Documentary aims to boost Hall of Fame hopes for Tri-State native Gil Hodges


PETERSBURG, Ind. (WEHT)- He has more homeruns than Joe DiMaggio and more hits than Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto. He even won a World Series both as a player and a manager, so why hasn’t Gil Hodges been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame?

According to baseball writer Dan Szymborski, Hodges had a short career but a good peak, much like other first basemen outside of the Hall of Fame, like former Cardinals and Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez. Szymborski notes that there’s currently a glut of first basemen in the Hall of Fame compared to other positions.

Hodges remains an icon and local hero in Petersburg, where he is prominently featured with a mural downtown and a bust inside the Pike County courthouse. Hodges moved with his family to Petersburg as a child and his son, Gil Hodges Jr. says he kept in touch with his southwest Indiana roots.

Former Petersburg mayor and local businessman Randy Harris says stories about Hodges live on in the community, almost fifty years after Hodges died in 1972. Hodges Jr. says that says a lot about his dad’s character as he left an “indelible mark” in Brooklyn, Queens, and Petersburg.

But with Hodges earning another shot at induction through the Hall of Fame’s Golden Days Era Committee, a new documentary aims to spread the word about Hodges’ career and personal life. Producer Kevin O’Malley says Hodges helped “break up skirmishes” as other teams took “cheapshots” at teammate and baseball icon Jackie Robinson.

O’Malley says Hodges was an enforcer on the infield for the Dodgers and has earned his spot alongside many of his teammates in Cooperstown.

Soul of a Champion is available here

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