Friday, August 9, 2013

So Tell Me, Why ISN'T Gil Hodges in the Hall of Fame?

Since I have been involved with SABR and become part of several baseball discussion groups on various social media, I can tell you that there is no topic - none! - that stirs the fires and passions of a certain segment of the baseball community than the fact that Gil Hodges is not an enshrined member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Ask the question or making a comment either for or against Hodges being in the Hall on certain Facebook pages, and you are absolutely certain to be starting a thread that will generate thirty, forty, fifty or more comments.

Myself, I had no particular bias one way or the other.  If a guy makes the Hall of Fame, I'm happy for him, but if a certain player doesn't, I don't lose sleep over it either, and I always found the debates amusing, especially when it veers into the area of "O'Malley's-a-bastard-for-taking-the-Dodgers-out-of-Brooklyn".  However, this is what being a baseball fan is all about, and some folks have embraced this cause with an amazing passion.  Facebook friend and Pirate Chatter Scott Russell has compiled some documentation that has absolutely convinced me that Hodges should be in the Hall of Fame.

All of this brings me to the question stated in the title of this post: Why ISN'T Hodges in the Hall?  What is the case against him?  He was passed over by the BBWA in regular Hall voting for all fifteen years of his eligibility.  He has been passed over (or "snubbed" as the Hodgesophiles would put it) by the various iterations of the Veteran's Committee ever since (although there is anecdotal evidence that Hodges was voted in by the Vet's Committee one year, only to have his entrance sabotaged by Ted Williams on a procedural technicality).  

Again, why?

Everyone makes the case FOR Hodges, but I am asking for someone now to make the case AGAINST him.  Can somebody please state the case as to why Hodges has never reached the Promised Land in Cooperstown?  I'd be interested in hearing the other side of this. Please state the case, and please be civil.

Oh, and a couple of points of my own.  When making their arguments, the Hodges Backers always include as reasons (a) that Gil was a nice guy, the salt of the earth, and (b) that he managed the 1969 Mets to a World Series win.  To me, these are NOT reasons to put him in the HOF.  We all know that "nice" doesn't get you in the Hall, witness Ty Cobb and Steve Carlton, to name only two, and if "nice" was a criterion, then Mike McKenry would be a first ballot entrant..  As for managing the '69 Mets, that would make a nice footnote on his HOF plaque, but there are a lots and lots of managers who have won one World Series.

As I always do, I will be copying this post on several Facebook pages, and I am looking forward to the responses.  


  1. Let me try, even though I'm a Hodges partisan. The anti-Hodges group says he wasn't a dominant player, certainly not long enough, wasn't the best player on his team, never was MVP, never led his league in homers and wasn't the best at his position in his era. The comebacks are--he still managed more HRs than anyone in the 50s but Snider and retired at #10 on the all-time list; being 4th best player on the Boys of Summer Dodgers isn't the same as being 4th best on the '88 Orioles; and I would argue him as the dominant player at first in the 50s (some say Klu, some say Musial, but he spent more of the decade in the outfield). As for intangibles, it's more than being a nice guy. The HoF's own criteria include "integrity, sportsmanship and character," and the man was way off the charts there.

  2. ..and if you're of the opinion he SHOULD be in, please consider signing this petition that will be sent to the Golden Era Committee:

  3. I believe both Gil Hodges and Carl Furillo deserve consideration of Cooperstown enshrinement but it seems as though they have been held back because too many of their Dodger teammates have already been inducted. Truth be told, the Dodgers from the 1950's had All-Star players at nearly every position on the field. A virtual HOF team!