Our memories of Gil Hodges, the Hall of Famer next door


Gil Hodges, it turns out, wasn’t merely a first baseman or a manager. Or a husband or father, for that matter.

The newly minted Hall of Famer, who died suddenly in 1972, is also a symbol of a bygone era when fans and their heroes interacted regularly and routinely. When fans felt a spiritual connection with their favorite teams and players that the world’s socioeconomic evolution has rendered impossible today.

My inbox got flooded this past week — after I wrote a column celebrating Hodges’ induction by the Golden Days Committee — with messages from folks who volunteered their personal ties with Gil. Three of them were kind enough to share more details, upon my prodding. Here are their stories:


Ron Herzman holds a ticket stub from a 1956 World Series game.
Ron Herzman saw Gil Hodges on the field (here he shows off his 1956 World Series ticket stub) and around the neighborhood.
courtesy Ron Holzman

Ron Herzman grew up in Brooklyn and now splits his time between the borough and upstate New York; the 78-year-old took pride in staying up all the way through Monday night’s wintry Patriots-Bills game. His top Gil memories centered around the annual sports dinner for his high school, Brooklyn Prep.



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