The Baseball Hall of Fame announced Gil Hodges is among 10 players on the Golden Days Era committee to be considered for enshrinement. As much as his legions of devoted fans would finally like to see this injustice finally rectified, the odds are it won’t happen.
It really pained me to write that last sentence. I am among those fans who think the Hall is not complete without Hodges. But this is nothing new, and the last time he was considered, he got the dreaded “fewer than three votes.” Why would that change this year?
The only hope is that the committee which will decide Hodges’s Hall of Fame fate is filled with former Mets and/or Dodgers and New York baseball writers who might be sympathetic to a Hodges candidacy. That 16-member committee, which is traditionally made up of Hall of Fame players, baseball executives and media members, will be announced later. But let’s face it, Hodges last played in a game in 1963, and last managed in 1971 before his tragic death at age 47 from a heart attack during Spring Training in 1972. That is a really long time ago; very few of those committee members will likely have a personal memory of Hodges. And that hurts his case, unfair as it may be.
This is one of those instances where I would be thrilled to be wrong. Hodges has always been one of my heroes. As a kid, I bowled at his bowling alley in Brooklyn, spending a lot of time staring at the trophy case near the entrance. I remember the special report on Channel 9 announcing his death and how sad I was. Gil Hodges absolutely, positively belongs in the Hall of Fame — his managing career puts his arguably borderline playing career over the top. But I’m just not getting my hopes up; I don’t want to feel that sadness again.