Sports

In honor of Gil Hodges, the Dodgers Removes His Anti-Mets Number

LOS ANGELES – The connective tissue spreads throughout the area and back, building Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Queens. For years, through all the arenas and ugly hops and yellow leaves, the contents of this baseball bat remain intact.

Most of the characters go back and forth and some come out, and then they repeat. But the strongest and most consistent connection between the Dodgers and Mets remains Gil Hodges, the late, Hall of Famer newly elected No. 14 was fired by the Dodgers at the ceremony here Saturday night.

The Mets retired from the same Hodges in 1973.

“He really was – I was going to say thread, but he wasn’t a thread, he was a metal rope,” Vin Scully, a well-known Dodgers publisher, said Thursday in a phone call.

The Mets Franchise and Dodger Stadium venues both came to life in April 1962, with the first starting 10 days west this weekend with four games at Chavez Ravine. It is a star-studded game in the top two teams in the National League, but the clubs have put the tournament in short order to honor Hodges, the player who was the most important player on both sides.

Scully, 94, was a Brooklyn Dodgers reporter in April 1950 when he first met Hodges. No one, at the time, could have dreamed that just seven years later, Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley, along with New York Giants teammate Horace Stoneham, would carry their teams and bring Major League Baseball to California.

With a shocking turn of events, the title of the Brooklyn Dodger World Series in 1955 cooled. Hearts break, tears come out, but when Ebbets Field encounters a broken ball, the Mets soon emerge. Decades later, the bricks and corners of Citi Field could revive the spirit of old football at Sullivan Place. The combination of Dodgers and Mets pollen will be one of the baseball games.

Jane Forbes Clark, chair of the Hall of Fame committee, and Josh Rawitch, their president, phoned the Hodges family home in Brooklyn in December to talk about Gil’s inclusion, it was his daughter Irene who picked up and put the phone next. to his mother. Joan Hodges, 96, can’t copy these days, but she just kept calling. “Oh, Gil? My Gil?” Irene remembered her mother.

Then the iron cord was pulled again. At her home in Los Angeles, Scully sang appreciatively. He was told this beforehand.

“It gave me a few minutes for the big humzahs to have time to spend with family,” Scully said. “I was very grateful.”

Appropriately, that invitation was extended to an old apartment on the fancy Brooklyn Bedford Avenue. When the Hodges family suffered the trauma of Gil’s move to Los Angeles, and after playing four seasons, ranging in age 34-37, with destructive skills in Southern California, the Mets brought him back to New York in a bid to expand.

As a result the Hodges family bought a house near where Ebbets Field once stood. That’s where the couple lived Gil played the Mets ’expansion, where he oversaw the Amazin until the 1969 World Series title (with former Brooklyn Dodgers Joe Pignatano and Rube Walker on his assistants), and that’s where Joan and Irene live today. .

“It’s amazing, isn’t it?” said Bobby Valentine, who oversaw the Mets in the 2000 Subway World Series against the Yankees. “That Joanie never left, shopping in the same restaurants, walking the same streets, going to the same Mass all those years? It’s very interesting. ”

As Irene put it: “It’s like being part of your youth to be with you.”

That spirit enters many ways long after Gil’s death of a heart attack in 1972 at the age of 47. Books have been written about Dodgers’ favorite bands – everything from Roger Kahn’s “The Boys of Summer” to Thomas Oliphant’s Praying for Gil Hodges ”. ”The latter’s name was inspired by an article that captured Hodges’ popularity. With Hodges caught in the act of a strange fall, a priest in Brooklyn St. Francis Roman Catholic Church, Herbert Redmond, told his congregation, “It is too hot for you to get married. Keep the Commandments and pray for Gil Hodges. “

“As a wet broadcaster, I look to him as a great player, All-Star, a very talented player,” Scully said. “And when I got to know him a little bit, the real Gil Hodges started coming out. I remember one time the Dodgers played a very hot day and after the game we boarded a plane and it was a Friday and the master came downstairs to serve dinner.

“Being Friday, and coming back, maybe in the early 50’s, I heard him say, ‘No thanks.’ And the captain said, ‘Mr. Hodges, you just played a long game in the heat, and so on, you have to eat this meat.’ And he said: ‘No, it’s Friday and I’m very close to the boss.’ We were 30,000 feet up. But that was the way he did it. He did not get on the soap box, did nothing and left her smiling.

Jay Horwitz, who worked for the Mets for more than 40 years, said he was impressed when he heard how Hodges helped Jackie Robinson.

“Pee Wee Reese gets a lot of credit, but I was told that Gil was playing on one side of the infield that Jackie did, he stopped a lot of fights and he was a compulsion,” Horwitz said.

Indeed, Scully remembers an incident in St. Louis. Louis where Hodges and Robinson met on a nasty pop fly behind the original base and, “at a standstill, from the top, came a bottle of whiskey.”

The bottle landed between the men, and Scully saw Hodges giving a little behind Robinson, “as if, we’re together, friend.”

“If you had not concentrated on that moment, you would have missed out,” says Scully. “I just thought it was the same as Gil. Whatever he does, if you don’t have your eyes on him, then he’s done and it’s gone. That’s the way he played and the way he lived.”

At that moment, according to Irene Hodges, her father taunted Robinson: “Why not watch Jackie. She points to me. ”

The happy days were over. Robinson was sent to the Giants after the 1956 season and retired. The Dodgers moved and time ran out.

“My mother, an Italian from Brooklyn, had never been away from her parents,” said Irene Hodges. “We lived in LA for the first year, I don’t think he released it. He never did.”

The Metropolitans were a growing group that was launched in New York City in 1962 with the longest name and ethnic group that incorporates the memory of the Dodgers and Giants. The new president of the club, George Weiss, worked smartly to keep the expansion list with well-known names. In addition to the Hodges, he caught former Brooklyn players Roger Craig and Don Zimmer. And soon he added Duke Snider, Charlie Neal and Clem Labine.

“It worked because the Mets were very popular from day one, and they returned to Dodger,” Howie Rose, a Mets radio presenter, said. “I think the Dodgers and Giants, in many ways, were coaching New York fans.”

It was difficult for the Mets to be asked to replace the old teams.

“And the men being recruited by the Mets in preparation for the expansion, and hitting the first house in their history, ended that gap,” Gil Hodges Jr. he said.

By 1980, Fred Wilpon had bought the band, adding another piece of connective tissue: Wilpon attended Lafayette High School in Brooklyn and Dodgers Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax and was a great fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was under his watch that Citi Field was opened in 2009 with so many Dodgers-related acts – in particular, Jackie Robinson Rotunda senior – that some Mets fans complained that Brooklyn was more shocking than the Mets.

As soon as the connection continued, it was Mike Piazza’s Hall of Fame job that captured the franchises and Justin Turner, a key member of the recent Dodgers team, began his career in orange and blue.

Now, Steven A. Cohen, who tried to buy the Dodgers in 2012, calls the Mets shot. In his opening remarks after buying the Mets, he cited the Dodgers as an example of what the Mets expected to be. He has contributed to this by pushing the Mets’ pay closer to the top of the game.

“They’ve separated themselves from the pack,” said Valentine, who, in connection with the head of the connective tissue, was once married to the daughter of Ralph Branca, the founder of the Brooklyn Dodgers. “Similar to what the Dodger tried to do after leaving town, and the Yankees have been doing it.”

Two of Hodges’ eldest children – Gil Jr., 72, and Irene, 71 – were at Dodger Stadium on Saturday night, as were their granddaughter, Gil III, two grandchildren of Irene and her cousin. And as the videos rolled and the lights flashed, the metal cable that went on for decades and miles remained as strong as ever.

“Without a doubt, the ’69 World Series was a wonderful,” Irene Hodges says of her fondest memories. “Everyone was so excited. All of Brooklyn was crazy. It was a wonderful time. My father, I believe, was a little apprehensive about the New York administration. He knows how good the fans were here, how much they loved him, and just wanted to get better with them. He wanted to have a successful team. And he did. ”

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