figures and make it even slightly realistic for an OPS+ number? The whole thing seems ridiculous. Who is pitching? Who is injured? Is it hot or cold, day or night? Where does it end?….In a nutshell: how do you turn baseball into a computer game? How can you represent events with numbers?

            Please send me whatever you have.


      • Greg Smith

        Hi Brian,

        I’m sorry, but I must defend your unfair, inaccurate, and insulting article against Gil Hodges for the Hall of Fame. Using the word “mistake” five times, saying he does “not measure up”, and that “he does not deserve any additional honors” is just petty, rude, and unworthy of someone who calls them a professional sports writer. You have immediately put yourself into a lower category than Hodges from the very start. You should be ashamed of yourself and vow never to write this way about anyone again. Show some class… like Hodges.

        Let’s start off with your use of the “WAR” and “OPS+” statistics. Bill James and his flock of “sabermetritians” have enchanted you, too, believing they hold the ultimate truth of a players value. But, you are wrong. Sabermetric computations are interesting but they dig up too many insignificant factors and include too many personal opinions. Comparing a player to an imaginary “replacement player” exposes the bias of the “sabermatician” who programmed it. Plus, the average fan has no idea what you’re doing, and feels tricked and condescended to, as if you’ve taken the game away from him and now he must go through an expert to understand it. Explanations to define WAR, OPS+, Range Factor, Total Zone Runs, etc. are as many as there are “sabermetritians.” We’re no longer allowed to believe out own eyes, before the “experts” correct us. But, in reality, we don’t need an imaginary “replacement player” or “stadium factor” to value players. We only need percentages and averages and career numbers. Like we’ve been doing for 140 years. Give the game back to the fans.

        OPS is OK but OPS+ is absurd. You can’t give a numerical value to a stadium that accounts for all the variables. It becomes a number that changes all the time, with each batter and each pitcher. It gives one the idea that the stadium itself has some kind of magical force, like the planets in astrology. For example, Hodges and Snider played together in the same park for 14 years. One batted right and the other left. The left field line was 348 feet away. The right field line was 296 feet away. About 90% of the pitching they faced was right handed because of the Dodgers right handed line-up. Hodges hit 80% of his homers off righties, and Snider hit 92% of his homers off righties. Since both preferred to hit off pitchers of the opposite hand Snider had an obvious advantage. But does this show up in the “stadium factor”? No. So, how do you put a “stadium factor” in theses guys OPS+ calculations that even makes sense? The whole thing is inaccurate and unnecessary.

        You compare Hodges to Musial, Mize, McCovey, Killebrew, Greenberg, and Cepeda. OK, but it’s not accurate. Musial was inducted as an outfielder and only played 35% of his games at first base. Killebrew only spent 43% of his games at first base and played most of his career during the expansion years. Mize and Greenberg were really from the 30’s era. Nevertheless I think you should have included a few more players like Yastrezsemski and Banks to be fair.

        Here is the point – Here is a better way to compare Hodges with other production players in the Hall of Fame: PA, or (Production Average) (R + RBI – HR / AB). This number focuses on runs produced and does not favor the home run hitter any more than the singles/doubles hitters It’s simple, reliable, unbiased, and doesn’t rely on “imaginary players”, or hypothetical “stadium factors”. It’s also very accurate and easily understood. Fans like this.

        So, here we go – Career PA: Hodges .286, Yaz .268, Musial .312, Mize .325, McCovey .276, Killebrew .282, Greenberg .385, Cepeda .267, Banks .258, Perez .260. But let’s also include some other Hall of Famers: Perez .260, Reggie Jackson .273, Murray .268, Stargell .285, Matthews .287, Molitor .263, and Winfield .276, among others.

        But, to be fair, since all these guys had much longer careers than Hodges, more plate appearances, let’s see their best 7 year PA for 550 AB seasons — Hodges 177, Yaz 171.7, Musial 202.6, Mize 191.4, McCovey 157, Killebrew 169.7, Greenberg 228.7, Cepeda 171.5, Banks 169.7, Perez 165.0, Jackson 168.3, Murray 176.9, 158.3, Mathews 176.2, Molitor 176.9, Winfield 175.7. Both of these lists put Hodges well above the median of the mix. Well deserving of the Hall of Fame.

        Now let’s consider defense. Bill James and his “sabermatricians” believe that a first baseman is the lowest of the low, just a mitt on a piece of meat (I doubt if James played first base, or any baseball beyond Little League). But, he’s wrong. The first baseman’s skills are critically important to the team and Hodges beat out all of these great Hall of Famers in both fielding percentage (top 2, 7 times) and assists (top 2, 8 times), in fewer years. Listen to what other Hall of Famers have testified to his ability: Casey Stengel called Hodges “The greatest first baseman since Lou Gehrig.” Stan Musial said Hodges was “The greatest first baseman of his generation.” Al Lopez, manager of the defeated White Sox in the 1959 World Series said, “I’ve seen them all in my day, Hal Chase, Frank Chance, Charlie Grimm, Lou Gehrig, Bill Terry, Stuffy McInnis, but by far, for my money, Gil Hodges is the best first baseman there ever was.”….. But I guess you’re a better judge of talent these guys. Sorry.

        If you think he doesn’t “deserve” the Hall of Fame how do you answer the words of these Hall of Fame players: Willie Mays said, “Gil Hodges is a Hall of Famer; he belongs in Cooperstown.” Roy Campanella said, “Gil Hodges is a Hall of Fame man and a Hall of Fame player.” Duke Snider said, “I don’t know why Gil Hodges isn’t in the Hall of Fame.” Joe Morgan said, ‘Gil Hodges should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago.” Tommy Lasorda spoke valantly to get him in, as did Pee Wee Reese, Ralph Kiner, Don Drysdale, and Sandy Kofax. But you obviously know better… I guess….. Take a deep breath.

        I’m sorry for you. You seem like a very frustrated and bitter man, and it shows in your writing. In my opinion there are no “mistakes” in the Hall of Fame. Everyone inducted deserves to be there for one reason or another. But, there are 10 to 20 more guys who deserve to be there and Gil Hodges is first on the list. During his time he was considered to be a shoe-in for the Hall, but then a lot of the writers got involved in “politics.” Gil Hodges was virtually elected in 1993, you know, but Ted Williams disallowed Roy Campanella’s vote because Roy couldn’t get out of his hospital bed and fly down to Ted’s house in Florida to cast his vote in person. So, he missed it by one vote. Nice guy, huh? This was not only a “mistake” it was a disgrace! A stain upon the Veterans Committee! And it needs to be corrected. I’m holding you responsible to do the right thing and vote Hodges in next year. If you are an honest man it will be an easy thing for you to do.

        All the best young man. See you at the Hall for the induction.

        Greg Smith

        PS – Remember who set the World Series record for most game winning hits?…. Gil Hodges…. (Mantle tied him 6 years later).

      • Jeff Stuart

        He managed the Senators and improved them every year until they were really quite decent in 1967. The Senators were really bad when he took over and took a lot of time to improve. Not to mention the Nats ownership hardly had the Mets resources.

        So yes he had a losing record overall as manager. But if you examine his Washington years he deserves a lot of credit. Turning that bunch around was practically an impossible task.

    • Jeff Stuart

      It is interesting to note that when Hodges received 242 votes in 1979, he ranked fourth behind Willie Mays, who was elected with 409 votes, Duke Snider 308, and Enos Slaughter, 297. Yet , that year there were eight candidates who had fewer votes than Hodges and were later elected to the Hall including Don Drysdale, 233; Nellie Fox, 174; Hoyt Wilhem, 168; Red Schoendienst, 159; Jim Bunning, 147; Richie Ashburn, 130; Luis Aparicio, 120; and Bill Mazerowski, 36.
      If Gil had lived I think he would have been in the public consciousness longer and certainly in the Hall. Right on. His managerial credentials in NY alone added to his player stats qualify him. No one seems impressed with his managerial stint in Washington. But he improved that team bit by bit every year he was here and that – from a long time Senators fan – was no small feat. He deserves credit for that too. But he doesn’t get it. No one could have won pennants with those guys. But had he stayed in DC they might have. “Gil probably knew the game from start to finish as well as any manager I’ve ever been associated with. And I’ve been associated with some great ones,” said Frank Howard.

  • Ron Davis

    I am happy that Bill Mazzoraszki (Sp?) made it because i was hoping that would help get Hodges in . Different positions but if Bill made it so should Gil. Time to elect him and Ron Santo they would look down from Heaven with a big smile they deserve it long over due.

  • John

    Did’nt Gil Hodges retire as the best Right Handed Hitting Hr. hitter? I believe Chamberlis broke that record in the 1980’s…anyway, on character alone he should be a Hall of Famer. Although his numbers are’nt wowing anyone, he was solid all around! He did win 3 World Championships as a player/manager and was elected to 8 all-star games…In a day of an age when Championships define a player, this guy was a PROVEN winner…Although I understand your argument, there can be a bigger argument of players who do not belong in there especailly a player who hit a game winning walk off World Seires HomeRun (Maz)! By the way, why is Phil Rizzuto in the HOF and Gil is not?…my argument begins!!!!

    • Brian Joura

      Jimmie Foxx retired in 1945 with 535 HR. Willie Mays also had more HR than Hodges at the end of the 1963 season when he had 406.

  • John

    What I should have put was Right handed hitting 1st baseman (HR) leader…sorry about that

  • NormE

    If you’ve visited Cooperstown you must realize that the HOF is really the shrine of baseball sentimentality. I understand that statistics
    are an important measure of a player’s worth, but an avid fan’s appreciation of a ballplayer goes beyond mere numbers. The joy that
    the player brings to the crowd can’t be measured in mere statistics. That’s why Mets fans cherished Jose Reyes even when statistics pointed to shortcomings in his game (at least prior to 2011).
    I know that Gil’s numbers are not up to the level of many in the HOF, but as a NYC youngster growing up with the Brooks I adored
    Gil and Pee Wee and Jackie and Campy and Duke along with Erskine (Oisk!) and Gilliam and Newk. Sentimentality does have a place in the HOF. Thus, I think that Cubs fans should have their way with Santo, Twins fans should delight in Oliva, and Dodgers fans should rejoice in the day that Gil joins the HOF.

    • Brian Joura

      Hey Norm – thanks for reading and replying on this and other articles here at the site!

      I’ve been to the HOF four times. Can’t wait to go back and make visit #5.

      The Brooklyn Dodgers are already well-represented by players enshrined into the Hall. There’s Campanella and Reese and Robinson and Snider. There’s also Drysdale and Koufax, although those two are better known as LA Dodgers. I think the story of the Brooklyn Dodgers has already been told enough in Cooperstown without having to induct Hodges.

    • ScottT

      I don’t think sentimentality has a place in the Hall. I’m sentimental about Mookie, but he’s not a hall of famer. Tiger fans are sentimental about Mark Fidrych. You can list hundreds of players that have sentimental meaning to fans

      Pee Wee, Jackie, Campy and Duke belong. There is no sentimentality there. Same for Santo.

      • Rod Timmons

        #14(.) – Gil not only is qualified but is a justified choice ! ! !
        Thanks Gil for all you did & stood for as one of the best 1st basemen & managers in history of MLB !

  • Bart J Rosenberg

    As a 50 year Mets fan who thinks that 1969 was the greatest season in team history, I have fond memories of Gil Hodges leading the team that stunning season. However, I do not believe that he belongs in the HOF. To me, a big part of being an HOF level player is the knowledge that there were some seasons where that player was clearly the best player in the league in some category or group of categories. That he lead the league in something. What did Hodges lead the league in? Most games, twice. Most sacrifice flies, twice. Most strikeouts, once. That’s it. Playing in a hitters park, he never led in HR/RBI/OPS. He was 2nd twice and 3rd twice in HR, and from 2-6 in RBI 7 times. He was never higher then 7th in any MVP voting. 8 times in the top 20 for MVP shows a very fine career, but it’s not enough. Less then 2000 hits, less then 300 doubles, less then 1300 RBI. He was an outstanding defensive player, with terrific range, and almost any team would have been glad to have him play for them, but that is true of dozens of players that are not in the HOF and should not be. In the end, he was a very fine player on some great teams; I wish he was an HOF level player but he is not.

  • Ken Naparsteck

    One thing that has been left out of this discussion is how players rate at their positions against others at the same position and time.
    Using that as a basic criterion strengthens the cases for Hodges and Santo. They were premier players at their positions when they played.
    As were Keith Hernandez, tony Oliva and others. You really can’t keep comparing everyone to the Ruths and Musials only since they would have been great in any era. Players like Rizzuto, Reese, Campanella were standouts when and where they Played as we’re Carl Furillo and Del Ennis – all of these guys deserve HOF consideration

    • Brian Joura

      I think comparing Hodges against his contemporaries is exactly what I was doing when I compared him to Musial, Mize, McCovey, Killebrew, Greenberg and Cepeda. There’s a half dozen guys who played when Hodges did that were better than he was. And this is a time when (mostly) there were only 16 teams in MLB. I think that the 1B position in the 20 years after WWII is fairly represented — if not over-represented — already in the Hall of Fame.

      • Rod Timmons

        No one was a bigger part of or leader of the team concept than was one, Mr Gil Hodges !

  • John Viola

    I disagree. Anyone who saw Gil play would defnetly agree that he should be in a Hall of Famer. Now we punish players because of the filed they played on. Come on most of the fields in the forties anf fiftys were smaller. we don’t penalize Kiner or Robinson…Gil had also the second most HRs for a righthanded hitter, and if memory serves me had the most Grand slams when he retired. Gold Gloves which first baseman would have won them in earlier yrs…Gil.. He was like Cepeda batting and like Keith hernandez on defense…An believe me these two were great players

    • Rod Timmons

      Amen – you summed my views completely John , thank you sir !

      #14 will live forever in this lifelong NY Mets fan heart & mind !

  • AJ

    Stats are an excellent device for capturing a certain kind of information, but absolutely useless for measuring certain other things. In the opening to your piece you did a nice job of acknowledging the special place occupied by Gil Hodges in the hearts of Met fans. I admit to being one of the people who look at Hodges that way. I don’t think the 1969 Miracle Mets would have happened without Gil Hodges. His leadership during his all-too-brief tenure as Mets’ manager took a team that had been nothing but a laughing stock in its previous 7 years of existence and turned it into the world champions of baseball. Yes, they had Tom Seaver, and they couldn’t have achieved what they did without him, either. But the players on the Mets’ roster in 1969, including the Mets’ only home-grown Hall of Famer, would not have done what they did without Gil Hodges at the helm.

    That’s the true measure of his place in the game – Gil Hodges must be evaluated not only for his very respectable career playing for one of the most celebrated franchises in baseball, but also for his singular accomplishment as the manager of the team at the heart of one of the greatest stories in World Series history. Perhaps his playing career alone would be insufficient to gain him entry to Cooperstown, but his inspirational leadership of the Miracle Mets should push him over the top.

    • Brian Joura

      The problem is that the Mets are just one of 30 teams in baseball. An event like 1969 is hugely important to the New York Mets franchise. Its role in MLB is significantly smaller. Gil Hodges is in the New York Mets Hall of Fame – as well he should. He’s also in the Brooklyn Dodger Hall of Fame. His accomplishments and inspirational leadership have been recognized and honored at the appropriate places and the appropriate levels.

  • Jerry Lavish

    Your analysis is severely flawed. Neither Stan Musial nor Harmon Killebrew were first baseman. You clearly do not give Hodges enough credit for being an outstanding defensive
    firstbasemen in a special class with Keith Hernandez. The other first baseman you list couldn’t shine Gil’s shoes when it came to defense. IT’s obvious that you never saw him play. The Dodger infield of Cox,Reese, Robinson and Hodges was inpenetrable defensively.

    • Brian Joura

      Harmon Killebrew played 969 games at first base. Stan Musial played 1,016.

    • Rod Timmons

      Ditto Jerry ! #14 was something really SPECIAL ! ! !

  • […] Brian Joura examined Gil Hodges’ Hall of Fame case for Mets360.com. You should really go check out his statistical comparisons. He concluded: Hodges was a very good […]

  • NormE

    Thanks for the link to Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff.
    I like the fact that you stick to your guns (even when I think you’re wrong, as in the case of the HOF and Gil Hodges) and present a cogent argument.
    Your blog is enjoyable and I appreciate the fact that your correspondents seem intelligent and are not abusive to those with whom they disagree.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Ken Naparsteck

    Sorry that I have been slow getting back to the discussion. I said before that Hodges should be judged in comparidon to his contemporaries. You replied that you had, citing Killibrew, Mize, Greenberg, Musial, Cepefa and McCovey.
    Well Hodges prime years were 1948 – 1959.
    Killibrew 1959 – 1975, Mize 1936 – 1951, Greenberg 1933 – 1947, Cepeda 1958 – 1974, and McCovey 1959 – 1980 were NOT his contemporaries. We readily admit that Musial was in a special class, but the only extradonary first baseman of his time was probably Ted Kluszewski. Joe Collins, Ferris Fain, Eddie Robinson et al were not as good as Hodges. I challenge you to come up with actual better first basemen from the same years as Hodges.

    • Brian Joura

      People’s careers don’t measure up exactly and I think if you’re basing a HOF case upon 100% direct contemporaries you’re going to have some pretty strange people that you declare all-time greats. It’s upon this basis that a lot of people think Dave Concepcion belongs in the Hall – because he was better than his direct contemporaries at shortstop. Maybe the time period in question just didn’t have a lot of historically great performers. The Hall of Fame is not about being the tallest midget.

      Plus, you could be on the other side of the equation. What if during the time you were active – it was one of those random things where there were a bunch of great players at your position? Do we penalize Richie Ashburn because he was active at the same time as HOF center fielders Mantle, Mays and Snider?

      Comparing people who played some while Hodges is active is as far as I want to travel down the “direct contemporary” road. Otherwise you’re giving too much credit to chance, giving unfair and unnecessary credit (or roadblocks) to circumstances beyond a player’s control, ones that have no real basis in determining a player’s greatness.

      Above in this discussion, Howard Megdal and I were talking about time missed due to World War II. This is clearly something that was beyond the control of the players in the early to mid 1940s. But this is also something that clearly had a basis in determining greatness.

      Hank Greenberg was the AL MVP and hit 41 HR in 1940 and then missed 4+ years due to WWII. His first full year back in 1946 he hit 44 HR. I think a reasonable person can assume he would have hit at least 35 HR (probably more)each year from 41-45 and missed out on somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 HR because of WWII. He needs to receive credit for that.

      But Hodges gets no HOF credit for the fact that the Phillies played Eddie Waitkus or the Pirates played Preston Ward at first base while he was active.

      Hodges simply gets credit for what he did. And he was a very good player who provided a bunch of value on both offense and defense for the Dodgers in the 1950s. He was a very valuable player. He just didn’t provide quite enough value to be considered a Hall of Famer, based on the standards of the players who are in the Hall.

      • Rod Timmons

        Thats your opinion not actual facts – the ‘team concept’ of which #14 exemplfied should be in any equation for enshinement & #14 was in a class all his own ! ! !

  • Bryan Kamenetz

    I think that two of the best comparisons to Gil Hodges that illustrate how hollow his candidacy for the Hall of Fame are Rocky Colavito and Norm Cash, neither or whom has any appreciable HOF support. Both hit more home runs than Hodges, and both had OPS+ that was significantly higher than Hodges (Hodges had OPS+ of 119, while Colavito had 132 and Cash 139). Cash has almost identifical numbers to Hodges, but he put them up in a pitcher’s era, while Colavito not only has far more impressive totals he also had far more support in the MVP voting, despite Hodges’ presence on far more successful teams.

    I think the whole Hodges – Managerial Genius thing is hard to swallow when you look at the actual record of his teams. Aside from the 1969 Mets, he never led any team to more than 83 victories, and five of his nine teams finished 8th, 9th, or 10th. I can’t see giving him lots of extra credit for that.

  • Rod Timmons

    Go back to your ‘Tiger’ site & leave us NY baseball fans decide the fate of the ones we watched on a daily basis ! Ciao, TrueBlueSince62 ! #14 will be in MLB HoF down the road right where he belongs – a true ‘quiet’ leader !

  • michael keedy

    I shall forever be astonished by the remarkable lengths to which some commentators will go to justify the exclusion of Gil Hodges from the Hall of Fame. Maybe I can help to move these argumentative discussions forward a bit by remembering the published standards by which any candidate for admission is supposed to be judged: record, ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contribution to the game. In my view, merely to list those attributes is to describe Gil Hodges, and I doubt that any serious student of our national pastime would dispute it.

    Simply put, there was no man on any baseball diamond of greater character and integrity than Hodges. He refused to bait umpires, even when directed by his manager to do so. He never did consciously draw attention to himself like so many of the game’s high-profile stars were and are wont to do. A peacemaker with arms of steel, and not an antagonist, he wasn’t ejected from a single ball game in his entire career.

    As for his skill as a player the fact is that no first baseman in the Hall of Fame had a better fielding percentage than Gil, and his homers-to-at-bats ratio was higher than such sluggers as Stan Musial, Carl Yazstremski, Al Kaline, Billy Williams, Johnny Bench, Orlando Cepeda, Yogi Berra, Tony Perez, Chuck Klein, Rogers Hornsby and Al Simmons–and yes, higher than that of Ron Santo–all of whom are members of the Hall remembered and honored for their power, along with other traits. In fact, Perez’s election a few years ago brings to mind this comparison with his fellow first baseman: Hodges hit nine fewer homers than Perez in 2,748 fewer at-bats, and fielded his position five full percentage points better (.992 vs. .987).

    During his playing days Hodges was named to eight All Star teams and appeared in seven World Series. Acknowledged as the game’s premier fielder at his position throughout the 1950s, he won the Gold Glove in each of its first three years, 1957-59, before reaching the tail-end of his career as a player. He trailed only Hall of Famer Duke Snider in homers and RBIs in the ’50s, a decade rich in long-ball hitting. When he retired, he held the NL record for career grand slams and double plays. Perhaps most amazing, Hodges had over 100 RBIs in seven consecutive seasons (Mickey Mantle did it four times, total), hit more than 22 homers 11 years in a row (with six 30-plus seasons), and remains today the only player to hit four home runs in one game off four different pitchers. In an 11-year stretch, from 1949-59, Hodges averaged 30 homers and 101 RBIs a year, a feat unmatched by many power producers in the Hall of Fame today.

    But the Great Gil gave to the game much more than his athletic talent and on-field accomplishments. Perhaps like no other, he enriched the lives of players and fans with his decency, class and dignity. Having served his country with distinction as a Marine during World War II he joined fellow Dodgers (and future Hall of Famers) Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider and Pee Wee Reese and quickly became a key part of the fabled Boys of Summer, helping lead the Dodgers into the postseason and, finally, to Brooklyn’s only world championship in ’55 when he drove home the winning run as Johnny Podres shut down the mighty Bronx Bombers at Yankee Stadium in Game 7.

    When his playing career was over, he guided the New York Mets from laughable doormats to a World Series title in ’69, and was named Manager of the Year. As Ed Kranepool, the Mets’ first baseman, put it: “When Gil died, it was like having the heart cut out of you, like losing your engine. He was the quiet leader who took us to the next level. The Mets were never the same again.”

    Without a doubt, Gil Hodges has been overshadowed by more flamboyant and outspoken players of his era, and he may also have been hurt by the fact that many of his fellow Dodgers are already in the Hall of Fame; I don’t know. But I do know that by any fair and meaningful measure he deserves to join them there, if the printed criteria for enshrinement really do mean anything at all. As Stan Musial said, Gil Hodges was “the greatest first baseman of his generation.” We all have to go sometime, but I can die happy only if the voters finally give this amazing and unsung baseball hero his rightful due by electing him to the Hall of Fame. Now, with another three years ahead of us in which fans, players and voters can continue to forget about Gil Hodges, I’m worried that it may never happen.

    For “fun,” so to speak, I compared Gil’s stats to those of Joe Gordon, whom the Golden Era’s predecessor committee named to the HOF a couple of years ago. It shouldn’t surprise anyone to know that Gil had a higher batting average; better on-base percentage; more hits, homers and RBIs than Gordon; more runs scored; more doubles; a fatter slugging percentage; more total bases, and superior fielding numbers. In All Star games Hodges hit .333 to Gordon’s .200, and in the Series he wound up at .267 lifetime compared with Gordon’s .243, even factoring in Gil’s infamous oh-for-21 showing in ’52, which became the stuff of legend–and prayers–around the borough of Brooklyn at that time.

    I don’t really want to elevate Gil Hodges by demeaning others in the Hall of Fame, including the likes of Joe Gordon and Tony Perez, who are conveniently available for that purpose. It isn’t necessary, and it’s something The Great Gil would never do. But please feel free, Dear Reader, to check out our new inductee Ron Santo’s stats if you have any remaining doubts about my hero’s worthiness for enshrinement.

    I count myself lucky that that I got to see Hodges play the game–although never at Ebbets Field, unfortunately (but at Wrigley Field and Connie Mack Stadium). He was a man of quiet confidence and power; a feared hitter and an astoundingly gifted fielder. In fact I witnessed moves by him in the infield that shall remain forever in my mental highlight reel; plays of the kind I haven’t seen in fifty years. Before and after games he made himself available to fans more genuinely–and generously–than any of his teammates.

    So here I am on a blog, a self-appointed and pathetic Don Quixote tilting at windmills for no apparent, productive purpose. I should give it up and get a real life, as they say, but the fact that Gil Hodges will likely never make it to Cooperstown is truly one of the great injustices of the modern sports world. It defies comprehension, and no references to the war years lost by Hank Greenberg, the bats corked by Norm Cash or the candy bars consumed by Ron Santo between innings can correct this egregious oversight.

    I’ll be okay tomorrow (maybe), but it’s way past time for The Lords of Baseball to recognize and honor this magnificent man, ballplayer and manager by naming him to the Hall of Fame. Then–and only then–will I make the long trek for a visit to Cooperstown.

    • Brian Joura

      Thanks Michael for taking the time to write this! I hope you’ll come back and offer your thoughts on other articles here at the site.

    • Ken from Brooklyn

      Very thorough, Michael. I can’t add much except to say Gil was a crucial part of a very successful team and deserves the HOF more than Santo, Maz, Tinker, to name a few.

    • Scott Alevy

      An excellent and accurate argument. Yes, I agree with you that Gil Hodges, the greatest first baseman of his time (if you can believe Stan Musial) belongs in the Hall of Fame. Here’s the best test of all…ask his team mates and those he managed. They all agree that Mr.Hodges is a true Hall of Famer. Ask those of us who, as youngsters in Long Beach, CA or Brooklyn, and we will tell you that Mr. Hodges IS baseball.

    • Greg Smith

      I’m with you there, Michael!
      Let’s get him in!

  • michael keedy

    Dear Brian,

    Thank you for your quick response, and for declining any temptation to set me straight, especially in my hour of sorrow and despair. I do intend to bounce back shortly, and I shall accept your kind invitation to weigh in on other issues. Thanks again.

  • Steven Sucharski

    you neglected to say that the gold glove was created in 1957 and hodges won the first three at firstbase. Hodges was also second all time among home runs for right handed hitters at his time of retirement. Hodges also led the hole national league in RBI’s in the 1950’s with 1001. You could speculate that if the gold glove was created at the time of the cy young or mvp its a safe bet that Hodges would have won every gold glove at first base. you also fail to cite that Hodges was awarded a bronze star in ww2 and a commendation for courage while under fire. While as a manager for the senators hodges talked one of his pitchers out of committing suicide. Hodges was over looked because he died before the 1972 season and many forgot about Gil and that affected the hall of fame voting.

  • bklynbum14@yahoo.com

    Vet election is tough political question–If Ted Williams accepted Campy vote from hospital in 1992 or 1993 , Gil would be in. Should be in on CHARACTER alone as last year’s article in Cooperstown Memories magazine points out about Gil. I am GIL supporter all the way but a center fielder from Atlanta named MURPHY has a good case too.

    • Nick Riggio

      JGil brought more then great baseball to MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL,! He brought class, humility and was a great role model for children! His baseball achievements are more then enough to include him into the Hall of Fame. Yet it’s Gil’s life that must be on display in the Hall of Fame! To allow TED WILLIAMS changing of the vote procedure be allowed to darken the Hall any longer? I think not! Gil Hodges belongs in the Hall of Fame

  • bklynbum14@yahoo.com
    • Allen G Smith

      Gil Hodges died a great man and manger and should be in the HOF, So that his family can go on living hi greatness of the game. PUT GIL HODGES IN THE HALL OF FAME

  • Joe D'Agostin

    You got that right. The Hall even used Gil as a classic example of integrity and character in one of their Memories & Dreams Magazines. Big issue over no current Hall election re definition of character but isn’t the real issue integrity/honesty if players spike their bodies with illegal drugs—they are really lying to everyone re their natural abilities and this is clearly being dishonest–integrity.

  • Glen Pierce

    As a 1950’s kid, we all knew that Hodges was the best at his position along with Musial. Just knew it. Didn’t need figures. Travesty that Hodges is not in hall. I won’t bother to compare him to other fellows who are border line. Hodges must get in.

  • Joe dagostin

    You got that correct. Now we all must continue to pray for Gil Hodges as next election is I think 2015.
    To contact me put Gil Hodges in subject , otherwise you go to spam

  • Scott Alevy

    Mr. Joura, your contentions are thoughtful but this jury’s deliberations seem to disagree with you. The HOF really needs to be somewhat about character, don’t you think? If the voters choose to restrict Pete Rose for betting and McGuire, Bonds, Clemens and others whose numbers say enshrinement but their actions say NO…then the hypocrites who vote should cast a deciding vote for moral greatness and exemplary leadership. On this day that the nation is honoring Jackie Robinson, perhaps deference at the HOF should be paid to the great first baseman from Princeton, Indiana who was a true friend to the Robinson family and a leader in the clubhouse. Gil Hodges was a great player, a true leader and example, and a hero to thousands of us who grew up watching him play.

  • Greg Smith

    Hi Brian – I’m sorry but I have to disagree on your analysis of Hodges’s elegibility for the Hall of Fame. I’ll write you later about your use of the word “mistake” and the meaninglessness of WAR and OPS+. For now, here is a letter I just sent off to the Veterans Committee:


    We need to induct Gil Hodges into the Hall of Fame this time, and I’m going to tell you why. His induction is long overdue, especially after the abomination in 1993.

    His era really begins after WWII, because that event was a mind changer for everyone. Moreover, the ball was stabilized, great black players were now in the game, expansion hadn’t watered down the competition yet (first in1961), it wasn’t until 1969 that the mound was reduced to 10” (it was 20” high in Shibe Park), the strike zone hadn’t been reduced, and PEDs were still unknown. But, since there aren’t enough Hall of Fame first basemen from this era we should compare him with other similar production players up to about 1985, the beginning of the Steroid Era. Then things really began to change.

    We all know that left-handed batters have a lot of advantages: 90% of the pitchers were right handed (it’s now around 25%), they’re closer to first, and fences were generally shorter in right. Snider says in his book that his father “forced” him to bat lefty for these very reasons. And, he was right. It’s noteworthy that Hodges hit 80% of his homers against righties, Snider hit 92% of his homers against righties, and it’s well known that Snider had more trouble against lefties than Hodges did against righties.

    The other factor we must consider is the difference in longevity. This is not the Hall of Longevity, it’s the Hall of Fame. How do you compare a player with a long career and huge numbers against a player with a short career and smaller numbers? The best way is percentages and averages. All the players we will mention had longer careers than Hodges (some almost twice as long), who had about 12 productive years. Despite this, he tied Ott’s National League record of consecutive 20+ HR years with 11.

    Considering this it’s also noteworthy that Hodges held the National League record for most home runs by a right handed hitter, passing Kiner in 1962.

    The players who are paid to drive in runs are not likely to be identified by their batting average but by their Production Average (R + RBI – HR / AB). This figure shows how well a player PRODUCES RUNS. You don’t win games by having the most hits, or the highest team batting average, you win by scoring the most runs. This percentage is more important than batting average (even home run percentage), when talking about winning games. It includes scoring runs as well as driving in runs and doesn’t favor home run hitters. Gil Hodges’ Production Average was .286 – his frequency per at bat to produce a run.

    Here are some great Hall of Famers for comparison — Musial .312, Snider .305, Mays .304, Aaron .301, Banks .258, Cepeda .267, McCovey .276, Jackson .273, Perez .260, Stargell .285, Yastrezemski .268, Killebrew .282, Brett .276, Matthews .287, Murray .268, Dawson .254, Rice .282, Santo .261, Kaline .277, Bench .271, Winfield .276, Billy Williams .263, et al. Clearly, Hodges belongs among them.

    His five 30+ HR and 100+ RBI seasons is remarkable considering the brevity of his career, being delayed by two years in the Marines and leg injuries in his 30’s. Comparing him to players on this list shows Hodges is exceeded only by Mays 9, Killebrew 8, Banks 6, Musial 6, and Jackson 6 (all with many more ABs); ties him with Snider and Matthews; and puts him ahead of McCovey 4, Rice 4, Murray 4, Stargell 4, Bench 4, Cepeda 3, Dawson 3, Winfield 3, (Mantle 3, Mize 3), Billy Williams 3, Yastrezimski 3, Perez 2, Santo 2, and Brett.

    Hodges’s seven consecutive 100+ RBI seasons was only one behind Ott’s NL record, and is exceeded only by Mays (8) of the players on this list.

    Many players are in the Hall because of their defense more so than their offense. Here too, Hodges can claim credibility for admission. Seven years he was either first (4) or second (3) in fielding percentage, which thoroughly beats everyone on this list; the closest being Winfield 6, Kaline 6, Yastrezemski 6, Banks 6, (Ripkin 6, Mize 6).

    Another great measure of defensive ability is assists. Eight times Hodges was either first (3) or second (5), which beats everyone on this list accept Yastrzemski 11, and Santo 10, (Sandberg tied him with 8).

    These figures prove that Hodges deserves to be to be in the Hall as a player, despite his managerial success. The abomination that took place in 1993, when Ted Williams disallowed Roy Campanella’s vote by telephone when Roy was too sick to be present in person, the one vote that would have put Hodges in the Hall, must be cleansed from the annals of the Hall of Fame. It’s a disgrace! Let’s correct this “mistake” and get him in.

    Regards and God bless,

  • Scott Alevy

    That is probably the most concise and effective comparison I have ever read about Mr. Hodges and his qualifications for the Hall of Fame…and it doesn’t even get into the intangibles like his class, dignity and what he meant to his fans. Thank you for writing this!

  • Scott Alevy

    A wise man once said: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, write.”

  • NormE

    I am one of the lucky ones one who saw Gil Hodges play. I truly believe he was a special person, as well as an outstanding first baseman. You had to see this big man display the physical grace which defined him. He was remarkable.
    As for the statistical arguments of Brian Joura and Greg Smith, it seems to me that there are enough numbers to be manipulated to make the case for or against Gil. Statistics are numbers to be used, and often they are cherry-picked to prove one’s case.
    I prefer Greg’s numbers.

  • Joseph M. Miller

    I was fortunate to see Gil Hodges play during his glory years as a Brooklyn Dodger. I was at the game on August 30 ,1950 when he hit 4 hr’s and a single for 17 total bases in a game. I think that record held until broken by Joe Adcock with 18 total bases. Gil was a leader and gentleman and along with his baseball record and contribution to the game should get him elected to the Hall.Thank you.

  • Joe D'Agostin

    I am 74 and from Bklyn where I watched Gil play. The Quiet Man was smart , smoothie on defense and a no nonsense player manager.
    Cannot understand why Cooperstown overlooks him. Next look is 2017. At least he is in Marine Corps Sports Hall with Ted Williams and Tom Seaver

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy.

  • Nick Riggio

    I lived in Brooklyn and was so fortunate to see a truly great man and player. His name was Gil Hodges. Why he has been excluded from the Hall of Fame is shocking. The lords of baseball espouse being a role model for our youth. Gil was that and much more. He was a role model for all humanity. He was a loving husband, dad, a great Marine who served his country, and a great first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers. This man is the perfect choice to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy.

  • Nick Riggio

    Nonsense. Statistics do not tell the whole story. If ever a man belongs in the Hall it I’d Gil Hodges.

  • Mr_Math

    Fascinating input from a group of old fogeys whom I’d charitably call “boomers”. Given that I neither saw Hodges play nor manage, I must be quite a bit younger than these fossils.

    Anyway, I am a mathematician. Before that, I was both a chemist and physicist, having earned undergrad degrees in both. Interestingly, despite excellent grades, I am not a statistician, which would have seemed logical since I had such strong background in applied math before a became a math grad student.

    The point of all this is that I became bored with baseball around the turn of the century for various reason. I can only say sabermetrics was the biggest reason I became interested in baseball again, likely because I long ago realized what a lousy job people were doing with statistics in baseball.

    Is Hodges a HOFer? I don’t know, possibly a veteran’s committee might induct him. The only part of his alleged legacy is that I can directly address is that there was no way in hell he was a better fielder than Hernandez, the undeniably best fielding 1B in history. This despite fielding sabermatrics – a field in its infancy – claiming others were better, because no 1B ever dominated a game with his fielding the way Mex did.

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