Mets fans and many baseball historians are still reeling from Monday’s snub of Gil Hodges by the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee. Not only did it deny Hodges his rightful place in Cooperstown, the committee added insult to injury by only giving him “three votes or fewer.” There are several notes to touch upon before we put this thing to rest for another three years, when the “Golden Era” players come around on the ballot again.
First of all, the vote shows that Hodges will likely never be elected to the Hall. After getting nine of the necessary 12 votes three years ago, Hodges dropped to the aforementioned three votes or fewer this time around. It was a clear message that the committee does not find Hodges worthy. It can only get worse from here; as older members who may have seen Hodges play or knew him personally are replaced with younger people who never saw him, his chances diminish even more. People have a better frame of reference with their contemporaries, and sadly, all of Hodges’s contemporaries are dying off.
I was happy to write about Gil Hodges and promote a petition and Facebook page dedicated to helping get Hodges elected to the Hall. But on Monday Gil Hodges, Jr. said all of the public support might have hurt his dad’s chances.
“Unfortunately, I think too many people got behind it,” Hodges Jr. said on WFAN on Monday. “Too many fans, there were so many petitions, there was a Facebook petition of over 3,000 signees across the country — a lot of notable people, columnists: George Vecsey and Dave Anderson and Tom Verducci and Peter Gammons. I mean, numerous people signed the petition. And I think, unfortunately, that downplays his raw credentials and just brings into the aspect of a fan-base scenario, and I don’t think that’s taken well.”
With all due respect, I cannot disagree with him more. Support for Hodges was not over the top — it was not pushy and was relatively quiet. And besides, much louder and more obnoxious campaigns have worked in the past; Bert Blyleven is only in because he publicly whined about it for 15 years. And the push for Ron Santo was pretty constant.
Lastly, Joe Posnanski has a really good column about the Veterans Committee process. You can read the entire thing here, but basically it points out how nearly impossible it is for any candidate to get 12 votes. I was not aware that each of the 16 committee member got only four votes. I figured there was a limit, but I never knew what it was. In any case, it is worth a read.
So Gil Hodges may never be in the Hall of Fame. But we Mets fans know better.