Upon re-watching Field of Dreams for the umpteenth time, I noticed something notable (other than how I am still able to cry like a baby at the end). During the scene where Kevin Costner’s character Ray witnesses the appearance of more ghost players, he lists some of the players who have appeared. Among them are Mel Ott, Carl Hubbell, and Gil Hodges. All bonafide Hall of Famers … or are they?
Hodges, although mentioned along with these two other giants of baseball, has not been selected for immortality.
It has been a mini-endeavor of mine to have Hodges selected for enshrinement (I have begun to question how much clout I have with the Golden Era Selection Committee). During his time Hodges was an eight-time All-Star at first base. He was an excellent fielder — Joe Garagiola, former player and broadcaster, said about Hodges, “He was the best fielder I ever saw.” One might call that a ringing endorsement. Aside from Garagiola’s subjective viewpoint, Hodges won the first three Gold Glove awards awarded to National League first basemen.
Hodges gets deducted points for his hitting, which was respectable but not spectacular with 370 home runs and a .273 batting average. He looks much better from an on-base-percentage perspective with a .359 lifetime mark. Something that is not mentioned too frequently is leading the 1969 Mets to an extremely improbable championship as manager. Winning a World Series with the Miracle Mets is deserving of the Hall of Fame in and of itself.
The Golden Era Committee, a 16-person committee that considers people from 1947-1972, will meet again in 2017. A player needs 12 votes for selection; in their last meeting in 2014, Hodges received less than three. We can only hope that the committee sees what both Ray Kinsella and I have been seeing this whole time.