A favorite memory Steve Garvey enjoys sharing with fans when making appearances on behalf of the Los Angeles Dodgers is from the time he was Brooklyn’s batboy and got to interact with the likes of Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges and other franchise icons as a young child.
Garvey’s father was a Greyhound bus driver who drove the team for several years during Spring Training. Of course, Garvey went on to be selected by the Dodgers in the first round of the 1966 MLB Draft.
His career in L.A. didn’t overlap with Hodges, but the newly-minted Hall of Fame inductee was a mentor.
Like countless others have expressed, Garvey was relieved and joyed by Hodges no longer needing to wait for a posthumous induction into Cooperstown, per Bill Ladson of MLB.com:
“It was a warm feeling of ‘finally,’” Garvey said via telephone. “It has been a long journey for the people who remember Gil. All of a sudden, the news popped up on my phone. I was just thrilled for the family. Gil is looking down from heaven with [Roy] Campanella and the guys, and they are getting ready for Spring Training.”
Hodges spent all but two of his 18 Major League seasons with the Dodgers franchise, batting .274/.360/.488 with 1,884 hits, 361 home runs, 1,254 RBI and 1,088 runs scored. He earned eight All-Star selections, three Gold Glove Awards and helped the organization win two World Series titles (1955, 1959).
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.
With Hodges now in the Hall of Fame, it is expected the Dodgers will retire his No. 14. That would make Kiké Hernandez the last player in franchise history to wear it, doing so in 2020.
“When you mention all-time greats in Dodger history, Gil Hodges is among the finest to ever don Dodger Blue,” team president and CEO Stan 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.”
Garvey hopeful for call
While the Golden Days Era committee vote produced enshrinement for Hodges, Garvey wasn’t as fortunate last year for Hall of Fame consideration via the Modern Era Committee.
He remains hopeful of being immortalized at some point.
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