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Hodges leads pack, yet falls short
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02/26/2003  3:43 PM ET 
Hodges leads pack, yet falls short
Beloved Bum misses Hall of Fame election by 11 votes
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Gil Hodges was a stalwart first baseman in Brooklyn and Los Angeles throughout the 1950s. (AP)
The late Gil Hodges may still be considered a hero in Brooklyn, but it will be at least another two years before he is given a chance to be enshrined in Cooperstown.

The longtime Dodgers first baseman and former manager of the Mets was denied entry yet again into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. The Veterans Committee did not elect any new members to the Class of 2003.

Hodges received 50 of the necessary 61 votes required from this year's 85-member Veteran's Committee voting body. That he was the top vote getter, receiving 61.7 percent of the vote, provided little solace to those who threw him their support, especially his widow, Joan.

Players ballot
 PLAYERVOTES%
 Gil Hodges5061.7%
 Tony Oliva4859.3%
 Ron Santo4656.8%
 Joe Torre2935.8%
 Maury Wills2429.6%
 Vada Pinson2125.9%
 Joe Gordon1923.5%
 Roger Maris1822.2%
 Marty Marion1721.0%
 Carl Mays1619.8%
 Minnie Minoso1619.8%
 Allie Reynolds1619.8%
 Dick Allen1316.0%
 Mickey Lolich1316.0%
 Wes Ferrell1214.8%
 Ken Boyer1113.6%
 Don Newcombe1113.6%
 Curt Flood1012.3%
 Ken R. Williams89.9%
 Rocky Colavito78.6%
 Elston Howard67.4%
 Bob Meusel67.4%
 Bobby Bonds56.2%
 Ted Kluszewski44.9%
 Thurman Munson44.9%
 Mike G. Marshall33.7%
Composite ballot
 PLAYERVOTES%
 Doug Harvey4860.8
 Walter O'Malley3848.1
 Marvin Miller3544.3
 Buzzie Bavasi3443.0
 Dick Williams3341.8
 Whitey Herzog2531.6
 Billy Martin2227.8
 Bill White2227.8
 Bowie Kuhn2025.3
 Gabe Paul1316.5
 August Busch1113.9
 Paul Richards1012.7
 Charley Finley911.4
 Phil Wrigley911.4
 Harry Dalton67.6
Mrs. Hodges continues to live in Brooklyn and has been lobbying hard for her husband's induction for many years. She did not wish to speak about the voting Wednesday, however. Her daughter, Irene, said that Mrs. Hodges would "not be talking to anyone today" and that her family "didn't have anything to say."

Hodges' last year on the BBWAA ballot was 1983, the same year he earned his highest percentage of votes at 63.4 percent. He received his most actual votes in 1979 (237). He has been eligible for the Veterans Committee ballot since 1987 but up until this year the names of the players on that ballot have not been released.

"The vote is a rubber stamp of the writer's vote," said Hall of Famer and longtime New York sportswriter Jack Lang, who covered the length of Hodges' playing and managerial career. "Every one of those players was on the ballot for 15 years for the writers and they didn’t get voted in. Now the guys that played against him and with him didn't vote him in. What that proves to me is that the writers are doing a great job. The [players on the Veterans ballot] have gone before a jury of their peers and they still weren't elected. I ran the elections for 35 years and I think this proves they were pretty good.

"That said, I was surprised Gil didn't make it. I voted for him this year and voted for him every year he was on the writer's ballot. I thought he was an integral part of those great Dodger teams. He was certainly a lot better than Bill Mazeroski, who got in because he was a great fielder. Someone should have voted for Hodges then because he was the best fielding first baseman in the league. [Mrs. Hodges] is going to have to wait another two years now."

Hall of Fame 2003

Induction Ceremony
Sunday, July 27
Cooperstown, New York

The inductees
Gary Carter | Eddie Murray

Schedule of weekend events
Complete coverage

Lang was also surprised to see that Marvin Miller, longtime executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, wasn't voted in. Miller received 35 votes and was third in the voting on the composite ballot behind umpire Doug Harvey (48 votes) and former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley.

"The biggest shock of all to me was Marvin Miller," Lang said. "He got only 35 votes and I thought the players would get him in. He got more support running the union than he did today. I was very shocked.

"I was also surprised to see that Walter O'Malley didn't get in. He moved the Dodgers to the West Coast and now there are what, six, eight teams playing out there? He should have gotten some consideration for being a pioneer, although the people in Brooklyn would have been aghast had he gotten elected today."

Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.




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