The wait ends for Gil Hodges as Baseball Hall of Fame adds 6 new members


The late Gil Hodges, whose name first appeared on a Hall of Fame ballot in 1969, finally received an honor that many historians consider long overdue.

Hodges was one of six men elected to the Hall class of 2022, according to an announcement by Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch on the MLB network on Sunday night.

The longtime Brooklyn Dodgers star first baseman was one of four former players chosen by the Golden Days committee, along with pitcher Jim Kaat and outfielder Tony Oliva and Minnie Miñoso.

Buck O’Neil and Bud Fowler were also elected on Sunday, in a separate vote by the Early Days Era committee, who played in various African American leagues when Blacks were excluded from Major League Baseball.

To win the election, candidates needed at least 12 votes from the 16 member committees, which is the 75 percent required in the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) annual election.

Hodges had been on a ballot more times (34) and received more votes than any unregistered player at Cooperstown. A decorated World War II veteran, he joined the Dodgers to stay at the start of the 1947 season and was instrumental in Jackie Robinson’s adjustment as he entered Major League Baseball.

An 18-time all-star player who won three Gold Gloves, Hodges has clocked 370 home runs and five more in the World Series. He had a lifetime batting average of .273.

After retiring as a player, he was successful in the majors for seven seasons, winning a surprise world championship with the 1969 Miracle Mets.

Of Hodges, longtime Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully wrote in an essay for “I get asked often who was the best baseball player I watched in my 67 years behind the microphone. . It is really impossible to distinguish a single player. But at an even higher level off the pitch in the way they lived and led their lives, my answer is simple – Gil Hodges. ”

Like Hodges, Kaat has had a long wait despite solid numbers compiled over a long career. A strong left-handed starter, he has won 283 games, 16 gold gloves and a World Series ring. In addition to a strong 3.45 earned points average, he had three 20-game seasons, finishing with more wins than anyone outside of Cooperstown, but was not embroiled in the improving substance controversy. performances.

Last man standing for the original Washington Senators, who moved to Minnesota after the 1960 season, Kaat spent most of his career with the Twins but also played for the Phillies, Cardinals, White Sox and Yankees. He is Minnesota’s career leader in wins with 190.

Oliva, a Cuban native who spent his entire career in Minnesota, was Kaat’s teammate when he won the American League batting crowns in his first two seasons, 1964 and 1965. Associated with Harmon Killebrew, they led the Twins to a surprise pennant in 1965 and took the team in the last weekend of a four-team race a year later.

Oliva has led the league in hitting five times en route to a .304 lifetime average. He made 220 homers.

Miñoso, the first black Cuban star in the majors, has often been dubbed the Latino Jackie Robinson. After spending three seasons in the Negro Leagues playing third base for the New York Cubans, he reached the Cleveland Indians in 1949 and remained in the majors until 1964.

Playing primarily with the Chicago White Sox, he was so popular with fans that owner Bill Veeck brought him back for two cameo appearances that saw him perform in five different decades (joining Nolan Ryan).

A fleet outfielder, Minoso has led the American League in treble three times and struck once. He finished with a career batting average of 0.299.

Like Minoso, O’Neil also made a symbolic appearance in old age; he was 94 when he hit in a minor league game. By this time, he had been a first baseman and star manager in the black leagues, the first black coach in the major leagues, and a Hall of Fame scout who signed Ernie Banks and Lou Brock.

A longtime goodwill ambassador for the game, O’Neil was instrumental in the design and construction of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.

This museum already has a place for Fowler, who was born in 1858 and played for various African-American teams from 1878 to 1895, long before the official establishment of the Black Leagues. Mostly a second baseman, he also pitched and played in third.

The six new Hall of Fame members will be inducted on July 24, 2022 with anyone selected in the Baseball Writers Association’s vote, which will be announced at the end of next month.

The winners of the BBWAA Career Excellence Awards, which will be announced Monday, and the Ford C. Frick Award for Excellence in Broadcasting, which will be revealed a day later, will also be honored during the upcoming Induction Weekend.


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