Gil Hodges 1952 #033
by William Szczepanek
This 1952 card of Hodges, like many of those players who began playing before 1952, is the most popular card of his that has been produced and ranks 28th on the Hall of Fame list. Gil Hodges is one of the few players to have a card in the Baseball Card Hall of Fame, but not be inducted in the actual National Baseball Hall of Fame.
There are a few reasons for this ─ his lifetime batting average of .273, the fact that he had fewer than 2,000 hits and did not lead the league in many categories. However, Hodges, was a popular player on the Brooklyn Dodgers, who later played on the New York Mets. He is one of the "Boys of Summer" made famous by Roger Kahn. He played for 18 years and hit 370 home runs, which was the most for a right handed hitter when he retired in 1963. Seven times he had more than 100 RBIs in a season. He had more RBIs, 1001, than any other player in the decade of the 1950s and more home runs than anyone except for teammate, Duke Snider. He was an 8-time All Star and a favorite of the people in Brooklyn.
getting booed at Ebbets Field was an amazing thing. Those fans
knew their baseball and Gil was the only player I can remember
whom the fans never, I mean never booed.”
Like many players of the time, WWII took precedence and Hodges, after 3 plate appearances in 1943, did not return to the Majors until after the War in 1947. He was awarded the Bronze Star and saw action in battle at Tinian and Okinawa for the U.S. Navy.
An exceptional defensive player, he won three Gold Glove Awards and led the NL in double plays four times and three times led the league in assists, putouts and fielding percentage. He ranked second in NL history with 1,281 assists and 1,614 double plays at the end of his career.
In 1969 Hodges led the New York Mets to the World Series Championship as manager after jumping past the Cubs in the famous 1969 pennant race going 38-11 to end the season.
I know that I'll never forget that, but also I won't forget the
hundreds of people who sent me letters, telegrams, and postcards
during that World Series. There wasn't a single nasty message.
Everybody tried to say something nice."
Gil Hodges was thought of as a nice guy. He never argued calls and was loved by the fans. A true gentleman. The Golden Age of Baseball Cards believes Hodges should be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
"Many children work hard to please their parents, but
what I truly longed for was good times that were about us, not
about me. That is the real hole the Dodgers filled in my life."
We like his card #080 from 1957.
Hodges died of a heart attack while golfing at the age of 47.
You can check out Gil Hodges' statistics at Baseball Reference.