The forgotten Boy of Summer

Monday, August 14, 2017

The forgotten Boy of Summer

Gil Hodges Bobblehead

In truth, the man will never be forgotten by me or any of the "Flatbush Faithful" from the lively Dodgers days in Brooklyn, but it is those myopic mutts on the Hall of Fame Oldtimers' and Golden Days committees who either have huge holes in their memory banks, or are simply ignorami who have neither the wit nor the pride to perform their job properly.

I rise to again address the issue of Gilbert Ray Hodges' disgraceful absence from Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

With being named on 75% of the Baseball Writers of America ballots as the threshhold of admittance, from his first year of eligibility in 1969 to his last in 1983 Hodges' vote totals ranged from 24.1% to 63.4% while his three-time Most Valuable Player teammate Roy Campanella was elected that year with 79.41% of the vote.

(In 1970, Lou Boudreau gained entrance with 77.33% of the votes, based not on career statistics, but a single season [1948] Most Valuable Player award.)

Hodges' career stats were well above average for the era (1943-1963) in which he played, with 370 home runs and 1274 RBIs, including seven consecutive seasons batting in more than 100 runs, and being voted eight times to the National League All-Star team.

I, along with others, have argued forcefully... but ob­vious­ly not forcefully enough... that if the Big Red Machine's Tony Pérez, who arrived as Hodges was retiring as a player, then the Dodgers first baseman deserves a place in Cooperstown as well!

But if his player's stats didn't get him elected, I submit that his managerial miracle of 1969, in which he took the historically hapless New York Mets... seven straight seasons with a losing record... to their first ever season with a winning record and a World Serious title in 1969, should be given consideration.

Though few in Dodgers Stadium tomorrow night ever saw the man play, the team will honor their slighted star of yore with a Gil Hodges Bobblehead night.

I've been sore tempted to blow a month's Social Security check to fly to Los Angeles for the occasion, but prudence dictates otherwise.

(It's not as impressive as the Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge the Marine Parkway Authority dedicated in 1978, but it's good to know someone in the Dodgers' organization remembers!)

So me 'n' OtBB will continue to carry the fight from here in the fond hope that Gil Hodges will someday rightfully join his manager Walter Alston and Boys of Summer team­mates Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Peewee Reese, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.


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