Hodges played in over 2,000 MLB games over 18 seasons hitting 370 career home runs, three Gold Glove awards and appearing in eight All-Star Games. He knocked in 100+ runs in seven seasons.
Hodges played (1962-1963) and managed the New York Mets (1968-1971). In four seasons at the helm, he managed the Mets to their first World Series title in 1969. Hodges ranks fourth on the Mets all-time wins list by a Mets manager (339).
Cleon Jones said:
“If not for Gil Hodges, we would not be here today. If you knew him as a player, then you would understand him as a manager. … Winning comes from the top down. [General manager] Johnny Murphy, Gil Hodges put all the pieces together. The puzzle was in place.”
Added Jones: “He was everything.”
Hall of Fame:
The 16-member Hall of Fame Board-appointed electorate charged with the review of the Golden Days Era ballot was comprised of Hall of Fame members Rod Carew, Fergie Jenkins, Mike Schmidt, John Schuerholz, Bud Selig, Ozzie Smith and Joe Torre; major league executives Al Avila, Bill DeWitt, Ken Kendrick, Kim Ng and Tony Reagins; and veteran media members/historians Adrian Burgos Jr., Steve Hirdt, Jaime Jarrín and Jack O’Connell. Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark served as the non-voting chairman of the Golden Days Era Committee.
After being selected by the New York Mets in the 1961 Expansion Draft, Hodges became one of the original 1962 Mets, hitting the first home run in franchise history. After 11 games with the Mets in 1963, Hodges was traded to the Washington Senators for outfielder Jimmy Piersall. Hodges eventually replaced Mickey Vernon as Senators manager. He managed Washington through 1967 but never recorded a winning record.
In 1968, Hodges was brought back to New York to manage the Mets, and while the team only posted a 73–89 record it was nonetheless the best mark in their seven years of existence up to that point.
In 1969, he led the “Miracle Mets” to the World Series championship, defeating the Baltimore Orioles four-games-to-one. Hodges was named The Sporting News’ Manager of the Year.
“He walked in and his physical presence changed what was going on immediately. Then, when he spoke, it changed even more. When you looked at the size of his hands, it changed even more. (Hodges) had a very strong personality. He had one way to run this business – as a professional. Pretty much from day one, he didn’t try to make it too complicated. It was you, the player, understanding that there was a way you go about your business.” – Tom Seaver (1992)
On April 2, 1972, Easter Sunday, Hodges suffered a fatal heart attack. Joe Pignatano later told the media: “I put my hand under Gil’s head, but before you knew it, the blood stopped. I knew he was dead. He died in my arms.”
Hodges is a member of the MetsRewind Hall of Fame, the first and only fan-driven virtual team Hall of Fame. He was selected by Mets fans as part of the inaugural class in Spring 2019. Hodges was inducted with Tom Seaver, Mike Piazza, David Wright and Jerry Koosman.