Former Saint Joseph’s College student and baseball star Gil Hodges has finally found a spot in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Hodges, a star with the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s, was selected to the Hall Sunday, Dec. 5 as a member of the Golden Days Era ballot, which also featured Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Maury Wills, Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Roger Maris, Danny Murtaugh and Billy Pierce.
An eight-time all-star and three-time Gold Glove Award winner, Hodges received 12 of a possible 16 votes for induction. Also elected Sunday were Kaat, Minoso and Oliva.
A Princeton, Indiana, native, Hodges spent two years (1941-42, 1942-43) at Saint Joseph’s where he competed in baseball and basketball. He played briefly for the Pumas’ football team as well.
While playing baseball at SJC, he caught the eye of Brooklyn Dodgers scout Gabriel Levi, who signed Hodges in 1943. He played one game at third base for the Dodgers before entering World War II weeks later.
Hodges, who is believed to be the only Puma baseball player to reach the major leagues, participated in SJC’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps as a student in anticipation of going into the service as a Marine. He served in combat as an anti-aircraft gunner and would receive a Bronze Star for heroism under fire.
In his return to the majors in 1947, the right-handed hitting Hodges — now playing first base — totaled 370 home runs, 295 doubles, 48 triples, 1,921 hits, 1,274 RBIs and 1,105 runs while hitting .273 in 17 seasons. He played 15 years with the Dodgers and two years with the expansion Mets.
He made seven straight all-star game appearances from 1949-55.
The Dodgers won National League peanuts in 1947, ’49, ’52, ’53 and ’56 with Hodges manning first base. Brooklyn won the World Series in 1955.
A former manager of the Washington Senators and New York Mets, Hodges died on April 2, 1972, during a round of golf. He was two days shy of his 48th birthday.
The baseball field at Saint Joe was later renamed Gil Hodges Field. The field currently sits unused after the college closed the campus to sports in 2017.
Hodges also has a field named in his honor at his hometown of Princeton, Indiana.
Hodges will be the 61st individual associated with the Dodgers as either a player, manager, coach, scout, executive or broadcaster to be inducted into the Hall. He will be inducted posthumously during the July 24, 2022 ceremony in Cooperstown.
Former Negro Leagues star Buck O’Neil and Bud Fowler, who is often acknowledged as the first Black professional baseball player, were elected to the Hall from the Early Baseball Era ballot.