The key words of the Hodges family, it turned out, were not “Hall of Fame”.
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They were “I am very happy to tell you this…”
As for Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the board of the Baseball Hall of Fame, her phone call broke into tears on Sunday afternoon before Irene Hodges, daughter of legendary Dodgers player and Mets manager Gil Hodges, burst into tears. Loud, dear tears.
“I was just hysterical,” said Irene Hodges. “I did not hear [Clark] For a while.”
Nearly 50 years after his passing, nearly 53 years after the writers first considered his Cooperstown candidacy, Hodges finally reached the promised land of his play. In some news that warms the hearts of baseball fans who are deeply distressed by the current labor unrest, Hodges was voted off the Golden Days Committee ballot by three other players (Jim Katt, Minnie Minoso and Tony Oliva) and two (Bud Fowler and Buck O’Neal). ) Joined. Neil) on the Committee on Early Days. Even if the writers don’t choose anyone on our ballot—a distinct possibility—the figures for the July 24 induction ceremony are about to stall.
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Irene Hodges said, “We’ve waited too long for our father to receive this honor.” “Not that he needs it, but we’re so happy for him.
“I can’t explain, because you go numb. You get used to it not really happening, I was excited, I was tense, but when it does, it’s just an incredible moment.” Is. “
After Irene Hodges calmed down, she asked Clarke if she would mind repeating the information to 95-year-old Joan Hodges, Gill’s widow. The Hodges family would travel to Cooperstown to attend events (fingers crossed Joan might have been involved), and you know, a Mets fan of a certain age, Gil to thank his 1969 club for its miraculous first title. will thank you for Suffrage History.
“I have to tell you, my dad would be so thrilled for all the people – and it’s unbelievable that 50 years after he’s gone – the number of people who love and support him,” said Irene Hodges. “My dad would be thrilled more than anything, and he’s glad he’s in.”
When Gil Hodges died suddenly on April 2, 1972, at the age of 47, the baseball world was shocked and forced the Mets to find an immediate successor as manager (it was Yogi Berra, you know). , his name had already appeared on four writers’ ballots. Although he registered a significant increase from 40.7 percent to 57.4 percent a year after his death, he never jumped close to the expected 75 percent threshold, topping 63.4 percent in his final year of 1983. Then there were countless appearances by various veteran committees. , each one falling far short when Hodges, in combination with his outstanding playing career as well as his brief yet-celebrated managing run, went on to capture 12 of the 16 votes, the minimum number for election (and One more than poor Dick Allen, who fell short with just 11).
Art Shumsky, one of Hodge’s ’69 Mets, watched MLB Network’s broadcast live and celebrated hearing his manager’s name, and you can understand why he wasn’t shaken by the long wait for the news.
“His contribution to the game on and off the field, I think, is certainly well-deserved,” Shumsky said, referring to the election of his former manager. “I think a lot of people have felt that way, and I don’t know why he didn’t come earlier.
“But it’s over and done. We’re all excited about it.”
finished with and done. The first year on Hodges’ ballot, the Mets won it all. It’s now officially his final year on the ballot… well, don’t get carried away just yet. You can rest assured that, no matter how much the current forces of the industry agitate, there will be one heck of a party, a party so long to come, come July in New York.