COOPERSTOWN, NY. (WEHT) – Tri-Staters are celebrating one of their own who finally made it into the MLB Hall of Fame. Gil Hodges, the man – born in Princeton, raised in Petersburg – an eight time all-star with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers and three-time World Weries winning player and manager.
It’s been long overdue for Hodges, but almost 60 years after he hung up his cleats and just over 50 years after he died suddenly during spring training in 1972, he is finally forever enshrined in Cooperstown alongside so many of his Dodgers teammates and all of the baseball greats.
Hodges is best known for his steady play, a key part of the Dodgers teams that won seven National League pennants and two World Series titles before managing the Miracle Mets to a World Series title in 1969.
Former Petersburg mayor Randy Harris attended the induction ceremony. “It was just phenomenal. You take a town about the size of Petersburg and you put 30,000 people in it for a few hours. It was just packed and it was packed yesterday. I think I started to tear up for a few minutes. Wow, it’s finally all come together.”
Harris said some of the surviving players from the 1969 Miracle Mets were in attendance as well and spoke about how Hodges took their team from 0 to 100 in such a short amount of time.
“At the time I think many of them had doubt and questions and didn’t necessarily like Gil’s approach when it came to platooning them and substituting for them,” said Harris. “I think they quickly came to understand his genius and appreciate the leader that he was.”