THIS MODEL S2 Louisville Slugger with
Hodges' last name block stamped on the barrel was his preferred weapon
for the 1954 season.
DODGER FIRST BASEMAN
Gil Hodges used this bat in a July 1954 series at Busch Stadium against the Cardinals. He rapped a three
run homer in a losing cause in the
first game of the series and had the game winning RBI in a 2-1
duel in the third game of the series.
IN 1954, the eight-time National League all-star
had his most productive season, playing in all 154 games and hitting
for a career high .304. Big Gil's home run and RBI totals of 42
and 130 were second only to the Reds' Ted
Kluszewski's Major League-leading 49 and 141 in 1954. After
an outstanding career as a player, Hodges managed Washington from
1963 - 1967. In 1969 he guided the "Amazin'" Mets to the
1969 pennant with a 3-game sweep of the Braves in the NLCS and a
4-1 World Series victory over the heavily favored Orioles.
Hodges drove in more than 100 runs seven consecutive years
Three-time Gold Glove winner played first base gracefully on seven pennant-winning Dodger teams
GIL HODGES was 6-foot-2" of sinew, whose hands were so large
they couldn't find a catcher's mitt to fit them early on when the
Dodgers tapped him to be a catching prospect.
Gil Hodges began his Major League career on October
3, 1943, with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Hodges played for 18 seasons for the
Dodgers and Mets and ended his big
league playing career in 1963.
Hodges was 19 when he played third base for one game with the Dodgers
in late 1943. He struck out twice and walked, then joined the Marines.
He returned in 1947 as a catcher, but with the emergence of Roy
Campanella as the regular Dodger backstop, he was moved to first
base to get his potent bat in the "Bums'" line-up.
Manager Leo Durocher said, "With my catching set, I put a first baseman's glove on our other rookie catcher, Gil Hodges, and told him to have some fun. Three days later, I looked up and, wow, I was looking at the best first baseman I'd seen since Dolf Camilli."
Hodges was the Dodgers' Lou
Gehrig - big, strong, and gentle. The three-time Gold Glove
winner played first base gracefully. His hands were so large that
teammates joked he didn't even need a glove. His quick footwork
provoked the allegation that he rarely had his foot on the bag for
Hodges drove in more than 100 runs seven consecutive years
1949 through 1955 and hit 22 or more home runs 11 seasons
in a row, 1949 through 1959. On August 31, 1950 against the Braves,
Hodges hit four homers. His 40 home runs in 1951 were second only
to Ralph Kiner's 42, and he
reached career highs in 1954, hitting .304 with 42 home runs and
130 RBIs (second to Ted Kluszewski's
49 and 141).
He was with the Dodgers when they moved to Los Angeles in 1958 and spent two seasons with the expansion New York Mets in 1962 and early in 1963. Ending his playing career with the Mets, Hodges hit the first homer in their history, on April 11, 1962 at St. Louis.
In 18 seasons as a player, Hodges had a .273 average on 1,921 hits, including 295 doubles, 48 triples and 370 home runs. He scored 1,105 runs, had 1,274 RBI and led National League first basemen in fielding percentage three times. He was an eight-time National League all-star. As a manager, he had a 660-753 record.
GIL HODGES' quick footwork provoked the allegation that he rarely had his foot on the bag for his putouts.
A member of seven pennant-winning teams (six
in Brooklyn and one in Los Angeles), in World Series play he batted
.364 in 1953, .292 with 5 RBI in 1955 when Brooklyn won its only
world championship, .304 with 8 RBI in 1956, and .391 with a triple
and a home run in 1959 when Los Angeles won its first world title.
Though he began 1963 with the Mets, he was sent to Washington for
Jimmy Piersall, and took over as manager of the struggling Washington
Senators. Hodges managed Washington through 1967, then took over
the Mets. He did an outstanding job of platooning in guiding the
"Amazin'" Mets to a 1969 pennant and World Series victory.
Hodges died of a heart attack during spring training in 1972.
GIL HODGES: Did you know...
...Stories abound of Hodges' strength. As a
manager, his cool, green-eyed look made players flinch and umpires
keep their masks on during a discussion. The Dodgers had a 6-foot-6
rookie first baseman in 1951 by the name of Dee Fondy, who one day
was hassling Pee Wee Reese
in spring training. Well, quiet man Gil came over and picked up
Fondy by the nape of the shirt collar and seat of his pants and
deposited him 10 feet away! While Gil didn't have the bulging biceps
of "Big Klu,"
he had arms like 'steel sinew' that held those massive paws.
...Hodges, on Aug. 31, 1950, became only the
second man in the 20th century to hit four homers (off four different
pitchers) in a nine-inning game. Lou
Gehrig was the first in 1932.
...Hodges, Snider and Campanella
made up one of baseball's most potent trios. They played together
for nine years and combined to drive in 2,760 runs from '49 through
'57, to average over 300 + RBIs per year. Based on his numbers,
his presence and his leadership Hodges, without question, belongs
in the Hall of Fame.
...Hodges attended St. Joseph's College in Rennseleer, Ind.
From 1947 to 1961, a span of 15 seasons, Duke
Snider and Gil Hodges combined for 745 home runs, the fourth
highest mark in baseball history by teammates.
...Hodges was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent before the 1943 season.
...Hodges was drafted by the New York Mets in Oct. 1961 from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1961 expansion draft.
...Hodges was traded by the New York Mets in May 1963 to the Washington Senators for Jim Piersall.
...Manager Hodges was traded by the Washington Senators in Nov.
1967 to the New York Mets for Bill Denehy and $100,000 cash
...Hodges was born April 4, 1924 in Princeton, Indiana. He died April 2, 1972 in West Palm Beach, Florida at age 47.
IN 18 SEASONS as a player, Hodges had a .273 average on 1,921 hits, including 295 doubles, 48 triples and 370 home runs.
HODGES PLAYED FOR the Brooklyn Dodgers, Los
Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets
during his playing career. He hit the first homer in Mets history on April
11, 1962 at St. Louis.
BROOKLYN MANAGER Leo Durocher put a first
baseman's glove on Hodges and and told
him "to have some fun."
HODGES IS CONGRATULATED as he crosses home plate
after hitting his 20th home run of the 1951 season with Duke
Snider on base to give Brooklyn a 2 to 1 victory. Carl
Furillo (6) and Snider (4) hold out their hands to greet him.
At left is Cardinal catcher Joe Garagiola. The umpire is Scotty