Saturday, May 18, 2024


Today we add former New York Mets manager to my "missing All-Star manager" cards I've recently created for the blog, joining my Earl Weaver 1971 card from last week, to celebrate the managers that led their respective leagues in the "Midsummer Classic" during the 1970s:

Because of his World Championship season of 1969, when he led the improbable "Miracle Mets" team to a shocking win over the juggernaut Baltimore Orioles, Hodges was tabbed as the skipper of the N.L. for the 1970 All-Star game.
Played at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, the National League would pull-out the win in the 12th inning, remembered as the Pete Rose run when he barrelled into young Cleveland Indians catcher Ray Fosse for the game winning run.
Excelling on the field for the Dodgers as well as in the dugout for the Mets, Gil Hodges became a legend in the New York area, and his name still has recognition around here thanks to the top-notch little league that kids flock to every year (of which I also took part in as a kid 40-45 years ago).
After his Hall-worthy playing career Hodges was the first successful manager of the New York Mets, and was depicted on Topps cards in the late-60's and early-70's.
After a ninth place finish his first year as manager of the Mets (just one game above the last place Houston Astros), Hodges and the Mets did the unthinkable in 1969.
Led by a young corps of talented guns like Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and a yet "unknown" Nolan Ryan, they managed a historic 27-game turnaround, good for first place in the new N.L. East with a record of 100-62.
Once into the postseason, they stunned the baseball world by sweeping the Atlanta Braves in the playoffs, then defeating the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in the World Series four games to one, claiming about as unexpected a championship as anybody could have dreamed of.
Hodges, who finally made the Hall of Fame recently, should have been in decades ago based on his playing and managing career.
Gone far too soon after dying at the age of only 47 just before the 1972 season from a heart attack.


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