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This year is the 50th anniversary of the New York Mets improbable run to World Series victory. William McGurn of the Wall Street Journal uses the occasion to argue that Gil Hodges, who managed the Mets to glory, should be in the Hall of Fame. He calls Hodges’s absence from the HOF “baseball’s greatest continuing injustice.”
That’s quite an overstatement. Hodges’s managerial career is not Hall of Fame caliber. Yes, his 1969 Mets defied the odds and he managed them brilliantly. However, his overall record as a manager is 658-791. Outside of 1969, when he won 100 games, Hodges’ teams never won even 90. In fact, his best mark was 83-79, achieved in 1970 and 1971.
Hodges - Record - Years - Baseball - Washington
Now, Hodges’s record is misleading, burdened by years of losing baseball with the hopeless Washington Senators. I witnessed those years and know that Hodges did not manage poorly. To the contrary, he did a good job of squeezing 70 plus wins a year out of them. The Senators improved every year under Hodges, going from 62 wins in 1964 to 76 wins in 1967, his last season in D.C.
New York’s improvement under Hodges was more dramatic — 71 wins in 1968 and 100 in 1969. Amazing.
Wins - Seasons - Hodges - Heart - Attack
As noted, however, they then slid down to 83 wins the next two seasons. These were his last two. Hodges died of a heart attack in 1972 during Spring Training.
Hodges, in sum, was an excellent manager, but not a Hall of Fame manager. As a manager, he resembles Roger Maris as a player — one magical season and an otherwise very good career. Maris is not in the Hall of Fame, and should not be.
Place - Hodges - Record - Lou - Piniella
Place Hodges’s managerial record alongside that of Lou Piniella, who is not in the HOF. It pales by comparison. And like Hodges, Piniella pulled off a monumental...
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