NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was big news Sunday for longtime local baseball fans. Gil Hodges will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. It was music to the ears of the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Mets faithful.
Hodges getting the call was over a half century in the making, but it finally happened. CBS2’s Otis Livingston has more on Hodges’ legacy and what took so long for him to be elected.READ MORE: By The Numbers: Will The Hall Of Fame Voters Get It Right?
There’s an old saying for Brooklyn Dodger faithful — “Wait ’til next year.” Well, next year is officially this year, as their beloved Hodges has been elected to his rightful place, Cooperstown, and the beauty of it all is his 95-year-old widow, Joan, and their four children are alive to see this wonderful day.
It took 52 long years, but the Hall finally called Sunday night and the Hodges family couldn’t be happier.
“When I received the phone call and I heard ‘I am very happy to tell you’ … I was hysterical. I cried terrible because I honestly couldn’t believe it was really happening,” said Irene Hodges, Gil’s daughter.
The late Gil Hodges had appeared on various Hall of Fame ballots 34 times, receiving more than 3,000 votes, but coming up short every time. That is, until Sunday night, when he was voted in by the Golden Days Era panel.READ MORE: Gil Hodges Jr. On WFAN: Support Overkill Hurt Dad's Chances At Hall
If you’re not familiar with Hodges, there are many reasons was he was so special. He played 18 seasons for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Mets, hitting 370 home runs and making eight All-Star teams and winning two World Series titles, including Brooklyn’s only title in 1955.
After retirement, he became a manager and led the 1969 “Miracle” Mets to an improbable world championship.
“I’m telling you really and truly, we do not win without Gil Hodges as our manager. Because he was the glue that kept us together and forced us to be professionals on and off the field, and I think it’s well deserved that he’s getting the due he deserves and like you said maybe just another exclamation mark about 1969,” former Met Art Shamsky said.
Hodges’ accomplishments on the field are easy to measure, but he had an even bigger impact as a person. As a Brooklyn Dodger teammate, he was a great supporter of Jackie Robinson when Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier.
Hodges missed part of his career because he fought in World War II, earning a Bronze Star as a Marine in the Battle of Okinawa.MORE NEWS: Still Out: Gil Hodges Falls Short In Baseball Hall Of Fame Vote
“The Hall of Fame is better for Gil Hodges to be in the Hall of Fame. He meant so much to New York,” former Miracle Met Ed Kranepool said.