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Jimmy Palermo, during a historic 7-day span in May, 1939, saw the meteoric rise of Williams and tragic decline of Gehrig.


An exclusive WIWAG ongoing feature.

The field seemed vast to a 7-year old who had looked forward to this day for two months.

The year marks the 60th anniversary of the first major league tryout for black players.


Bud Fowler is the first know black players on an integrated team.

of the '50s

Qualify as Grade A10.

First sports bar featured 12-inch Farnsworth TV.


Two unsuspecting vintage baseball fans rediscover a "National Treasure."
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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.


ALL-STAR: 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955 and 1957

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 his putouts.

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.

GIL HODGES' quick footwork provoked the allegation that he rarely had his foot on the bag for his putouts.

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.

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 Robb.