Gil Hodges’ Big Disappearing Moment

Gil Hodges, 1st Base 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers Gil's 0 for 21 in the '52 World Series helped him disappear on the dark side of the moon once he became eligible for HOF consideration.

Gil Hodges, 1st Base
1952 Brooklyn Dodgers
Gil’s 0 for 21 in the ’52 World Series helped him disappear on the dark side of the moon once he became eligible for HOF consideration.

 

Sometimes “one special moment” can be the memory of enough voting BBWA writers that gets a player with a good career record into the Baseball Hal of Fame. See Bill Mazeroski for the best example that comes to mind. The guy was an incredible good defensive figure for the Pittsburgh Pirates at second base, but nothing about his everyday performance all the way round, including his hitting, will ever quell the argument that his walk-off HR against the New York Yankees in Game Seven of the 1960 World Series was anything less than the emotionally charged “one special moment” that really opened the door to the great Hall for the fiery team player with good, but not great career numbers for Pittsburgh.

On the other side of the same coin, it may also be argued until the crack of doom that first baseman Gil Hodges should also have been elected to the HOF on the basis of his good, but not great bat work with the Brooklyn Dodgers during their “Boys of Summer” era. The real reason he’s never made it may be the fact that his “special moment” may have been his 0 for 21 (.000 BA) batting performance in Brooklyn’s folding 7-game loss to the New York Yankees in the 1952 World Series. Hodges’ missing bat may have been the difference that allowed the Dodgers to close with two losses at Ebbets Field in a 4-3 Series squeeze by the Yankees. The swelling “0-fer” of his hitting failure at the critical moment for his club in 1952, a failure that left him as the all time worst hitter in play-off baseball history – simply made him, and still makes him, an easy to forget at Hall of Fame voting time, first by the writers –  and now by the veterans’ committee.

Had Gil Hodges gone 1 for 21 – and had that 1 hit have been a walk-off 3-run homer that won the World Series for the Dodgers in Game 7 at Ebbets Field in 1952, is there anyone out there who seriously thinks that Gil Hodges would not have been accorded the same heroic honor wreath that fell upon Mazeroski’s head only eight years later?

Bobby Thomson of the 1951 “Shot Heard Round the World” HR did not have the career record to have earned the Hall of Fame, but one could argue that Hodges did. It just wasn’t meant to be. Take the dark side of the moon route and few ever think of you again.

Here’s a tabular chart of Gil Hodges’ descent into the land of the forgotten as an un-heroic hitter in the 1952 World Series:

GIL HODGES IN THE 1952 WORLD SERIES

WS ’52 Game AB R H RBI W K BA
1 – BRK W, 4-2 3 0 0 0 0 1 .000
2 – NYY W, 7-1 3 0 0 0 1 1 .000
3 – BRK W, 5-3 3 0 0 0 1 0 .000
4 – NYY W, 2-0 2 0 0 0 1 0 .000
5 – BRK, W,, 6-5 3 1 0 0 2 1 .000
6 – NYY W, 3-2 3 0 0 0 0 3 .000
7 – NYY W, 4-2 4 0 0 1 0 0 .000
TOTALS 21 1 0 1 5 6 .000

To examine the 1952 Worls Series box scores yourself, please go to BaseballReference.Com at:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/BRO/BRO195210070.shtml

In General

My thoughts on Hodges and Mazeroski are ancient, but they were directly kicked again into high gear by a wonderful current article I found this morning at BaseBallAces.Net, a site good for both the evocative and the provocative touches on baseball history. I’ve never met John B. Holway or Gabriel Schechter, the site’s creators, but I feel as though I have known them for a lifetime for over only a very short period of readership time. You may enjoy checking out the column of reference here, “October Mendozans.” It lists the 300 plus worst playoff hitting by Hall of Famers and other high level baseball stars.

http://baseballaces.net/

Have fun!

____________________

Bowman-52-Gil-Hodges

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3 Responses to “Gil Hodges’ Big Disappearing Moment”

  1. Mark W Says:

    On point!

  2. Wayne Says:

    The “October Mendozans” link reaffirms my position about Bagwell and Biggio. I’ll give Biggio some due over the years even though he leaned into pitches to get hit. But Bagwell never seemed to hit in the clutch and was the butt of jokes by the Braves. I bet 90% of his homers were in games that were out reach by either team and didn’t affect a game’s outcome. I’ll never forget how the Killer B’s let us down in 1998 with Randy Johnson. Choke City personified. I still say Roger should be in the HOF but not Bagwell. Ever. I’m sure this post will bring out the “homers” but so be it. When it came to clutch, give me Billy Doran any day.

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