Gil Hodges’ election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Golden Days Era Committee was met with excitement from several Los Angeles Dodgers icons. Retired broadcaster Vin Scully was delighted by the news and offered his congratulations on Twitter.
Former Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey also was relieved and joyed that Hodges no longer needs to wait for a posthumous induction into Cooperstown.
Although their playing careers didn’t overlap, Garvey enjoyed a friendship with Hodges as a child. Garvey served as the batboy for Brooklyn during Spring Training and recalled the time he got to play catch with Hodges in 1956.
The moment had a lasting impact on Garvey, who is grateful to have been around so many of his idols, per Bill Ladson of MLB.com:
“Gil became a role model. I watched him, watched his actions, how he treated people and what he was like as an athlete. I grew up with my idols until I was 14,” Garvey said. “I grew up with the Boys of Summer, even when they made the transition from Brooklyn to L.A. To be around Gil and to be around Jackie Robinson [in 1956, his last year in the big leagues], I was very fortunate to see them up close in uniform.”
In addition to Hodges, Garvey was fortunate enough to share the same dugout with then-Dodgers manager Walter Alston, and fellow Hall of Famers Roy Campanella, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and Dick Williams.
Hodges’ playing career came to an end six seasons prior to Garvey making his MLB debut on Sept. 1, 1969. Coincidentally, it was against the New York Mets, who were being managed by Hodges and won the World Series that year.
Kasten: Dodgers will honor Hodges during 2022 season
With Hodges now bound for Cooperstown, Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten strongly hinted the organization will retire his No. 14 next season.
“When you mention all-time greats in Dodger history, Gil Hodges is among the finest to ever don Dodger Blue,” Kasten said in a statement. “We are thrilled that he will finally take his place in Cooperstown alongside the games greats and look forward to honoring him next year.”
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