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#547 Gil Hodges

05/27/2009

547 Gil Hodges547 Gil Hodges back

This is part of the tough high series. Cards 523 through 587 in the ’64 set were short printed, so these cards sell for more than their lower-numbered counterparts. My card is a solid EX-MT at first glance, but a hairline wrinkle in the top left corner (in the first “S” of “Senators”) keeps it from grading that high. SMR (SMR stands for Sports Market Report, which is the price guide put out by professional grader PSA) for a NM example is $45.

Hodges was one of the better players of the 1950s, spending his first 16 seasons with the Dodgers. He played in seven World Series with the Dodgers, winning two (1955 in Brooklyn and 1959 in L.A.). Hodges had his best offensive year in 1954, when he hit .304/.373/.579 with 42 home runs and 130 RBI. Somehow, he still only finished 10th in the MVP voting. In fact, despite being an eight-time all-star (this card erroneously states he only made it six times), Hodges never received a first-place vote in the MVP balloting. This is part of why he has still not been voted into the Hall of Fame.

Hodges was selected by the Mets in the 1962 expansion draft and hit the first home run in franchise history, when the team still played at the Polo Grounds. At the time of his retirement, he ranked 10th in MLB history with 370 homers.

Gil has better offensive rates than many HOFers, but he’s been kept out because of his .273 batting average and only 1,921 career hits. But his .846 career OPS would seem to be hall-quality, considering that it includes some leaner times as he got older. Admittedly, his top-10 comparable players include others from his era who aren’t quite HOF-worthy, such as Boog Powell, Rocky Colavito, and Frank Howard, so perhaps the voters have gotten in right all these years.

Hodges’ 1964 card is his first depicting him as a manager. In 1963, Hodges was traded from the Mets to the Senators for Jim Piersall. The purpose of the trade was to make him the player-manager in Washington, but he decided to retire from playing and focus on managing. He managed the Senators from 1963 to 1967, and they never did better than sixth place in the NL. Hodges became the manager of the Mets in 1967 and he led them to their improbable World Series title in 1969.

Hodges died in 1972 at the age of 47.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 05/19/2011 12:55 pm

    Please support the movement and “Like” the Gil Hodges To The Hall of Fame Facebook page – http://on.fb.me/j0RnzV

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