New York Mets all-time greatest managers – No. 1: Gil Hodges
Hodges first took the reins in 1968. The miserable decade of losing baseball was about to end on a positive note. The team now had the pitching to compete and some players with a whole lot of heart.
In his second year as the manager, the Mets went 100-62. They swept the Atlanta Braves in MLB’s inaugural NLCS then proceeded to beat the Baltimore Orioles in five games. Hodges’ playoff record finished at 7-1 and the first-ever championship for the team in Queens.
During the regular season, Hodges managed to lead the Mets to a 339-309 record which comes out to a .523 winning percentage. While not phenomenal, his biggest contribution was how he took an underdog team all the way to a parade few saw coming.
Sadly, Hodges passed away in April of 1972. He was only 47 with plenty of years left to give to baseball.
Every year when the Hall of Fame vote comes up, Hodges is one of those guys mentioned as a snub. It’s not for his managerial history, but what he did as a player primarily with the Brooklyn Dodgers. What he managed to do as the Mets manager just adds to his Cooperstown case. It also put him in great favor with the men he managed. It seems you can’t go long without hearing about how a former player or teammate of his wants to see him make it into the Hall of Fame.
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Hodges helped change the perception of Mets baseball. That reason alone is enough to declare him the best manager the Mets have ever had.