Gil Hodges’ family cherish long-awaited Hall selection | Radio WGN 720

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NEW YORK (AP) — After a 50-year wait, Gil Hodges’ family is as relieved to see the patriarch selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame as they are grateful for the opportunity he is providing parents who he never met to understand the impact he made on baseball in New York.

“It’s more meaningful that the whole family is here – kids, spouses, grandkids, nieces, nephews,” Gil Hodges Jr. said Saturday morning, shortly before he and his sister Cynthia threw the first pitches of ceremony with their sister Irene’s grandchildren, Louis and Logan, before the Mets’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“They see the reflection of how people talk about him. People talk about him like they had dinner with him a month ago, which is just amazing. The impact that someone who has not reached the age of 48 could have, 50 years after his death, for me, it gives you an idea of ​​the kind of person he was.

Hodges was finally elected to the Hall of Fame in December by a special committee, ending a half-century wait that included several close calls.

While Hodges hit 370 home runs and made eight All-Star teams for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers and Mets, he is best known for leading the Mets – who had never lost less than 95 games in their six first seasons of existence – to a World Series title in only his second year as manager in 1969.

Hodges died of a heart attack on April 2, 1972, two days before his 48th birthday.

“When you hear the words Gil Hodges, you just think class,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “You walked into a room – he could order a room. You knew who was the head of the room, and he was, without saying a word.

“He’s one of the great pillars of Mets history.”

Hodges’ widow Joan, 95, still lives in Brooklyn and watched with the couple’s children as Gil came close to being inducted several times over the years. He received as many as 63% of the vote on the writers’ ballot – 75% is needed to win the election – before his 15 years of eligibility ran out in 1983.

In 1993, Hodges missed election via the 16-member Veterans Affairs Committee when former teammate Roy Campanella’s vote was thrown out because a wheelchair-bound Campanella failed to attend the meeting. This dropped Hodges’ total to 11, one shy of the 12 required to win the induction.

With their mother’s advanced age and the Golden Days era not expected to reunite again until late 2026, the Hodges family admitted they felt a certain sense of urgency ahead of the December reunion of the committee members – which is why Irene was overwhelmed with emotion when she received the call from Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch informing her of the news that she, her siblings and their mother had waited so long to hear.

“I’m like, ‘No way, really, now?'” Irene Hodges said. “Of course, we all thought he deserved it many years ago. But that’s irrelevant at this point. The only thing that matters is that he’s finally in the Hall of Fame, where he belongs – for us, to some extent, but especially for my father.

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