Womack: Cooperstown Chances: Is Gil Hodges a Hall of Famer?

From SABR member Graham Womack at The Sporting News on August 25, 2015, with mention of SABR members Jay Jaffe, Keith Olbermann, Adam Darowski, and Pete Palmer:

In his 2001 “Historical Abstract,” Bill James wrote of Gil Hodges: “A genuinely beloved player. How many players in each generation are genuinely beloved, all around the country? Three or four, I would say.”

More than 40 years after his death in 1972 of a heart attack at age 47, Hodges remains iconic. A first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers during the team’s “Boys of Summeryears, Hodges hit 370 home runs, 11th best all-time when he retired in 1963, according to Baseball-Reference.com. Hodges also managed the Mets to their first World Series championship in 1969 and is discussed among the best defensive first basemen in baseball history. As former player and broadcaster Joe Garagiola said of Hodges to Sporting News in 1983, “He was the best fielder I ever saw. It’s like Pee Wee Reese said, Hodges only wore a glove because the other infielders wore gloves. He could have played barehanded.”

By sabermetric standards, there are maybe 100-200 players who rate better than Hodges and aren’t in Cooperstown. Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated gives Hodges a JAWS rating of 39.6 with the average Hall of Fame first baseman at 54.2. Adam Darowski, who assesses Hall candidates at HallofStats.com, has Hodges with a Hall Rating of 76, short of his benchmark of 100 for Hall of Famers. Veteran statistician Pete Palmer meanwhile rates Hodges just outside the top 500 players all-time, saying in an email last week that Hodges was “a good player, but not great.”

Read the full article here: http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2015-08-25/gil-hodges-hall-of-fame-golden-era-committee-dodgers-mets

Originally published: August 25, 2015. Last Updated: August 25, 2015.