Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Gil Hodges

2015 Veterans' Committee HOF Ballot: Gil Hodges

The Baseball Hall of Fame recently announced their 2015 Veterans' ballot. One player on the ballot is Gil Hodges. This article is a modified version of an article I wrote previously on Gil Hodges in conjunction with my article about the 1950's.

The first table below presents Gil Hodges's career as measured by Player won-lost records.

Gil Hodges
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1943BRO19
1
0.10.30.299-0.1
-0.1
0.10.20.402-0.0-0.0
1947BRO23
28
1.51.60.485-0.0
0.1
1.42.10.403-0.3-0.2
1948BRO24
134
11.311.60.492-0.1
0.8
12.913.00.497-0.01.0
1949BRO25
156
19.614.80.5702.2
3.6
17.714.90.5421.22.5
1950BRO26
153
17.813.20.5741.5
2.7
17.214.30.5460.61.9
1951BRO27
158
19.914.10.5852.5
3.8
19.214.70.5671.93.2
1952BRO28
153
18.112.00.6022.3
3.5
19.613.00.6012.53.8
1953BRO29
141
18.911.70.6183.2
4.5
18.613.30.5822.23.5
1954BRO30
154
21.214.30.5972.8
4.3
19.214.00.5782.03.4
1955BRO31
150
18.313.90.5681.5
2.9
17.614.60.5470.82.2
1956BRO32
153
18.214.10.5641.3
2.6
18.215.60.5390.51.9
1957BRO33
150
18.914.40.5681.5
2.9
18.214.00.5641.32.7
1958LAN34
141
11.012.10.477-1.0
-0.1
12.711.60.5220.11.0
1959LAN35
123
14.09.80.5881.6
2.6
13.910.70.5641.12.0
1960LAN36
102
6.05.60.515-0.1
0.4
5.95.70.510-0.10.3
1961LAN37
109
6.15.20.5410.1
0.7
6.16.60.481-0.6-0.0
1962NYN38
54
3.33.90.460-0.5
-0.2
4.03.50.5320.10.4
1963NYN39
11
0.60.60.496-0.0
0.0
0.50.60.460-0.1-0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,071
224.8173.10.56518.8
34.9
222.8182.40.55013.029.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
39
4.33.40.556 0.64.03.30.547 0.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,110
229.1176.50.565
35.5
226.8185.70.550 29.9


Gil Hodges and the Hall of Fame
Gil Hodges's Hall-of-Fame case falls entirely within the 1950s. In particular, his case rests on three tables from my article about the 1950s which are reproduced below.

eWins over Positional Average
Top 25 Players, 1950 - 1959
          eWins over Replacement Level
Top 25 Players
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL           Player eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
1Mickey Mantle190.8126.127.2
40.0
1Mickey Mantle190.8126.127.2
40.0
2Warren Spahn183.4153.222.1
36.5
2Warren Spahn183.4153.222.1
36.5
3Duke Snider202.1150.420.0
34.3
3Duke Snider202.1150.420.0
34.3
4Eddie Mathews166.5124.318.1
29.9
4Robin Roberts194.6174.417.4
33.3
5Robin Roberts194.6174.417.4
33.3
5Eddie Mathews166.5124.318.1
29.9
6Willie Mays166.0122.117.0
28.6
6Stan Musial197.1153.115.6
29.7
7Ernie Banks137.8109.816.8
26.7
7Willie Mays166.0122.117.0
28.6
8Ted Williams147.0103.716.3
26.5
8Early Wynn168.1154.313.5
27.3
9Yogi Berra150.4121.815.6
26.6
9Billy Pierce155.4138.014.5
27.2
10Stan Musial197.1153.115.6
29.7
10Ernie Banks137.8109.816.8
26.7
11Billy Pierce155.4138.014.5
27.2
11Yogi Berra150.4121.815.6
26.6
12Jackie Robinson125.096.213.5
22.4
12Ted Williams147.0103.716.3
26.5
13Early Wynn168.1154.313.5
27.3
13Gil Hodges174.3135.913.0
25.5
14Gil Hodges174.3135.913.0
25.5
14Minnie Minoso197.8161.610.9
25.4
15Bob Rush132.4117.012.2
23.3
15Larry Doby164.7131.811.9
23.9
16Larry Doby164.7131.811.9
23.9
16Bob Rush132.4117.012.2
23.3
17Minnie Minoso197.8161.610.9
25.4
17Jackie Robinson125.096.213.5
22.4
18Roy Campanella103.684.310.6
18.3
18Pee Wee Reese153.3138.310.3
22.1
19Hank Aaron133.1103.810.5
20.0
19Nellie Fox194.2187.46.3
21.6
20Pee Wee Reese153.3138.310.3
22.1
20Eddie Yost178.5155.67.7
21.1
21Al Rosen130.0103.310.2
19.6
21Hank Aaron133.1103.810.5
20.0
22E. Mike Garcia119.8108.79.6
19.8
22Bob Lemon130.2122.78.7
20.0
23Harvey Haddix105.095.19.2
17.7
23E. Mike Garcia119.8108.79.6
19.8
24Curt Simmons104.194.09.1
17.8
24Gil McDougald147.4132.38.3
19.6
25Whitey Ford97.987.29.0
17.0
25Al Rosen130.0103.310.2
19.6


Best Batting of the 1950s
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Mickey Mantle130.180.70.61722.8
2Ted Williams103.859.70.63520.6
3Duke Snider143.9100.60.58819.3
4Stan Musial146.4103.60.58619.0
5Eddie Mathews120.782.20.59517.3
6Willie Mays108.674.50.59315.4
7Gil Hodges138.5105.70.56714.1
8Larry Doby113.883.10.57813.6
9Minnie Minoso127.699.60.56211.9
10Hank Aaron90.766.40.57710.7

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Best First Basemen of the 1950s
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Gil Hodges160.7126.00.56011.5
2Ted Kluszewski128.3107.00.5455.9
3Stan Musial85.667.10.5615.9
4Joe Adcock78.466.00.5433.3
5Earl Torgeson116.0101.30.5343.0
6Bill Skowron60.249.50.5492.9
7Ferris Fain76.165.60.5372.5
8Mickey Vernon123.1109.00.5302.4
9Vic Wertz50.542.10.5452.1
10Luke Easter46.939.70.5421.9


He was a very good, very durable player - which is good enough to put him in 8th place in eWins over replacement level for the 1950s. He was a very good hitter - the 5th-best in the major-leagues for the 1950s measured by eWins over positional average. And - probably the most commonly cited playing argument for his Hall-of-Fame case - he was the best first baseman in the major leagues for the 1950s (again, measured by eWins over positional average).

It's a case, but how strong is it?

Best First Baseman of the 1950s
As noted above, Gil Hodges was the best first baseman of the 1950s. Is being the best player at a position for a decade sufficient to get one into the Hall of Fame? For me, it's an argument that certainly carries some weight, but is absolutely not dispositive.

For example, go to the list of the best players of the 1950s in eWOPA and eWORL. One player who shows up ahead of Gil Hodges on both of those lists is Stan Musial. Stan Musial clearly had a better major-league career than Gil Hodges, both overall as well as in the 1950s, when, for example, Musial finished in the top 10 in MVP voting every season from 1950 - 1957 (extending back to the 1940s, he did so every year from 1948 - 1957), including three 2nd-place finishes. Stan Musial was the St. Louis Cardinals regular first baseman from 1955 - 1959 and also played there semi-regularly in 1950 and 1951. So why wasn't Stan Musial the best major-league first baseman in the 1950s?

By some measures - e.g., best overall record for players who played more at first base than anywhere else - he almost certainly was. He shows up behind Hodges in the above table because Musial spent two years as the Cardinals' regular left fielder in 1951 and 1953, one year as the Cardinals' regular right fielding in 1954, and even one year as the Cardinals' regular center fielder in 1952. And, in the above table, which looks only at what a player did at first base, all of those games don't count.

Also, sometimes it might just be the case that there weren't any truly great players at a specific position for some particular time period.

The next table looks at the top player in eWOPA at first base for every decade (the ones that start in a zero anyway - being the best first baseman from 1950 - 1959 isn't any more impressive than being the best first baseman from, say, 1967 - 1976 (Willie McCovey, incidentally, and that one isn't particularly close)).

Best First Basemen by Decade
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1950sGil Hodges160.7126.00.56011.5
1960sWillie McCovey112.178.80.58710.9
1970sWillie Stargell69.952.70.5705.1
1980sEddie Murray160.1133.10.5468.5
1990sMark McGwire143.299.70.58916.0
2000sAlbert Pujols134.089.60.59916.3


That's just a weird list. Okay, Hodges' eWOPA for the 1950s is better than the top first basemen of the 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's. But two of those players are Norm Cash and Andre Thornton I mean, seriously, Andre Thornton? I remember Andre Thornton when he played for the Cleveland Indians when I was a kid (Thornton was an Indian from 1977 - 1987). Thornton was the best power hitter on those teams, but those teams were mostly pretty terrible, and Andre Thornton was nobody's idea of a Hall-of-Fame candidate (he got 2 votes in his only year on the BBWAA ballot). I don't know what to do with that table in regards to Gil Hodges' Hall-of-Fame candidacy.
Players Most Similar in Value to Gil Hodges
The 10 players most similar in value to Gil Hodges are shown in the next table.

Most Similar Players to Luke Easter in Career Value
Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Fielding
Gil Hodges
2071
224.8173.118.8
34.9
14.3-0.53.6
Joe Torre
2209
244.4209.713.6
32.0
13.4-0.93.0
Will Clark
1976
232.2179.515.7
31.8
18.40.13.0
John Olerud
2234
235.9193.212.1
29.6
13.8-0.53.6
Jose Canseco
1886
224.7186.714.3
33.7
16.20.31.9
Larry Doby
1529
214.4166.018.3
33.8
15.30.03.1
Brian Downing
2341
235.6211.110.3
30.3
14.00.02.4
David Justice
1608
200.5160.514.8
30.7
13.4-0.82.5
Mark Teixeira
1862
214.5177.511.8
26.5
14.2-0.22.3
Darryl Strawberry
1581
217.9164.819.9
35.0
16.10.42.9
Ellis Burks
1996
242.9211.811.5
30.7
13.3-0.72.0


Hodges's most-similar player list is an interesting mix of players. There's one Hall-of-Famer on the list (not counting Joe Torre, who's in the Hall of Fame as a manager): Johnny Bench, who is kind of an odd comp (although, oddly, Gil Hodges actually broke into the major leagues as a catcher), and Bench is kind of low down on the list (#8) anyway. But the list also includes two other players (in addition to Bench) who are in the Hall of Merit, including Hodges's top comps: Will Clark (Joe Torre is the third).

As with the best first basemen by decade list, it's not entirely clear whether this table helps for hurts Hodges's Hall-of-Fame case.

Conclusion
So, in conclusion does Gil Hodges deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? Based purely on his playing career, I would say probably not. But his case is not completely without merit. He probably has a stronger case, for example, than Jim Rice and Orlando Cepeda, to name two Hall-of-Famers. Still, I think you'd probably need a pretty big Hall-of-Fame to include Gil Hodges purely on his playing record.

Hodges does have one more line, though, for his Hall-of-Fame application: he managed the 1969 Miracle Mets. Overall, he has a pretty credible case. The Hall of Fame could do (and has done) worse.



All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.

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