Clearly there’s a push to sweep George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin (and possibly Ron Guidry) into the Hall of Fame in one package.
We’ll deal with Guidry later. In fact, we’ll deal with the case for Steinbrenner later.
Right now, we’ll say about Martin that he was a mediocre player – 1021 games over 11 years with six teams, a .257 BA, and just 64 home runs – and, on the whole, a pretty good manager – a career record of 1253 wins and 1013 losses for a .553 W-L percentage. We’ll overlook that fact that he wore out his welcome in several big league cities and note that whether a manager who won two pennants in 16 seasons and just one World Series is really Cooperstown-worthy.
We’re also thinking this might be an excellent time to revive the case for Gil Hodges. There is, after all, no rule that says you can’t be voted in the HOF for an overall contribution as a player and manager, and as we all know, Hodges was a terrific player – an eight time All-Star in 18 seasons with 370 home runs, a .273 BA, and seven straight seasons with more than 100 RBIs.
Most analysts agree that Hodges was a fine player but feel he falls slightly short of being Hall of Fame caliber. But Hodges could be voted in for his combined performance. True, his lifetime record isn’t overly impressive, just 670-755 for a .467 W-L. But those years were all spent with terrible Washington Senators teams and not especially talented Mets clubs. In New York, he fared better: 339-309, for .523 W-L. In 1969 he led the Mets to one of the most storied World Series runs in baseball history. That, by the way, gives him the same number of championship rings as Billy Martin. And for what it’s worth, several great players have called Hodges the greatest manager they ever saw – one of them was Yogi Berra, who spent a little time with Casey Stengel.
Sadly, Gil’s not on the ballot this year, but the fact that they’re even considering Billy is an excellent reason for finding some way to get him back on.