Saturday, September 28, 2013

Mets Hall Of Fame: No. 14- Gil Hodges (and his place in the Baseball Hall Of Fame)



In 1968 the Mets were turning the corner. To where?
Who knew?
Of all the things that happened in '68 one thing stood out.
The New York Mets had a new manager.
Gil Hodges had come home again.















On November 27, 1967 Bill Denehy (the other guy on Tom Seavers real 1967 Topps rookie card) was traded to the Washington Senators for their manager of over four years,
Gil Hodges.








Hodges had been an original 1962 Met and hit the very first home run in franchise history. He was acquired through the expansion draft in 1962. Even though his Met playing days were riddled with injuries and slowed by bum knees, Hodges played on in New York and helped in the launch of the new N.L. team just by being there.

He only played in 54 games in '62 and smacked 9 home runs. A little over a week into the 1963 season, when the Mets (in effect) traded Gil to the Washington Senators on May 22, 1963 for Jimmy Piersall, he retired from playing to focus more on managing. I'll get back to his managing career in part two of this post.

Playing wise he was all done by then and he knew it. But consider this: Hodges was in tenth place on the all-time home run list with 370, second (behind Jimmy Foxx) in home runs in the history of the game by a right handed hitter at that time. First in the National League in homers by a right hander.
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In this rare instance I will go back in time to before the Mets existed with the 1955 Fantazy Gil Hodges.




                      
                       And let me run that by you again.

When Gil left the game to manage he was in 10th place on the all-time home run list, 2nd in home runs by a right handed hitter in the history of the game!

In 1960 he broke Ralph Kiner's NL record for right-handed hitters of 351 career home runs. 
He was 1st in the N.L. in home runs by a right handed hitter when he retired!

How could he not be in the Hall Of Fame! Just for that fact alone.
I'll also add that for seven seasons in a row he drove in at least 100 runs. He hit 14 grand slams and had 1,274 RBI. He played on seven World Series teams. His 16-year career was delayed by two years of World War II combat as a Marine.

I did not know that when he retired he was in that position. That's very impressive. Things have changed drastically since then on that all time home run list. Gil is now 73rd. Time moves on. New generations of players move up the list. People forget.

Don't let them forget where Hodges was when he stopped playing. He was 10th in all time home runs in 1963. 2nd in home runs by a right hander in MLB history. 1st in N.L. history. I believe this should mean something.

I'll repeat this a hundred times to drive it home. It's significant. Because the way baseball began rolling on through time, and has rolled on into the 21st century, such records have been broken at an amazing pace exponentially.




When past players are reviewed for Hall Of Fame consideration they should always take into account, by large part, where the player was in the game at the time he played.






Come on! Put Gil Hodges where he belongs, in the Baseball Hall Of Fame!

I found this youtube video on Bill Hall's
Gil Hodges Belongs In the Baseball Hall of Fame facebook page.
It's a Vitalis commercial from 1969.
It is priceless and a classic and I must add it to this post.
I'm always surprised when I hear Gil's voice. I guess as a kid I didn't hear him talk much.


Image above is from The Left Field Pavilion (thelfp.com)

Please read this great article, in which Gil Hodges Jr. says:
"To me, in all honesty, it's really beyond irrelevant. Everybody treats him like he is in the Hall."
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Please follow the link above to add your name. 
You have to jump through a hoop- an email response to verify, but it's worth it. You are not required to donate at the end, but you can if you wish. 
Please help get Gil Hodges in the Hall Of Fame. 
This needs a push from us Mets fans to gain momentum.



If you're a little leery please check out this facebook page 
by Ronald G. Liebman and Bill Hall, 
who have mounted this drive to get Gil in. This is a very noble effort and they need our help.

Gil Hodges Belongs In the Baseball Hall of Fame facebook page


This post was first published  Oct 7, 2013. 
I wish I had part two of my Gil series ready to promote the petition, but it has not yet been started. I'll add this link to that too. Hey, maybe part two will be about how us Mets fans got Gil into the Hall! 

I will keep this post at the top until I release the '73 NLCS game 2 post (scheduled for today but bumped until the weekend). At that time this will be returned to the 1960's section of the project.

Please sign.
Get Gil in the Hall!!!
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This post was first published  Oct 7, 2013. It has been reformatted. 4 cards below have updated improvements. The 2 cards above have appeared elsewhere in this blog.



Thursday, September 26, 2013

1966 Mets Leaders / 1967 Mets Fantazy Cards

_______________The 1966 Mets Team Leaders______________

The picture of Ron Hunt is from Steve's Baseball Photography. The background has been changed to protect his innocence. Ha. I kid. I have him appear at Jarry Park in Montreal. My go-to background for on the road Mets is usually the great Wrigley Field. Thought I'd switch it up.

Ed, again? Bravo Mr. Kranepool! I had no idea you led the team in homers twice.

What can I say about the other Ed? Hmmm.
Mr. Bressoud- in 1966 you were #1 on my scorecard.

The ERAs on these guys were not horrible, especially compared to current day pitcher stats. But these were different times.

Sandy Koufax led the majors with a 1.73 ERA.

Al Jackson, who was traded from the Mets to the Cardinals (he would return to the Mets in '68), had an ERA of 2.51. He still lost a lot of games, going 13-15.

26 MLB pitchers had a better ERA than Dennis Ribant's 3.20. But to Met fans, 3.20 was all-star material. It was respectable. Compared to Met pitchers 1962 through 1965 a 3.20 ERA was buzzworthy.

All this would change next season. A young man from Fresno California would lead the Mets to new pitching heights and would be a real bonafide all-star, closing the 1967 ASG.

1967 Fantazy Met cards- Tommy Davis to Tom Seaver!

The 1967 Topps set is great in so many ways. If the '66 set was generic looking, like a knock off, the '67 set made up for it in simple coolness. So many great players. Team name nice and big and bright. The real estate afforded the excellent photography was never so large, and I loved this. The choice of hot pink for the Mets though, it looks cool and all but I wish they used a different color.
*^#@*~!>>>>>>>My wish is my command.



____1967 Fantazy Shaun Fitzmaurice X2____

Fitzmaurice gets a card because I found some nice pictures of him. Gets a second card because I needed a guinea pig for the orange METS. He played 9 games for the Mets, managed two hits. A card for each hit. I imagine the clubhouse laundry guy was very happy Shaun didn't spill any coffee on the uniform.

1967 Fantasy Wes Westrum
1967 Fantasy Tommy Davis















______Topps recycled Tommy Davis in 1961 and '69______

Tommie Davis was a great hitter who had an interesting career. In 1962 he batted .346 for the L.A.Dodgers and won the N.L. batting crown. He smacked 27 home runs & drove in 120. He finished third in the MVP balloting, behind teammate Maury Wills (who won) & Willie Mays.

In 1963 he won his second batting title in a row. To date, Davis' back-to-back batting titles are the only two in the Dodgers' Los Angeles history. On May 1, 1965, Davis broke and dislocated his ankle on a slide and was out for the rest of the season. For the 1966 season he batted .313 in limited plate appearances.





After the 1966 season, Davis(along with Derrell Griffith)was traded to the Mets for Ron Hunt and Jim Hickman. He did good, batting .302 with 16 HR and 73 RBIs.


Still, the Mets decided to trade him in 1967, and it ended up being a crucial trade in Met history.

He went to the Chicago White Sox in a six-player deal. Two of the players the Mets got were Tommie Agee and Al Weis. More seeds, more pieces to the puzzle that would make the 1969 miracle Mets. They join Cleon and Buddy :)















Topps called Ed & Rocky Mets Maulers. I never liked that for some reason. Not too fond of Mashers either. I was going to go with Meticulous Mets but I have no idea if these guys were finicky. And there's one of the Millers at Butterball Field, St. Petersburg Florida.


_____________Mets 1966 Team Leaders__________


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On an earlier post I said that the ultimate Met rookie card would be a Seaver/Ryan. That's true, but from a card collectors standpoint. From a real Met fans perspective a Koosman/Seaver rookie card would have been the ultimate. Our one two punch that took us to the series twice. If I actually did fantasize about these things I'd conjure up a Koosman/Seaver over a Seaver/Ryan anyday.





When I was making the mfc Koosman/Seaver rookie I first added the photo of Tom and it looked like this before I shrunk it down.







But looking at it like this, I thought, ya know, this is really how the card should look. No disrespect to Jerry, cause I loved him and in those days I was more a fan of his than I was of Seaver. When I came along to the Mets Seaver was their ace and I kinda took him for granted. But the truth is that's how big George Thomas Seaver was to the New York Mets in 1967.


          Updated 12-19-13Z
~Last Updated 12-17-14z