Gil Hodges

Gil HodgesIf you look at the top five players for the 1950s in all of baseball in these categories: extra-base hits, total bases, and home runs, Gil Hodges is the only player NOT in the Baseball Hall of Fame. His name shares space with Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Eddie Mathews, Duke Snider, Willie Mays, etc. on lists of the statistical leaders in almost every offensive category for the 1950s, but for some reason the voters never saw fit to elect Hodges to the Hall.

It’s especially surprising that Hodges hasn’t made the Hall of Fame for these reasons:

  1. He played for one of the most fabled and popular teams of all-time, the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s. In fact, Hodges was the cleanup hitter on a team that featured Jackie Robinson, Snider, and Roy Campanella. You’d think the writers, who usually love New York players, would have chosen Hodges for the HOF.
  2. He starredon many winning teams, appearing in seven World Series in which he blasted five homers and drove in 21 runs in 39 games. He hit a key homer in Game Four of the 1955 World Series, when the Dodgers finally beat the Yankees.
  3. Hodges earned more fame after his career when he managed the 1969 New York Mets to an improbable World Series title. There are still folks in New York who think Gil was the best manager in Mets history. He certainly deserves a lot of credit for taking a young team that had never won anything before to the Fall Classic where they defeated a heavily favored opponent.
  4. He was excellent at something that baseball writers seem to love: driving in runs. Hodges had at least 100 RBI in seven straight seasons.

But though Hodges has received more votes than just about any player who has ever been on the ballot (his name was on the ballot for all 15 years of eligibility) and he topped 60% three times, he never made it. The Veterans Committee has considered Hodges several times, but he’s still never gotten enough support from former players and managers who have comprised that body.

We also discuss Hodges and his Hall of Fame credentials and place in history in our Steve Garvey comment.

Most Runs Batted in, 1949-1959 NL

Duke Snider … 1123
Gil Hodges … 1116
Stan Musial … 1095

Most Home Runs, 1949-1959 NL

Duke Snider … 349
Gil Hodges … 333
Stan Musial … 302

Most Walks, 1949-1959 NL

Stan Musial … 949
Richie Ashburn… 886
Gil Hodges … 817

Most Total Bases, 1949-1959 NL

Stan Musial … 3429
Duke Snider … 3243
Gil Hodges … 3003

Highest OPS (On-Base plus Slugging), 1949-1959 NL

Stan Musial … 996
Willie Mays … 981
Ralph Kiner … 969
Duke Snider … 949
Eddie Mathews … 931
Hank Aaron … 931
Ernie Banks … 913
Jackie Robinson … 903
Gil Hodges … 877

It’s unprecedented that a player who ranks so high in so many categories over a stretch of a decade (or more in this case) is NOT in the Hall of Fame.