Back in early December, after the voting for baseball’s Hall of Fame was announced, I made the case that Gil Hodges’ election was problematic in that if he could get in, then there are a number of very good players who are every bit Hodges’ equal, and who, therefore, should also be enshrined in Cooperstown. I opined that Hodges was admitted because he played on the fabled Brooklyn Dodgers team of the 1950s, and I compared his lifetime statistics to another, very similar first baseman, Boog Powell. Another comparison has come to mind as well. His accomplishments appear below, after a review of Hodges’:
Hodges played 18 seasons and was an eight-time All-Star. He received MVP votes in nine different seasons with a top finish of 7th. His Career Shares MVP score as calculated by baseball-reference.com is .65, which ranks 402. He made seven post-season appearances and was part of two World Series winners.
He won three Gold Gloves, but never topped his league in any fielding category in any season. Twice he led the league in sacrifice flys, twice in games played, and once in strike outs.
For his career, he hit 370 home runs and tallied 1,274 RBI. His career slash line was .273/.359/.487.
Compare Player also played 18 seasons and was a seven time All-Star. He was an MVP twice and received MVP votes in five other seasons. His Career Shares MVP score as calculated by baseball-reference.com is 2.31, which ranks 77. He made only one post-season appearance.
He won five Gold Gloves and led the league in putouts or assists four times while playing center field. He twice led the league in homers, RBI, and slugging percentage, while leading the league once in runs, walks and OPS.
For his career, he slugged 398 homers and tallied 1,266 RBI. His career slash line was .265/.346/.469.
Our Compare Player’s 8th most similar batter as calculated by baseball-reference.com is Gil Hodges. Interestingly, his 3rd most similar batter is Hodges’ teammate, Hall of Famer, Duke Snider.
Our Compare Player played for a succession of terrible Atlanta Braves teams, about which there will soon be a book written*, but which has not been celebrated in any way shape or form in the way Hodges’ Brooklyn team has been celebrated, even mythologized.
Our Compare Player is Dale Murphy. Hall of Famer? Given the new standards of Hall of Fame entrance, I would say that he is.
* I’m taking this opportunity to plug a future project of my own, as there will be a book written on those terrible Braves team. Not on the team exactly, but on the ground crew. Four guys who served on the ground crew in the 1970s and 1980s decided that it was time to write a book and they invited me to serve as the organizer and narrator of their wonderful tales. They treasure the memories they made and the bond that they formed and I am honored to have received that invitation. By the way, they all agreed that Dale Murphy is truly a great guy. The book is currently in the editing stage, but you will certainly hear more when we get closer to publication.