Sunday, April 21, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1963 Topps #245 Gil Hodges

(Due to the flooding that occurred in my neighborhood on Thursday, April 18, 2013, I was not able to get this post out at the scheduled time. I am just catching up now.)

It's Retro Sunday!!! Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Sunday, April 21, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1963 Topps #245.
  • Player Name, position, team: Gil Hodges, first baseman, New York Mets.
  • Major League Debut: October 3, 1943.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1962 stats (Mets): 54 G, 127 AB, 15 R, 32 H, 1 2B, 0 3B, 9 HR, 17 RBI, .252 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Signed with the Dodgers as a Free Agent before the 1943 season. Drafted by the New York Mets in the Expansion Draft 10/10/1961. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 21. This is his twelfth and final Topps card as a player.
  • Blurb on the back: n/a.
  • Commentary: The first card I owned of Gil Hodges came from the 1989 Topps set, and it was from the Turn Back the Clock subset. I learned then (he was the "Twenty Years Ago" subject) that Hodges led the Mets, who had lost 120 games in their first year in MLB existence, to their first World Series title in 1969 (thanks in part to an epic Cubs collapse...but that's another subject for another day). But what I didn't know back then (and it is now 24 years later, making that card now a "Forty-Four Years Ago" card) that Gil Hodges had a long career that spanned all the way to 1943 with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers (with two years off for serving in the Marines in World War II). He was considered the best first baseman in the NL during the 1950's, and one of the NL's best hitters (with only teammate Duke Snider ahead of him in home runs and rbi's during the decade). He was an eight-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, and by the time he was selected by the expansion New York Mets after the 1961 season, had played 2006 games for the Dodgers, hit .274 with 361 home runs, 1254 rbi's, 63 stolen bases, scored 1088 runs, and had an OPS of .847. So why did the Mets select Hodges at the age of 38 years of age? Probably to get a player that was widely revered in New York (hello...Brooklyn), and probably because they had other plans for him. In the two years he actually played for the Mets, he appeared in only 65 games, hit for a .248 average, hit 9 home runs (all in 1962), and drove in 20 rbi's. After 11 games in 1963, in which he was also plagued with injuries, he was traded to the Washington Senators, not so he could play for them, but to manage them. After managing the Senators through the 1967 season, the Mets, who by now had been the perennial doormats in the National League, hired Hodges to manage their team. The rest, as we all know, is history. Tragically, on April 2, 1972, Gil Hodges died of a heart attack after a round of golf with his Mets coaching staff. He was only 47 years old. His death reverberated around the baseball community as they now lost a man who was beloved by teammates and rivals alike. The Mets retired his jersey number 14 during the 1973 season, the second year the Mets would make it to the World Series.
  • Beckett value: $8.00-$20.00.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 7.
In case you're actually wondering, I don't own this card, but was able to get a crystal clean copy of the image from the from the Baseball Card Cyber Museum. So thank you Joe McAnally and the folks at the BCCM.

Well, it's back to normal on Monday. Tomorrow's card will be: 2001 Topps #262. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Come on back then to see what the Topps Card Randomizer gets us to look at then.


JayBee Anama

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