Cyclones celebrate Hodges’ HOF induction
On July 17, a week before Gil Hodges’ long-awaited induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Cyclones honored his family and his legacy.
Cyclones radio broadcaster Keith Raad emceed the event and spoke about the impact Hodges had as a player and as a manager.
“Hodges was one of the most beloved athletes in New York City history,” Raad said. “[He] was an adopted son of Brooklyn who changed the face of baseball in both Brooklyn and Queens. To say that this induction was a long time in coming is an understatement.”
Over Hodges’ 18-year playing career – 16 with the Dodgers and two with the Mets – the Indiana native was an eight-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner at first base.
Raad told of how teammate Pee Wee Reese’s famous quote gave everyone a chuckle about the sure-handed Hodges: “His hands are so big and strong that the only reason that he doesn’t wear a glove on the field is because it was against the rules.”
In his last two years as a player, Hodges returned to New York to play for the Mets until his retirement in 1963. He then managed the Washington Senators for five years before returning to manage the Mets in 1968. The ’68 team finished in ninth place with a 73-89 record, but the ’69 team went 100-62 and won the World Series with most of the same players.
Hodges died of a heart attack in spring training of 1972. He was 47.
Hodges’ widow Joan couldn’t attend the event at Maimonides Park, but Raad reminded the fans: “Since his death, [she] has been a champion for Gil. She did a lot to ensure that Gil’s accomplishments were not forgotten so he could finally go to the Hall of Fame.”
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